Instagram has been my sole source of social media for the past two years. For a while I prided myself in, and even bragged about, the fact that I only existed on one social media platform. While this is still a decision I plan to adhere to, (well until something better comes along) I also see the negative ways in which it has influenced my life. I left Facebook because I was sick of the mindless scrolling, and frankly I didn’t care to see what most people were doing at all hours of the day. Instagram appeared to be a more genuine outlet for sharing and gaining insight, so that’s what I’ve stuck to. All this seemed just peachy for a while until I realized that the time I had spent scrolling Facebook had been placed on Instagram. I was now doubling my time on one form of social media rather than splitting between two, sweet.
With all this time spent on Instagram I began following loads of genuinely fascinating humans, some who are really good at portraying a fascinating life, and some who aren’t fascinating or thought-provoking at all – just mindlessly entertaining. Then begins the comparisons and the judgements and the urge to stay relevant in an effort to be noticed. It’s all so weird when you really step back and look at it – this little extra world that we create within our technology which is supposed to represent us as humans. We carefully construct this vision of ourselves and our lives that we desperately want others to affirm. All the while our real life is happening, and we’re missing it because we’re too busy sharing our perfect cobb salad to all the followers who may or may not even care (probably not).
The comparisons are what really got me in a tizzy – seeing people of my own age setting off on extravagant adventures with no regard to cost or anything else that most of us have to consider. It truly would get me down. I would think to myself that if I’d worked harder, or done something differently, or maybe not gone to college, or maybe been less lazy, that I would’ve been able to live the life they’re leading. Seeing others live these lifestyles that are unrealisitic to the majority should’ve never made me question my own worth or what I had accomplished, but it did and I know I’m not alone. It wasn’t something that I was able to grasp right away either. As I scrolled by a photo of a young yogi living her carefree dreams traveling the globe I could feel a little wave of guilt crash over me. I would never blame the person in the photo, I would blame myself, because it was my own fault for not earning it. Of course there are usually extenuating financial circumstances applied to these young globe trotters that has allowed them to lead such posh lifestyles, but I was blinded to that reality for a long time.
I don’t know what changed, but somewhere along the line I decided that I was done feeling inferior and less-than all the time. I was done trying to encourage people to like me through interesting content even when my life didn’t feel super enticing in that moment. I want people to like me regardless of how good I am at gaining a following or posting appealing photos. I simply want more time for my actual life and that means not caring if people know I went shopping at whole foods today and found the most perfect avocado of my life (which I did, but you wouldn’t know). I also released myself from the burden of comparison by unfollowing any accounts that made me ever question my own worth. I want to be inspired and uplifted with humans who I would actually engage with in real life. Nothing against anyone in particular, I’m doing this for me.
Choosing happiness. Always.