Two weeks ago I decided to stop using Instagram.
First, let me say that I've met incredible people through social media. Many of my greatest friendships and connections have been made there and I know it can be such a rewarding platform. But, I started to realize that social media was more of a burden and causing me more unhappiness. That needed to change.
You know those scenes in a movie where the teacher asks the class in the gym "how many of you have ever felt like...... ?" Well how many of you have ever felt like you needed to do more and more and more.... because of what you see on social media? Or your house has to look a certain way? Or you need to dress a certain way? Or your camping trip has to be more epic? Or you need more perfect colors in your grid?
Or it wasn't good enough. You aren't good enough. No double tap.
Well, I call bullshit.
There's so much freedom in doing something truly for yourself. When you make something beautiful for yourself and not for a photo that's going to live for a few moments for a stranger across the world to see, you create a real experience. You are making it for the pleasure of living it. Your phone is tucked away. You don't have to look every time you hear it *ding* to say someone commented on your post, taking you away from where you are. When all of that is stripped away, that is where you find true inspiration and beauty. Photos are precious of course. This is just my own struggle with distraction from the places, the people, and the very things I'm proclaiming I'm living on my device.
I sat with a friend a few weeks ago and she said to me "I realized by being on social media that I was missing out on the relationships in front of me." That really hit hard. How many times had I left a friend's conversation to take advantage of a perfect Insta-moment or had I been left by a friend. Too many. I was leaving the real connections for a few vain ones online in hopes of more followers. Here I was always talking about community and I was forgetting the most MOST precious part of it- the actual people in my life.
So, I started to strip away all of the things that really didn't matter to me and make a list of the things that did. I started reaching out to my friend's and having more intentional conversations. When you aren't on Instagram and have a "curated" view of what is going on in their life, you have to get real. We always talk about how that look on someone's life isn't a valid snapshot but never really think that sometimes that's the only view we are getting of some of our friends. So, I vowed to really start making the effort to ask questions, to keep in touch, to call. What showed up were real answers and already my relationships were deepening.
Don't you need to be on Instagram for your business you might ask? Probably. I'm not sure how I will navigate this moving forward. I may come back eventually. It may be in two more weeks who knows. I just know that it doesn't feel good to me and I have to listen to that. If I'm busy and it comes down to sitting with my son for 5 minutes and having a conversation about the latest Captain Underpants book he's reading or trying to figure out what photo I'm going to post and what caption to write..... I think the choice is easy. But now you have to take a proper photo (forget in the moment phone pics), whats the best time to post, what hashtags do you want to use (but not too many because you will look lame), oh and there's those people that use bots who will be more successful, and how are you going to beat the new algorithm?
Ya'll. I don't have time for all that.
Let's be real.