I’ve never been one to wrestle with a lot of jealousy.
I understand that sounds like a pretty naive thing to say, but it’s true.
I never had boyfriends cheat on me. I always prefer staying home than being invited to a big party. There’s not much on earth that I truly need that I can’t provide for myself. I usually feel confident with my appearance.
This past year that changed for me though.
Or for awhile, at least.
In 2015, I was following over 500 people & brands on Instagram; most being people and brands I didn’t know personally. Whenever I’d pop into Instagram, I would scroll endlessly through a feed of perfectly designed and curated photographs of what seemed like other peoples’ normal day-to-day lives.
And subconsciously with every photo, I found myself comparing my life to what was seen in the image.
- Is my house that beautiful?
- Do I have a bag that nice?
- Will I ever be able to draw like that?
- Cook like that?
- Look like that?
- Live like that?
I made my lifestyle a comparison game with people I had never met and things I didn’t have. What once was a place where I sought inspiration became a soul-sucking hole of discouraging “you’re not enough’s”.
It took me nearly a year to reach my breaking point and figure out why I was so hard on myself about what my life “looked” like.
It was then I realized I had to make a change.
I knew I needed more than just a break from Instagram. I had done that before and I found myself, time and time again, in the same spot.
And I didn’t want to delete Instagram, either.
There are so many things I love about the medium. I have used it as a photo journal of sorts for the last few years and have been inspired by so many visual artists I have discovered through it. Not to mention, I now have genuine friends all over the US that I have met through it.
Deleting it entirely just wouldn’t feel right.
My final solution?
1. Any person I didn’t know
2. Anyone who made me feel worse about myself
3. Any brand who made me want to buy something I didn’t need or made me feel inadequate with what I already have.
It took me hours but I made it through. Following the rules that I made, I had to unfollow a lot of brands that inspired me and a lot of friends whom I love (but whose posts drove me crazy). I even felt guilty about many of the unfollows—like I owed it to some people to stick around.
Like they had “won” me as a follower and now I was obliged to subscribe to their posts for life? What?
There are so many results have positively affected my mental, emotional, and spiritual health after unfollowing those 200+ accounts.
I don’t feel guilty unfollowing people anymore.
I’ve suddenly found it unnecessary to have incredibly gorgeous handwriting and a latte every morning. I have discovered I even like those friends who previously drove me crazy online. I’ve found contentment in our tiny apartment and hardly ever feel the need to buy more stuff.
These days, I quickly run out of new content to look at while scrolling through Instagram. Because of this, I’ve ended up spending way less time on my phone—and I am loving it. This change of pace has felt so incredibly refreshing and healthy to this young millennial.
It’s so freeing to have moments when I can remember I’m not missing something when my phone is off or away. It’s so healing to trust that I have the right to love my life right now, right where I’m at. Just the way it looks.