Instagram Addiction and Overcoming Comparison

I needed to revisit the comparison conversation and specifically discuss comparison as it relates to  Instagram. I made a new rule for myself when 2017 came around that I will not scroll through Instagram for more than 60 seconds, and I will not get on the Explore Page at all. I found myself before creating this boundary, tapping instagram– subconsciously even and scrolling and scrolling, switching in and out of the feed and my Explore Page.

When too much time had passed I’d look up and it was almost as if I’d gone on a trip and returned. I’d look up with a new head of worries, comparisons, self critiques, envies etc.  Instagram for me had become a place that watered my fears and fed my anxiety.

The likes, the comments, the information that floods the screen every second downloads to the brain so quick, and before you know it you’re thinking about the next photo you have to post and wondering why so and so got xyz amount of likes although they only have this many followers and how you’re going to deactivate your account for awhile to “rebrand” yourself because your feed doesn’t quite meet the instagram standard of aesthetic.

If I can be like that, look like that, have that, I can be loved too, is what you’re really saying.

Your mind goes on this whirlwind of comparison, but what is slowly taking place is you’re beginning to lose identity.  She’s got more followers than me; I have to post more like this. I’m getting more likes than them, so I can’t be doing that bad. She gets a lot of “beautifuls”,”stunnings” and heart-eye emojis, so I have to look like this. Why can’t I dress more like that. I wish I could afford to travel as much as they do.

Seeds of self-rejection set in. You begin to lose the authentic you. The you that makes you beautiful, the you that makes you stunning. You begin to lose yourself to take on a role that does not belong to you and to be quite honest, probably doesn’t belong to others you’re comparing yourself to. You’re misinterpreting followers, status, likes and comments for love, and its not the same. If I can be like that, look like that, have that, I can be loved too, is what you’re really saying.

We are so misinformed on what love looks like, we interpret anything that feels or looks like a tiny bit of acceptance as love. But you must love yourself first. There are Insta-Stars that are hurting on the inside. They hate themselves because they don’t know who they are– living a lifestyle of addiction. They get their fixes from social media. Without it they are lost.

So when you know who you are, what you’re purposed to do, you will be so secure in yourself that you can use Instagram and other social media platforms to be free in who you are. Share your gifts, share your personality, share your thoughts and invite others into your unique world.

I try to keep a healthy balance with Instagram. I find that when I am on it less, my self- esteem and creativity are high. I’m not comparing myself to others, and I’m not anxious about my life’s pursuits because of what someone else posted. Social media is great, but we must use it responsibly. We are individuals with unique callings, so we should never look for identity in the fickle-everchanging systems of Instagram.