Someone once told me that in order to find yourself, you have to think for yourself. I laughed at the time. Isn’t that obvious? But then I realized that I might not be who I think I am.
In a world that’s constantly connected, we’re bombarded with other people’s thoughts, opinions and versions of the truth. It’s not easy to form your own opinion when others are flooding your feed every morning, afternoon and evening.
To see if I could really find myself, I decided to disconnect from the world for ten days. It saved my sanity.
The first thing I did was deactivate my social media accounts – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn. It was tough not getting my daily dose of “who’s doing what,” but I was glad to get rid of the noise.
Finally, I turned off my phone. That was the hardest step. What if someone needed me? How can people reach me? I told myself: Before cell phones, people still managed to contact each other. I will be fine.
The first few days were difficult. I had impulses to look up something on Google, or check my Facebook to see what everyone was up to. I just let the feeling pass, and moved forward without a response.
After a few days, those impulses disappeared. My attention and focus made its long-awaited debut after years of struggling to reach the surface. Experiences were richer because I was fully present and able to absorb everything around me. I wasn’t trying to capture the moment on Instagram or Snapchat. I was living it.
By the end of the week, my brain was quieter. I felt rested and recharged. But I also got to know myself. Nothing was competing for my attention anymore, and my mind was no longer flooded with other people’s thoughts and opinions. I could finally think for myself. Did I find myself? I’m not quite sure, but the experience was humbling.
I’m not as important as I think I am. In fact, most things can wait.
At the end of my experiment, I felt no need to go back to my old diet of information overload.
In any given day, most of us will be bombarded with information and notifications that demand our attention hundreds of times a day. That’s why we feel so emotionally exhausted. Some of us live in a constant brain fog because our minds are overloaded. But taking the time to disconnect, especially this time of year, can help put things back into perspective.
Life is different here in Israel, but we still suffer the same mental chatter problem the rest of the world battles each day. After my experience, I recommend everyone try disconnecting once in a while, even it’s only for a day or just a few hour