Goodbye LinkedIn…For Now
I’ve had a turbulent, on and off again, relationship with LinkedIn. When I first started posting about two and a half years ago, it was nearly universally positive. I couldn’t believe I could write stuff and people would pay attention to me. The ego trip was intoxicating.
But with the good comes the bad.
The trolls took a huge toll on my mental health, hitting me where it hurts. Then, the battle with decreasing engagement hit, and last September I took a four month break to get serious about my spiritual journey.
I came back in January, lying to myself about the reasons why I returned. I said it had something to do with “helping young people and giving what they aren’t getting,” but I’m reality it was all about missing the attention and feeling like I matter.
And my engagement never came back.
My posts performed horribly over the past 5 months, especially compared to where they’d been in 2020 and the first half of 2021. I felt like the aging rock star who’s best days were behind him. And just like that rock star, I got bitter at the people who were killing it with engagement: the thirst trap young women, the stupid copy and paste viral videos, the empty motivational platitudes, the maudlin rags to riches stories. My increasingly vulnerable and raw content wasn’t breaking through in the new world of LinkedIn bullshit.
And this was taking a toll on my mental health.
I had placed too much of my identity on Being Someone on LinkedIn, and it was causing depression. My ego needed the dopamine hits from strong post performance, but the hits never came.
So starting this week, I stopped posting.
I’m making a conscious effort once again to become the “identity-less” person, the person who doesn’t need something external to feel like I’m Someone.
Let me tell you: this is fucking hard. Our ego craves that identity and recognition from outside of ourselves. And when you’ve struggled with feelings of not-enoughness your whole life due to familial and early life relationships like I have, the “feeling seen” feeling is a drug that you can’t get enough of.
But holy shit, this week, it’s like I’ve been reborn.
I started hard core meditation again, two 25 minute sessions a day. The benefits of this have been immense: I’m able to loosen my ego attachments so much more easily and connect with my greater spirit that’s not attached to any identity. And so, throughout the day, when I catch myself in an “ego spiral,” I can watch it happen and say “this is not me.” That’s some life changing shit, let me tell you.
I take 20 minutes out of every day to practice deliberate self love, feeling energy from my spirit permeate my body, and releasing that love energy to all other sentient beings. I can tell that this self compassion isn’t a load of bullshit: my capacity to connect with others and share my Love for them has multiplied. This week, I sent some gratitude notes to coworkers for no other reason than I wanted to share gratitude.
I haven’t let my running injury stop me from pursuing vigorous exercise every day, which fills my body with feel good endorphins and puts me in a good mood. The last time I took a LinkedIn break, I didn’t include vigorous exercise as part of it, and so I struggled with super bad feelings, which in hindsight I didn’t need to go through.
So where to from here? Who knows? I’m tempted every day to go back to my LinkedIn drug of choice, to get that high from Being Seen. But I’m fighting it. If I’m going back on the network, I can’t need the engagement. It’s clearly not good for me and I’m better off without it.
But I’m in a scary place: I don’t really know what I’m doing anymore, and I don’t have a plan. I’m just working on my mind, body and spirit, and that’s it. A sign will come to pursue something more at some point, but for now it’s all about going with the flow.