Are you accidentally a narcissist online?

It’s a question we must all consider nowadays. Social media has certainly changed the world of photography and the way we socialize, and while you may tired of hearing about that aspect of Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, it’s important to do a heart check now and then and make sure you’re using these social media channels in a healthy way.

It’s pretty easy to become a slave to online validation, so how can you protect yourself from the temptation to receive love via your smartphone? Affirmation isn’t the issue—it’s just the form in which you strive to receive confirmation of your validity, your worth, and your social safety. Since our brains are wired to thrive on validation, it can be a pretty difficult cycle to kick.

So how can we kick the addiction that is validation via social media? Is there a way to shed these smart phone chains?

1. It’s a habit that will take work to kick

If you find yourself compelled to post a picture of yourself or your life on social media every day, or even multiple times a day, you might want to consider the motivation behind your compulsion. If the answer is that you’re looking for validation, it might be time to put a cap on your habit. While it’s certainly not back to post to social media, it takes a lot of self-awareness to know if you’re doing it for the right reasons or not.

If you’ve decided you need to pare down, keep in mind that habit cycles like these can take some work to get out of. You’re technically re-conditioning your brain, so know that you might feel some withdrawal symptoms for a few weeks. Try doing something else when you feel the tug to post again: read a Bible app, go for a walk, or listen to a helpful podcast.

2. What if you quit cold turkey?

What would happen if you took a break from all social media for a week or so? Give it a try and keep track of how you feel. Journal about the times you feel drawn to turn to social media for validation. Keep track of what your relationship with the Lord or with your friends looks like when you’re not continually posting updates. Do these things get better? After your break, adjust your social media habits accordingly.

3. Out of sight, out of mind

One simple trick to help you take it easy when it comes to posting to social media all the time is to keep your phone in your pocket, purse, or backpack when you’re out with friends and family. Instead of incessantly scrolling through Twitter or planning your next great Instagram square, focus on the people you’re with or the activity you’re participating in.

If you’re with others and constantly on your phone, you’re communicating that you’d rather be with your technology than with them.

4. Discernment and honesty

It takes a lot of discernment and honesty to sort through your motivations for posting something on social media. Each time you post, do a heart check and consider why you’re posting. Is it for self-promotion? Are you trying to boast about something? Are you using Scripture or an inspirational quote below a selfie to make it seem like you don’t want people to acknowledge how good you look on a particular day?

If you’ve felt tempted to post just for the likes and validation, consider where you’re placing your identity and self worth. Selfie-taking and picture posting aren’t detrimental in themselves, but when not stewarded well, they can be destructive.

5. Find your worth in Christ

Keep these verses tucked away for those times when you’re struggling with finding your worth in the Lord.

  • “For the Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being caught,” Proverbs 3:26
  • “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” 2 Corinthians 5:17
  • “But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7
  • “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Galatians 1:10