Updated: Sep 18, 2020
Removing power from social media... I think this is a really fucking important topic. So many people in this world give so much weight to social media. We think that if we get a certain number of likes or comments or people telling us we're hot that we're suddenly worth something. People use instagram to try and feel the self-worth they lack in real life, and it's fucking toxic as shit.
We need to remind ourselves as often as possible that social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook are false. There is no real worth or validation within them. It's simply some pixels on a screen. And yet it has the power to make us either feel a false-sense of confidence because we think people like us or think we're hot (why we're aiming for that in the first place I will never know), or to feel incredibly insecure. Instagram literally facilitates and amplifies our own insecurities and fosters habits of comparison and self-degradation which can only ever exist to lower the qualities of our lives.
Learning how to use social media with intentionality and purpose is a really big step a lot of people aren't even close to taking, and yet I don't think much more could be more important. Learning to back yourself and love who you are even when there is this unprecedented amount of 'content' out there to make you feel like who you are isn't good enough is something we should all be prioritising.
Do you think you get caught up in social media?
Do you ever take a step back and question why it is you've posted something, or what the intention was behind it?
A few months ago I began using Instagram much more consciously. I've never been someone who has bought into it anyway, but it's also easy to get swept up by its power. A lot of us fall victim to this disgusting brainwashing that instagram means something - that if you're someone who has a high following or gets a lot of likes on your picture that you're somehow better; more worthy. When the truth is, it literally has zero bearing on your actual life, and when you meet people with these high followings, their life has no correlation to their instagram. People can have thousands of followers and still work in a pub.. they can be 'so desirable' and still be struggling to make rent or pay their bills. Instagram is not a real thing.. and we need to stop acting like it is.
I use instagram for my business. And yes, that does mean being engaged and active, it means posting pictures & forming connections, but I'm not a robot... I act with intention on that app. I don't mindlessly scroll and like and comment; scroll and like and comment. Hell no. I actually write comments and captions that encapsulate my heart and the care I feel for people. My aim is to genuinely build connections - either to inspire and help people, to bring in new clients or to simply find like-minded people to talk to about my passions with. I don't use it to feel the validation of being 'good-enough.'
Staying authentic and true to myself is something that does come naturally for me - I don't really care what I look like. I'm not that bothered if my yoga poses aren't perfect because that's my reality - very far from perfect! But I know and appreciate that that's not the case for everyone. And i'm not here to shame or guilt anyone about anything they do, only to raise awareness and hopefully help some people to reflect on their own use of social media platforms and assess whether or not they're using them for the right reasons.
We have the ability to remove our power from apps and place it back in the hands of things that matter - like how loved we make people in our lives feel, how much joy we spread, how we help or inspire people.. Our power should be rooted in things that matter, not in social media.
I was reminded of all of this today because I'm planning a Spring Equinox workshop in a month & I was going back through some of my old posts reminding myself of some things I could incorporate from past workshops or healing circles, when I stumbled upon this (embarrassing) video I posted last year. I was challenged by a close (instagram) friend to join a hashtag challenge #zerofkstuesday, and as someone who is always aiming to live her life in line with this sentiment, I was excited to join.
I set up my phone to record, played an old-school song and danced around like a bit of an idiot. The aim was to take the piss out of myself, to make people laugh and ultimately remind people to not take themselves so seriously. I was nervous to post it, my ego was screaming in my ears, but I knew that in order to stay true to myself, I needed to push down any insecurities I was feeling & be proud of who I am - even the dancing idiot that sometimes comes out. I reminded myself that any reactions to the video weren't real, and had no part to play in my actual life. Whether people thought I looked like a twat or thought it was great I had the confidence to share a video like that, either way, it was fine and wouldn't change the opinion of people who actually knew me in real life.
Most of the responses I got were pretty great, people were laughing with me and admired the fact I was happy to embarrass myself in the name of actually living in alignment with the notion I was spreading.
Anyway, a few weeks passed and I went onto my Instagram one day a few weeks after getting with Sam and there was this comment on the video of some girl tagging his ex-girlfriend saying LOL. And immediately I felt a wave of anxiety and insecurity wash over me. I couldn't believe that at 24 things like this were still happening.
That initial feeling subsided pretty quickly - I was able to remove the power from the situation & remind myself that actually, this is coming from someone I don't know, don't give any value or worth to, and who has no bearing on my life.. so why should it matter? It was a petty, manipulative and nasty comment - and I was better than that. I know who I am, and I'm proud of that person, and when you dissect each situation carefully, you always come to realise that projection is a huge motivator for a lot of people in this world. When people feel insecure in who they are, when they don't genuinely value and love themselves, that grows, and they feel the need to spread that shit all over the place. No-one ever teaches us how to love ourselves and work on ourselves in a way that will bring us peace and genuine confidence so that we can start moving away from acts of comparisons or putting other people down to try and make ourselves feel better.
Instagram seems to create and feed the kind of 'high-school' environment where the manifestation of this kind of projection is commonplace. I know so many people who have been subject to 'trolls' or even bullying on instagram because people feel empowered behind a keyboard. Negative feelings about ourselves grow because instagram provides us all with access to things we would have never had years ago - whether that be pictures of your ex-boyfriends new girlfriend, photos of models who you think are skinnier than you, a girl walking in a thong bikini on a beach in Thailand - whatever it is, we are constantly able to access things that push us to feel inferior, or boring, or not good enough in some way. We tear ourselves down, and we need to learn how to remove power from pictures we see, comparisons we make, nasty comments we may get, and back ourselves til the fucking end.
It was really lovely looking back at it all today and pondering everything i'm writing about now. I enjoyed reminding myself of how much I love being the kind of person who doesn't care what people think. I go live on insta when I look terrible; I post pictures that are grainy and taken on my crap phone camera. I am really pleased that I haven't allowed that instagram power to overwhelm me or push me to act differently than what I'm comfortable with.
If you've read my blog post - dare to be disliked - you'll know that I'm so fucking big on always living in alignment with who YOU are and building a connection with yourself that nothing as ridiculous and petty as some Instagram experience can shake. It is possible to keep your self-worth & self-love separate from social media, and not only is it possible, it's fucking essential. Even if right now the lines feel blurred, I promise you it doesn't have to be that way. There are mindsets and practices you can incorporate into your life on a daily basis to ensure that you don't allow thoughts of comparison, judgments or anything similar to actually impact your life and your relationship with yourself.
Does having lots of comments on a photo suddenly mean i'm the best at yoga? Does it make me a better person? Does it make my boyfriend love me more? Or my friends want to be closer to me?
Of course not!
It has zero impact on my life... the only impact it may have is potentially to help grow my business, which would be cool. But beyond that... fucking irrelevant!
If you find yourself getting caught up in all this sort of stuff, which I know is easy to do in our world, just come back to that. And i'm talking to you from a tiny scale. But remember it. Tell yourself that each time you feel overwhelmed. Ask yourself those questions..
Does anyone in your real life care how many likes or comments you get on instagram?
Fucking no. They don't give a shite.
So start challenging yourself to show up as who you really are - regardless of what the trends are or what other people might think. If you take a picture of yourself and you want to share it, but you look like shit & you're worried people won't think you're good-looking - fucking post it! If you're worried that a yoga pose isn't as good as it should be - fucking post it. Whatever your insecurity or fear may be, just fucking post in spite of it and utilise that strength to stay far away from the brainwashing of social media.
Step out of your comfort zone and put being true to yourself above caring what people think.
You can only get there by taking the first step and it's so doable. If you're worried about what people might think of you in any scenario, then please, start trusting yourself and loving yourself enough to know that you are worthy, you are a good person and always come back to what's important to you.
Photos taken from her facebook page
I follow this woman on Facebook - Knee Deep in Life - and I have for years. She takes the piss out of a lot of things, but in doing so makes herself so vulnerable. I have no doubt she receives nasty comments on every video she posts, and I'm sure they get to her sometimes. I also have no doubt she probably feels a bit nervous before posting some of the things she does, and has to work really hard to not feel insecure or crap about herself. But by and large, she chooses to value herself and be grateful for the real people in her real life who love her, and post anyway - even whilst knowing someone somewhere will have something mean to say.
And I think she's the most inspiring woman and my only aim when it comes to using social media is to take a leaf out of her book. To literally give zero fucks about what people think. To post things that resonate and are true to who I am, and in the face of nastiness or insecurities, back myself & love myself time & time again. We need to also remind ourselves to cherish those who love us in real life, who know that we're not perfect but adore us anyway.
Social media only holds as much power as we decide. Choose today to build your own self-worth and relationship with yourself; make that a priority so you never self-sabotage or let others do it either.
If you don't already go and follow her (^^) on Facebook, she is literal life goals. Use that to help you start following more genuine and authentic accounts who give you the strength and courage you need to be true to yourself. Don't let yourself get caught up in unobtainable standards. Who you are is wonderful, and the world is waiting for you to give yourself the credit you deserve.
Don't let your life go to waste while you're too busy caring what other people think of you. Be strong in yourself, and please, whatever you do, just love yourself exactly as you are. You are worthy and strong and beautiful. No you're not perfect. No i'm sure there are better looking people, smarter people, whatever-people - but focus on what matters. Are there kinder people? More genuine? More open and honest? Focus on the qualities that you value in yourself and be damn sure that those qualities that matter are where you invest your time and your energy.
If you can go to sleep every night knowing you've made someone's life a little better, loved someone well, and acted selflessly and with kindness, very little else matters...