Tuesday 20 January 2015

Shouldn't, Wouldn't, Couldn't, But Did!

(Photo credit to whisper.sh)

You know when you tell yourself you're not going to do something, and you resist temptation for as long as you can until you finally cave? Whether it's putting something off until the absolute last minute, eating the chocolate just when you've started your diet, stalking your ex and their new partner on social media, getting back with someone you know is more of a hindrance than a help, or in extreme cases, killing your neighbour's annoying pet or something.

Before you do anything, you tell yourself, or make a promise that you won't do whatever it is that you're stopping yourself from doing because you know it's not good for you to do. You pride yourself on every time you realize that you haven't done that particular thing and focus on how good you feel for it and how good you'll continue to feel for not having done it. And then you go and do it.

In my experience, this usually happens when you're bored, tired, or maybe feeling a little bit low towards yourself. You use it as a pick me up in a way to justify how you feel and why you're doing it and tell yourself you won't do it again once you get it out of your system.

You know and are fully aware the full time your doing the 'forbidden' thing that you really shouldn't be, but you keep going anyway until you're satisfied that you've done enough of said thing to make yourself feel better, or perhaps you get sprung by the person who you hold accountable for making sure you don't do that thing you said you wouldn't.

Like a LOT of people, my thing was (and occasionally still is) Facebook/internet stalking. I find defense in saying there are people out there who are worse than me, although it doesn't really seem like the greatest justification, but it kind of makes it seem less of a big deal when you know that other people do it to even if they don't admit to it.

In the bigger scheme of things, I know it's really not that big of a deal. It doesn't hurt anyone, no harm, no foul, whatever. But I guess that's the thing, it hurts me! Without even realizing I'm hurting myself. I'm giving myself the message that it's okay to stoop to the person that I was after all the effort I've put in to not doing it. It's saying to myself, 'I can't do better and here's proof!'. I know it sounds harsh, but sometimes you need to get real and honest with yourself if you're going to make the commitment to really improve.

I'm incredibly fortunate that I have such a great support group around me, but more so that I'm honest about things, especially when they bother me. When I admit to my friends or therapist that I've been Facebook stalking someone/s, they won't tell me how bad I am, not will they encourage the behavior, they either sympathize or ask me what it was I was looking to get from it and how I might be more productive in future instead of repeating it.

I used to spent hours on end Facebook/internet stalking certain people, I wasn't by any means proud of it, but everyone else's lives always seemed insanely more interesting than mine was and by going through their posts, status', photos and whatever else I could find, it was like peering through their front door and seeing the awesome house they had and desperately wishing I could be part of it. It was my escape when I couldn't find one anywhere else.

(Photo credit to jrfibonacci.wordpress.com)

I've since found myself in a position where I actually have a life of my own. I'm keeping busy, for the most part I'm happy with how things are and actually spending less time of Facebook because of it. It's kind of freeing in a way. While it's nice to share with everyone in your friend group what's happening in your life all at once, it's also nice to get away from it and revel in non-technological things and the amazingness of life when you detach yourself.

I've found over time that Facebook is simultaneously boring and addictive. You log in thinking there will be nothing to do and you'll log straight back out moments later. Then that moment turns into an hour, which then turns into a few hours and next think you know you've wasted almost an entire day, maybe even more.

Whenever I do find myself typing in the name of someone to view their profile even though my gut tells me I shouldn't, I tell myself if I spend less than a few seconds on it, it doesn't count. I suppose logically it doesn't, but when you have to convince yourself that it's an acceptable excuse or that you even need one, you know it's a bad thing to do.

Sometimes it's out of curiosity for someone I used to know and wonder what they're doing with their life since I saw them last. This on occasion leads to unhealthy comparisons, either they have a way more exciting life than I do despite my efforts, or I'm not so much better than they are. Neither are particularly helpful for me to think.

Other times when I'm over-thinking as I've been known to do quite a lot, I'll go on a bender of sorts. Start with one person, go through some of their friends, maybe their family, and just keep going until I get tired, bored or just decide that I really need to stop and wallow in immense shame for having gone so far and use that as motivation to not doing it again for as long as possible. I find it does help.

I'm definitely not, nor have I ever been proud of my internet stalking habits, maybe only in complete jest, but never in earnest. When I used to do it intensely, it was an escape. I knew why I did it which somehow made it okay to do it when there was very little other positive alternatives to what I was going through at the time.

When I do it now it feels like I've broken some kind of promise to myself. Like I'm telling myself I'm still not good enough so I need to rely on other people's profiles to make me feel better, as crazy as it sounds. When I think about the people I've stalked religiously over the years, I realize how pathetic it was and how much time I wasted, but since time was all I had it didn't seem to matter how I was spending it, so long as I was.

The good news though, is that much like a recovering anything-aholic I'm doing better. I'm putting in the effort and at times when I feel myself about relapse I'll log off or immediately force myself to do something else. I don't claim perfection though. I am a mere human being after all. I have my good days where I don't even think about it, but then I have my bingey 'gimme a tub of Ben and Jerry's and leave me be' days. I think everyone does. But I'm also really good at making myself feel guilty for things, sometimes a little too much, but I feel the need to practice tough love towards myself at times in order to achieve what it is I really want to and push myself that little bit further.

One of my close friends has told me quite a few times to stop being so hard on myself. I know she's right and I should just be proud and happy with where I'm at and how far I've come, but I still want so much more and so much better for myself that I can't help it.

At the end of the day, when it comes to online stalking, and really anything else I've mentioned above (whatever makes most sense/is applicable to you) I know I shouldn't do it, I wouldn't if I had something better/more exciting to do or maybe more self-control, and probably couldn't do it if my self-worth/esteem/love levels were a bit higher or maybe I wasn't human, but I did anyway!

(Photo credit to quotes-lover.com)

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