Sitting around a table with friends, editing photographs from a fun filled day, I looked up and said, “Hey, guys. I just wanted to let you know that I’m temporarily breaking up with Instagram. Please hold me accountable.”
That was a week ago.
For awhile, I felt this little tug inside of me that said, “Give up your personal Instagram.” Unfortunately, I can’t just delete the app because I run social media for three different church platforms, but there is this neat feature that allows you to sign out of your individual account, so last week, I said, “Adios. See you sometime soon.”
While it’s only been a week, and I’ve been off social media here and there in the past, this time has been different. I thought I would share a few thoughts that I have gleaned from this temporary break up and hope that you can take something away from it.
1. I realized that a lot of the reason why we go on social media is because we feel like we are going to miss out on something. Have you ever been off Instagram for a day and come back, only to realize that three people got engaged, someone is having a baby, and so and so just announced that they are moving to Alaska? You feel like you missed so much. But, here’s the reality. While it is wonderful to interact with an online community and get updates on people’s lives, you have to let go of the idea of wanting to be apart of everyone’s center circle, and feeling like you have to know the latest of what is going on in other people’s (oftentimes strangers) lives.
There is nothing wrong with online community (I met one of my closest friends on Twitter and another one of my closest friends on Instagram), so I do value the community that has been created through these platforms, but online community isn’t the kind of community that we were created for. True, authentic community and friendships goes beyond 140 characters. It invites people into our mess and our unfiltered lives, it loves through the grit and grind, and it shares common interests and dreams in the present time.
2. We’ve stopped telling one another our stories in real time because we share it all on social media. There’s a lost art of conversation in our society. I could give you the statistics, but I’ll just leave that statement there.
The truth is this: you won’t miss anything when you are off social media (in my case, Instagram).
Why? Because you’ll share your stories+photographs+conversation with your true friends, not hundreds of followers. I don’t need social media to know what’s going on in my best friends lives right now. That’s what long calls while stuck in traffic are for.
3. Time slows down. My days have felt longer, especially my mornings! I used to feel so rushed while getting ready for work, but now that I don’t aimlessly scroll while whisking some scrambled eggs in the kitchen (it’s the only thing I can really cook. Still working on that.), I have more time in the morning to relax my mind and start the day on the right foot.
4. Productivity increases when we disconnect ourselves from habits that hinder our creativity. In my book, aimless scrolling through Instagram was a bad habit that affected my work flow from both a professional and personal standpoint. When something is hindering you from moving forward, what is the best thing that you can do? Take a break.
5. I’m learning to love myself, know my worth, and be confident in my own skin. If you’ve been reading my blog for awhile now, you know that I’ve talked in the past about my struggle with orthorexia nervosa. You can read about that here.
I wrote a 35 page research paper on this eating disorder in college, because it was so close to the heart. I don’t know why I’ve always struggled with body image since High School, but I have.
Here’s the thing: The majority of my diet is wholesome healthy foods. I don’t eat fast food, candy or drink soda, simply because I hate the taste of all of it (except a 85% dark chocolate bar. that’s some kind of heaven.) One of my favourite things to do is go on long runs. And, planks before bed is how I unwind. Yet, here I was, in the comfort of my own home, scrolling through Instagram, struggling to see myself as a healthy body. My body type is more athletic, I’ve had thighs since middle school, and have never been a size zero in my life.
Here’s what disconnecting from Instagram has reminded me of. All bodies are created different. Some are petite, some have more muscle, some are strong, some are more frail, yet all are beautiful and unique. Your body is a temple, and if you are honoring it and giving it the nutrients it needs, then the last thing you should be doing is having negative thoughts towards it. I had to get out of my own head and unplug from social media to get back my positive worth and image.
In one week, I have felt more rested and whole. I have felt more present in the lives of those around me, and I have been reminded of what truly matters. Instagram is a wonderful platform (I’m a creative and love sharing my photographs/heart with others), but I think that every once in awhile, it’s good to go through a temporary break up to work on the heart and the things that matter most.
P.S. I leave for Spain in 10 days and do plan on hopping temporarily back on Instagram to share my travel adventure with you all. So, until then, cheers!