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 finally quit Instagram and Facebook!
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 this lesson.
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 and Facebook 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 there.
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 my accounts 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 and reasons why I quit Instagram and Facebook:
REASON #1 – I started thinking about myself 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!
Suddenly you start nitpicking how your body, skin, hair, face and outfit looks, and sooner or later you find something you don’t like.
With doing that you can start feeling really bad, really quick.
And then we think the solution is to be more ‘prefect’. To have better makeup, better lightning, amazing outfit, and perfectly done hair.
But that is not freedom or liberation.
I don’t want to be perfect, nor do I want to obsess over small details about how I look.
I want to enjoy my natural beauty and my capsule wardrobe freely and without worries about what others think.
And that is why I don’t really care to post photos of myself or my outfits on social media. Yes, I will do it on the blog, but only for helpful purposes, and in personal life to keep as memories.
REASON #2 – I started comparing myself 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 not enough and with that my motivation to create and feel joy diminished quickly.
Unfortunately, Instagram is a rat-race for attention, not usefulness, and if you don’t believe me, just look at what is at the top.
Sometimes popular account bring us value yes, but more often than not they are just there to entertain, be funny, or even stupid.
With that, I realised I don’t really need Instagram or Facebook, and I can focus on my blog more. I can take better pictures and do my best to be as helpful as I can be because this is the place where people go when they want to learn something new.
REASON #3 – It made me 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?
Even if you’re not planning to quit Instagram or Facebook, making this shift can be very empowering.
Start posting what you really like, not what will get the most response.
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.
REASON #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.
REASON #5 – I wasted a lot of my time
That kind of connects to the previous point, but how many times have you found yourself scrolling down and down and down and down, wasting precious minutes, if not hours, of your time?
I hated that! I felt horrible after every ‘scrolling session’ and yet I kept doing it.
Like I said before, the apps are meant to be addictive because they want us to spend as much time on their platform as humanly possible.
So your plans to study? They don’t care about that. Your plans to go outside for a walk? Nah, they want to keep you on your ass scrolling.
This may sound harsh, but it’s true.
Without the apps on our phones, all of that changes. Suddenly, we’re back at the front seat of how we spend our time.
REASON #6 – It’s not authentic
I’m sure we all now 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.
This just left 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 don’t want to keep proving myself on a platform that has become so fake and inauthentic.
So what is the point of having an account if you attract so many fake people or bots or whatever?
I know I joined the Instagram rather late, and it was supposedly different when they launched, but at the moment and from my experience, it just isn’t worth it.
Let’s stay in touch…
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 🙂
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