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Your most important relationship is with your smartphone

It's St Valentine's, and we'll be celebrating the most important relationship of our lives by being with that special someone.


I know as a matter of fact that you'll be with this special someone, even if you don't have a partner or you don't think of St Valentine's as a holiday worth celebrating.


Why? You've guessed it. Because this special someone is your phone. 


We celebrate our relationship with it every day by paying more attention to it than to our human partners or to the outside world. 


Did you know that we touch our phone much more than our partners (in fact, we touch them 68% of the time, while we only touch our partners 4%)? We also miss it much more and are more afraid of losing it. It also never leaves us alone, and we don't get time to be just by ourselves.

 

Whatever we pay attention to, grows in its importance.

 

Had we been so attached to a real human, we would call this relationship unhealthy, co-dependent or abusive etc. We would crave for privacy and not for being accountable 24/7, and for someone less needy. So why are we allowing our devices to do it to us? Perhaps, it's time to establish a healthier relationship with your phone, too.


Whatever we pay attention to, grows in its importance.


Let's see if we can use the 12 step methodology for co-dependent relationships to teach us something about our relationship with our smartphone.

Step 1: Admitting Powerlessness


  • Abusive Relationship: Acknowledge that the relationship has become harmful and admit powerlessness over the abuser's actions.

  • Internet/Smartphone Addiction: Acknowledge the lack of control over digital usage and admit powerlessness over the compulsive need to engage with technology. Think of what the overuse is really costing you.


Step 2: Believing in a Higher Power


  • Abusive Relationship: Find strength in personal beliefs or seek support from external sources (friends, family, or professionals).

  • Internet/Smartphone Addiction: Believe in the possibility of change and seek support from friends, family, or support groups. Create the higher vision (what becomes possible for me if I stop my unhealthy relationship with it).


Step 3: Turning Control Over to a Higher Power


  • Abusive Relationship: Surrender control over the relationship dynamics and seek guidance from supportive sources.

  • Internet/Smartphone Addiction: Recognize that there is a part of you that wants to engage into the habit, but also there is a much bigger part of you that looks at all this from the distance and can maintain neutrality. The easiest way to keep this distant focus is to be in a relaxed state, which helps you pause.


Step 4: Self-Reflection and Inventory


  • Abusive Relationship: Take a personal inventory of emotions, behaviors, and patterns within the relationship.

  • Internet/Smartphone Addiction: Reflect on digital habits, identify triggers, and take inventory of the impact of excessive technology use. What's the unfulfilled need or emotion that you are trying to avoid that is forcing you to check it again and again?


Step 5: Admitting Wrongdoings


  • Abusive Relationship: Acknowledge and share personal wrongdoings or mistakes in the relationship.

  • Internet/Smartphone Addiction: Admit to the negative consequences of excessive digital engagement on mental health, relationships, and overall well-being - to yourself and the impact it may have on others.


Step 6: Willingness to Change


  • Abusive Relationship: Develop a genuine willingness to let go of the toxic relationship and embrace positive change.

  • Internet/Smartphone Addiction: Cultivate a willingness to reduce digital dependency and adopt healthier habits. This should not be based on blaming or judging yourself, but rather on what becomes possible for you if you change (the more in detail you can visualize it, the more powerful the hook is for you).


Step 7: Seeking Higher Power's Assistance in Change


  • Abusive Relationship: Seek spiritual or emotional guidance to navigate the process of leaving the abusive relationship.

  • Internet/Smartphone Addiction: Seek support from a higher power or external sources to guide the journey towards digital well-being. Supportive community, people with clear goals and ambitions, bigger purpose that makes you stop focusing on avoiding the gadget, but rather on doing something useful for yourself or others.


Step 8: Making Amends


  • Abusive Relationship: Where appropriate and without causing harm, make amends for past mistakes.

  • Internet/Smartphone Addiction: Make amends by setting boundaries, apologizing to yourself, and re-engaging in meaningful offline activities.


Step 9: Direct Amends


  • Abusive Relationship: Make direct amends to those harmed by the relationship, if possible.

  • Internet/Smartphone Addiction: Make direct amends to individuals affected by your digital behaviour, such as friends, family, or colleagues. Perhaps, your partner was frustrated that you were looking at your phone instead of having a real conversation.


Step 10: Ongoing Self-Reflection


  • Abusive Relationship: Continuously reflect on personal growth and the potential for healthier relationships.

  • Internet/Smartphone Addiction: Engage in ongoing self-reflection to ensure a balanced and healthy relationship with technology. Journal once a week about how you feel, what were the triggers and when things may not have worked out for you as you wished.


Step 11: Seeking Spiritual Growth


  • Abusive Relationship: Seek spiritual or personal growth beyond the confines of the abusive relationship.

  • Internet/Smartphone Addiction: Pursue personal growth beyond digital confines, exploring offline activities and meaningful connections. Your natural sources of oxytocin, dopamine etc.


Step 12: Helping Others


  • Abusive Relationship: Share experiences and support others in similar situations.

  • Internet/Smartphone Addiction: Assist others in navigating the challenges of digital well-being, sharing insights and support.


PS This article does not represent medical advise, nor is it claiming to have working methodology to treat digital disorders. Please, consult with the doctor if you believe that you might be experiencing signs of addiction.


PPS If you would like to stop the co-dependent relationship pattern with your smartphone, check out our upcoming courses in digital wellbeing:

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