This month I had enough.
Enough of the chase. The need for approval. Constant thinking about what others want. The continuous twitching to check my phone.
I’ve had many moments of dissatisfaction on Instagram, but this month I had enough.
I knew I needed to make a change. So I will.
I believe that everything we do in life is a reflection of our state of mind and beliefs, so I recognise that not all people will feel the same way about social media that I do.
But as someone who disliked social media in the first place, I’m surprised I’ve fallen for the traps. I’ve fallen for the tricks I was informed about before I started using the platform.
Yet, I’m only human and it looks like I needed to learn a lesson and look deeper into my insecurities.
So I thought I would share what I learned and if you ever feel crappy after using social media, read along.
I started using Instagram a year ago and I was very reluctant to do so.
I was somewhat against social media and I was very proud of the fact that you couldn’t really find me on the internet.
At the time, I believed social media is terrible for your mental health and that it’s mostly about vanity and seeking approval.
Now that I had it for a year, I realise I was kind of right.
The reason I created an account was my blog. I wanted to grow my readership and it seemed like a great idea.
So I posted a few quotes and photos here and there and I felt a bit awkward, but I told myself I need to look at the bigger picture, so I did it anyway.
But as time went on, it became less and less about building my readership and more about seeking approval on the outside.
Even though this seems so clear to me now, at the time the changes were so small I didn’t even notice them.
That is why I want to share the biggest traps of Instagram and social media:
TRAP 1 – You start thinking about yourself from other people’s perspective
When I didn’t use social media, I felt free.
I didn’t care what strangers would think about my outfits, makeup, hair, body or life.
I was focused on myself and how I feel. And that was enough.
But with Instagram, I started to subconsciously figure out what photos would get the most likes and then I would do and wear what people would respond to.
So my focus shifted from how I feel about myself, to how others think about me.
Not a positive shift!
Luckily I had already dealt with my body insecurities a long time ago, so it didn’t leave any harmful thoughts about my body.
But I did lose freedom around my clothing, makeup and hair. Now every look had to be perfect and that feeling sucked.
I don’t want to be perfect, nor do I want to obsess over small details about my outfit.
I want to enjoy my capsule wardrobe freely and without worries about what others think.
So I decided to reclaim my dressing power and dress only for myself like I should’ve done in the first place.
And if I ever feel inspired to share an outfit, I will do it on my stories, or I will share styling tips and ideas in a blog post form, where people can actually learn and take the stuff in.
TRAP 2 – You start comparing yourself to others
Whether we like it or not, likes and followers often mean something to us.
We can mistakenly perceive them as love, approval and acceptance, even though they’re far away from that.
So when we see other people “effortlessly” getting all the attention that we want, we might feel inferior.
We start comparing ourselves, judging others and feeling like shit. It’s not a nice word, but it’s true.
I was aware that this could happen, but my self-doubts got the best of me.
In my efforts to grow my account I stumbled upon some lousy ‘business’ advice such as: “If people don’t like your stuff, you’re not interesting enough.” or “If people don’t like your posts, you’re not helpful enough” and so on.
And even if nobody says it, we might still think it.
But tying your self-worth to your content is a horrible, horrible idea, so please never, ever do it!
And I’m saying that because I did.
I started thinking I’m doing something wrong and with that, I changed my direction to (minimalist) fashion because I thought my quotes and home minimalist tips weren’t good enough.
And yes, I’m sure they weren’t perfect and I could improve them with time and knowledge, but truth be told, I shouldn’t jump ship and abandon what I believe in.
We should stay true to who we are even if that means less short-term gains because, in the long run, we’ll be much happier for it.
So with realising all of this, I want to get back to sharing helpful tips because that is what I wanted to do in the first place.
And if that means less attention, so be it. I want to focus on helping people instead of trying to impress the mass.
TRAP 3 – It can make you one dimensional
I’ve heard a lot of information such as “find your tiny niche or you’re doomed” or “post more of what people like” etc.
I understand that for business purposes, some of these tips might be helpful.
But still, I’m not convinced.
Even if you’re not trying to build a public account, wanting to post more of what gets the most likes is only human.
We like it when people respond positively, but this can lead us to zero in on small areas of who we are and what we like.
And what happens when we would rather post things that aren’t so popular? Should we just drop them?
I say, no! Not anymore.
I love talking about capsule wardrobes, decluttering tips and living intentionally and awarely. I also like quotes.
It’s all part of who I am and I want to talk about it all!
So I’m officially rejecting the “expert” advice, even though they told me I wouldn’t be successful doing it all.
That is why we all have to redefine success for ourselves – is it about social clout or happiness and peace of mind?
I know I would rather have the latter, so I can comfortably let go of the rest.
TRAP 4 – It’s designed to be addictive
I heard about it being addictive often, but I didn’t quite understand why people say that.
I know getting likes it’s like a high and you get the endorphin hit, but there is also a fascinating layer to this.
It’s like gambling!
Every time you post, you don’t know what is going to happen. You don’t know if you’re going to win, aka get the number of likes you want or lose aka get less than what you think is acceptable.
So it’s like sitting at a slot machine and pulling the puller over and over again!
When I realised that everything made sense.
I could see that with a new post came a new hope that I will finally get new followers and readers, and when it didn’t happen, I did it again. And again. And again. And again. And again.
Now that I understand this, I’m free from it because the last thing that I want to do with my time is gamble for likes.
Instead, I’m going to share more ideas on my stories where there is no like button, and if people find it useful, they usually let me know anyway 🙂
TRAP 5 – It’s not authentic
I’m sure we all know Instagram is not real life, and we have many memes about Instagram vs reality, but I’m not talking about that.
I’m talking about the influencer mentality.
Again, I’m not judging, we all have our own path, but for me, that just put me off from the whole thing.
I noticed a lot of people followed me just in hopes that I would follow back, and when I didn’t, they unfollowed me a few days later.
The same goes for likes and comments. They just do it for a follow, so basically, they couldn’t care less about what I posted or what I had to say.
Thankfully, this is the minority in my case, but it still leaves me with a bitter aftertaste.
And the worst part is? I sometimes did the same thing – If you can’t beat them join them, right?
But no. Just no. I don’t want to be a part of an Instagram influencer rat race.
I want to follow only people I enjoy watching and focus on sharing as much as I can about minimalism and intentional living.
And hopefully, people will find it useful and that will result in building a lovely supportive community.
With all of it being said, it’s not all bad.
If it were, I would just delete the app and be done with it.
So here are some positives: I met and connected with like-minded people, I can share things with my friends a bit more and I genuinely enjoy creating content (when done for the right reasons).
So as I always do in life, I will sip the honey and throw away the poison.
From now on, I will use it awarely and intentionally, so I feel happy about what I put out into the world.
What is your experience with social media? Do you enjoy it, or does it leave you feeling worse? Let me know your thought in the comments below 🙂
If you enjoyed this post, I’d be very grateful if you’d help it spread by sharing it! Thank you!
And if you want to read more, check out my latest posts!