KEEPING IT REAL: Cleaning out my instagram feed
I laid in bed. I felt heavy. I was doing the social media scroll on instagram that takes up so much of my time. So much of our time. I went to an old friend’s profile. One I hadn’t spoken to in a year and one that hurt me deeply but one that I needed to always see what she was up to. Why did I always need to see what she was up to?
I knew what it was- just to know. Even if it hurt. A lot. My way of being connected to her even if it was toxic, depleting. But every day I did it. The curiosity would pull on me. It became a part of my routine. Every morning- I’d wake up and grab my phone, open instagram and scroll through. Once I was done soaking up the vibes of others and feeling their influence even if I didn’t always want to feel it I would type in her name to my search bar. I didn’t follow her but I’d still look, and then watch her stories. Sometimes twice. My mood would feel heavy. My heart would too. Like a gray cloud over both. Almost to torture myself of a friendship that ended. I hoped she was happier now. From what I saw and what she put out there, her negativity remained. I felt it as she complained on video, in her car with a fun face filter. I watched and wondered what part I had in how she was feeling. Ultimately I knew it was less than I thought but in that moment it felt like all of it. I took it on.
I had to stop. I didn’t deserve this.
So that next morning I woke up and did the same scroll I always did but this time after I watched her stories one more time feeling the weight she was giving me I did it.
I blocked her.
After I let her go and felt the relief I realized there are others that impact me just like her. Those that stir up things that aren’t always positive for me. Triggering thoughts and feelings. Those that weighed me down without even realizing they were. So I continued clearing my feed. Once I started I couldn’t stop which is normally how my constant instagram scroll starts and continues.
That morning in my bed though it was different. Instead of feeling heavy and weighed down from her and them like I normally did, mindlessly scrolling, painfully comparing I slowly unfollowed and muted all of people that made me feel anything other than worthy. No one should ever let us feel less than enough. I was lightening my load. The burden of all their BS that wasn’t mine to carry. I was thoughtful and mindful as I continued to clean. And while I did it I realized that I have the control over my instagram feed and who I let into it. I’m trying to establish boundaries in my life and starting with social media is a great place to build some.
I can like people in real life and not like them on social media. A lot of it comes from learning that many of us aren’t always the same people as we project online. It makes me really sad that so many aren’t their true selves across the board privately and publicly but that is their choice. My choice is how I let them into my life and affect me. So, I continued to clean.
The way we start our days set the tone for the rest of it. I challenged myself and changed my routine. Instead of waking up and grabbing my phone and doing a social media scroll, then checking email, I now lay there and think for a few minutes. Set an intention for the day. Read a bit from a book I’m enjoying or write a few pages of thoughts fresh from my head into a journal beside my bed. I practice gratitude and make note of what I’m grateful for. These small acts are all good things. Things that make me happy and bring me peace. It starts the day in a calm, creative manner instead of filling it with other people’s lives and days and projections before I’ve even started mine. Some days it’s shifted my entire perspective, starting positively and with things that bring me joy. Our time is precious. If we are spending time online it should count towards something, to add to our day, to fill us up, not take away from it and tear us down.
I want to be surrounded by the vibes I hope to put out into the world- good ones. I want to be inspired and inspire and so I did it. I cleaned out my feed just as I would clean out my closet this time of year. Instead of swapping out the short sleeves for sweaters I instead swapped out comparison to community. Connection. Inspiration. Freedom.
Raise your hand if you feel this way too and have people on social media that you always go to to see what they’re doing. Just to know. Even if you hate doing it. Even if you don’t like them that much. Maybe you love them but it’s still stresssful for you. To compare yourself to them. Even if you don’t want to. To feel like you’re missing out on their plans because you’re not there. Even if you’re happy with the plans you’re currently having or the plans you’re not having. The second guessing. The doubt. The FOMO (fear of missing out) instead of JOMO (Joy of missing out). Even if it hurts you. Being reminded of the things we don’t have instead of all the things we do have. The ones that stir up negativity you don’t want to feel....but you go, scroll and look anyway. 🙋🏻♀️🙋🏻♀️🙋🏻♀️🙋🏻♀️
I’m sending a loving challenge your way- Stop.
Stop doing that to yourself.
Stop going to their feed so often to see what they’re doing.
Stop going to their feed at all.
Mute them. Hide their stories. Whatever you need to do. They’re taking up valuable space in your head and in your heart. It’s hard. I felt guilty at first but I also know that feeling will pass instead of the lasting impact they have on my daily outcome. And guess what? Fun fact-If you mute them they’ll never know you did. Muting keeps it private. Unfollowing is also a powerful tool to clearing the way but they could know you did. If that matters to you if they know then it may cause more drama than the intention of it all. Honestly, I was so thankful for discovering this mute feature in a time where so many people I know track their followers and the unfollows they get. I know if I unfollowed certain people I would get a DM or text message asking why. That would be hard for me. This way you’ll never be asked or confronted for your choice. I never want you to be confronted for choosing you. And you can unmute them anytime- only if you want to.
You deserve to be inspired. Uplifted. Connected and a part of a community that supports you the way you support it. Anything less is not worth your screen time. Your head and heart time. Your soul time. As followers we are in control. We are responsible.
They say we are what we eat. I also say we are the content we consume. We are also the content we create. As creators we are also in control and also responsible. Being an “influencer” doesn’t speak to me but being a person of influence does. We all have that roll whether we have thousands of followers or none. Both online and in life -we influence. So fill up fully with the goodness you deserve and put out intentional things. Speak words that don’t intentionally hurt yourself or others. Positivity radiates and so does negativity. Know that our intentions matter. Our actions matter. Our words matter.
Why are you posting what you post?
To show you’re doing something cool? Because someone else is doing it? To make someone jealous? To project you’re feeling better than you are? To try to be someone you don’t always feel like at home? Or to share your passion and creativity? To share your art, your music your writing? To share your story and your heart? To pass along a message that means something to you? To connect with other likeminded kind humans? To help others? To motivate? What are the reasons for you?
There’s a big difference in the first part of that list and the end of that list. Where are you located on it? Maybe you don’t realize where you fall. Didn’t notice. Didn’t care. Don’t care. But I urge you to just check in with yourself when you can. Not with everyone else. Not determining the success of your instagram post with how many likes and shares you got but with how you felt about what you posted. The moment you felt when you took the photo and wrote the words and released it for others to experience. But with you and your why. Sit with it. See how you feel. I love to always check in with my heart and intention of why before I ever put anything out into the world. Sometimes I write and it takes me a while to give it to anyone else. I like to be certain. To be sure in my soul. Intentional and deliberate. Honest. Like today’s intention. To let you know how I’ve been feeling with social media in case you feel it too. To give permission if you need it. To make a safe space for you where you know you’re valued and heard and that you’re not alone in this world where instagram can connect us but also isolate us. To let you know what my heart has been feeling and to share my story so you can relate if it resonates. If it doesn’t may it give you to freedom to share something that is on your heart too. To know you’re not alone. I feel it too. We all do. To continue to slow down in this social media society where living in a social media society matters so much.
But so does our happiness. Our peace. Our confidence in ourselves without followers and likes and others to a validate what we’re doing even if we crave it, have become used to it, told by everyone else that’s how we should hold value and stock.
Once we change our feed to be full of people, places and businesses that bring us the good stuff our conversations about social media will change. Our perspective will change. We’ll spend less time gossiping about the feeds that bring us down, that make us doubt and we’ll talk about the good ones, the ones standing for something on the platform they’ve built to empower, educate, support and engage in a way that makes this world a better place.
They call it a platform for a reason. The definition of a platform is an opportunity to voice one’s views or initiate action. What does that look like for you?
With lots of love & a lighter instagram feed,
P.S- Did you know that when you spend less time scrolling on social media and checking the profiles of people that stress you out and bring you down you’ll have more time to live life freely and unfiltered while not comparing yourself to strangers on the internet.