The lands of likes & comparison: Is it us or is it Instagram?
Welcome back to another #coffeeshopthoughts! If you are new to my blog this kind of post is different then my usual. I discuss more deep and meaningful things, things that are weighing on my heart or I feel I want to share my two cents on. Things that I want a conversation to be had about.
In today’s post I want to discuss something I have heard talked about so much in the last few days on instagram and thats the negative aspects of instagram and social media in general. How its not a happy creative outlet, that there is so much comparison and shame people feel because of this “ideal” constantly being presented and shown. That it isn’t real and authentic life. It’s staged to be perfect. I feel these things and have been captured by them too. I think most people have. WE all have insecurities, flaws, things we wish we could change about our lives and ourselves and for some reason instagram exasperates them. Now we have to think to ourselves is it really instagram doing this or is it me already inherently feeling these things?
My answer is it is BOTH. Yes I said both. I have heard people choosing one side or the other on this. That the users of the platform are allowing what they see to dictate how they feel and are allowing themselves to get lost in this comparison game. Where this person must have it all, the numbers, the money, the body I want and I have nothing. Others take the side that it IS instagram and the way it is now that is a contributing factor to peoples unhappiness. That it is so curated and unrealistic that it instead of inspiring it feeds you defeat and low self worth.
I watched one of my favorite bloggers discuss this idea of it being both @amberfillerupclark. That the bloggers and influences have work to do to not make their content so “perfect” and unreasonable or achievable to people but we as the viewers and users need to have responsibly over how something we see makes us feel. I couldn’t agree more, I think there is work to be done on both sides to make the app a better healthier environment. But we also can’t rely on the app or external force to do it for us. We have to make our environment healthier. If thats not spending so much time on instagram, or not following that one person that triggers you to feel all those insecurities, or not checking your number so often then do it. We have to create the environment we seek not let other outside factors like an app dictate that.
Another blogger I saw mention that she wishes that instagram just took away the numbers , that people would just create, share what they love, who they love, and whatever they want to put out. I also really resonate with this. I spent a lot of last year truly upset by my numbers or I felt lack there of. I put so much of my self worth and worth of my creativity based on how my numbers were. I grew jealous of people that had a bigger following than me. That their content wasn’t better then mine but look at the engagement they got. I almost walked away completely from my blog and my instagram because it just felt like a burden. But this was an issue I was having with myself. It wasn’t the numbers fault that I felt not good enough. It wasn’t that bloggers fault for having a bigger following that made me feel like I wasn’t good enough.It was ME. I was allowing superficial things to dictate how I like to create and how I like to express myself and that pains me to say I did.
It took me so long to get past being in that place, I still struggle. I still sometimes get offended when I work so hard on content and its gets little love. I still feel frustrated by my number fluctuation. I am human but I have made so much progress too that I am proud of. I allow myself to just create and not care so much how its received. I don’t force myself to post 2 or 3 times a day just to get more followers. Instead of putting myself worth on the reaction of what I have put out I put my self worth and happiness in the process of which I created something. I put my self worth in the mere fact that I create everyday. Just by changing my mindset has given me a completely new outlook on the platform. I don’t get so consumed by it, I feel grateful that other people I follow like to create too, that there is inspiration around me, that I get this little corner of the wide web to share things, that even if its a small audience that the rare few like what I create. Mindset is a big deal people. Truly.
Also I am allowing myself to share other things that inspire me besides just imagery. I think instagram has become almost solely visual and I often wonder if people really read captions anymore but words are almost the most inspiring thing to me. I love words and writing. Haha maybe thats why I am doing what I am doing right now eh? So I am allowing myself to not play into the "people spend 3 seconds on a photo" so why put anything of value in the captions game. I write. I write what I feel. I write what I’ve been thinking about that day. I write what inspires me. I write truth. I write about “real life”. I write whats on my heart. It has made me so happy to just write those things even if not a single person reads my captions. Because to loop it back to above where I discussed self worth I put value in me writing it not if its being read or received.
As many people say we are the leaders and in charge of our own happiness. Nobody else. This is a blessing, we can decide what, who, where we are happy. Remember that, nobody can take away your happiness unless you let them. So when you are scrolling through “perfect photo” after perfect photo on instagram and you are feeling hurt and defeated by it you are allowing yourself too. You have the power to change that. To perceive your world differently. I believe in you!
I hope you all read this and take something from it. I never write for the sole purpose of inspiring you but if it does my heart will be even more happy.