My relationship with Instagram has long been a tumultuous one. To start, I refused vehemently to get the app. Then, of course, I developed major FOMO and caved. Then, year after year, I saw how Instagram came to increasingly control everyone's life. Everything revolved around Instagram. How to get more followers, how to get someone to tag you in their post, how to become Insta-FAMOUS and thereby live a life of luxury on a yacht with P-Diddy throwing dolla-bills into the ocean.
I am on Instagram. Yes. But I haven't always enjoyed it. And, I'm guessing you haven't either.
Anxiety. Self-doubt. Severe, crippling fear that you are on the OUTSIDE... looking in at strangers/brands/friends who have something wonderful that you do not have, that you NEVER will have. Magic. Sparkles. Heart eyes. It isn't real.
Often I have wondered (and continue to wonder) why I am even on Instagram. Why do I have it on my phone? Why do I look through my feed? Why do I take time out of my day to post a photo or a story? Is it worthwhile? Is it productive? Is this setting a good example for my daughter and/or my friends? Am I fueling the fire that holds the hearts of people who feel inadequate?
But a part of me likes it. And it isn't even necessarily because of the likes or followers or the warm fuzzy feeling I get when someone (my friend who I haven't seen in 3 years) leaves a comment saying "BEAUT".
There is something therapeutic about sharing a part of who you are and making a connection with someone else.
In the past I have unfollowed every account (down to zero) and started from scratch. The people whose photos you see in your feed are a reflection of who you are and what you want your mind to be filled with. Do you want to see women/girls/brands every day showing bikini bods? Do you want a feed full of #blessed freebies that leave you wondering why you aren't getting those? Do you want art and history and culture? Do you want to see your friend's kids? I don't know. What I want changes and that is why the people I follow are always evolving.
Just like five years ago, when I was fighting the temptation to get an iPhone AND Instagram, today I am fighting the temptation to follow accounts that make me (ultimately) feel bad about myself. And that changes. Sometimes I can handle following my friends who I haven't seen in a few years who are doing amazing things in amazing places. Sometimes I feel happy when I see their photos and excited for them and the life they have created. But sometimes it makes me feel like I'm missing out. Sometimes it makes me flirt with feelings of regret. And that isn't something I want for myself.
All this to say, be conscious of who you follow on Instagram (or any social channel). The images and words have an impact (whether you realize it at the moment of consumption or not). You have a choice about what you consume. Input goodness and hopefully, then, output goodness too.
See below for a few accounts that offer me a bit of fresh air.