what i learned from instagram, part 3 of 3

parts 1 and 2 are below

you know that expression, “it’s not all about you,” implying we should get over ourselves and stop assuming we’re the center of the universe?  of course you do.  i contend it is all about you, just not how you think

instead of a constant ego trip, every experience is a chance to further understand ourselves.  it’s all about you because it’s all a reflection of you.  if you’re open to seeing what events demonstrate about you, each one becomes an opportunity for growth.  after shifting to this mindset, life becomes a bonanza.  rather than feeling wounded by external forces beyond your control, you get this “sock it to me, life!” attitude because you’re curious about what you’ll learn. 

for example, i couldn’t deal with instagram because i placed too much value in other peoples' opinions.  when they didn’t give me the gratification i needed i felt unworthy.  it is so disgusting, so embarrassing, to write those words.  but it’s true.   i outsourced my self-worth to strangers.  and the next step is figuring out why.

arguably, i could’ve stuck with instagram and decided not to care about photo likes one way or the other.  but in the end it wasn’t worth it to me.  i got the lesson and besides, the less time i spend looking at my phone the better my life is. 

i recommend using this portion of the poem ‘After the Gentle Poet Kobayashi Issa’ by Robert Hass as a simple reminder to return to empowered thinking:

From now on,   

It’s all clear profit,   

   every sky.

what i learned from instagram, part 2 of 3

part 1 is below. 

to recap, i quit instagram because i couldn’t and wouldn’t compete.  it was a drain on my energy, like cotton candy for the ego-an intense but short-lived high. 

all social media provides arenas for latching onto outside markers to understand ourselves.  that’s human and normal, but there’s a limit, and instagram is more intimate and personal than, say, linkedin. 

i felt judged or ignored when people wouldn’t like my posts.  what the hell could anyone be doing besides liking my photos???  

additionally, and this is embarassing to admit, i was jealous.  despite my intense introversion i might love to be as popular as some instagrammers appear.  all that intermingling of adventures, daring yet still reasonable outfits, and good-looking stuff drew me in.  but jealousy is insidious, eventually locking us out from our desires.  it’s effectively saying, “there isn’t enough for me,”  when the truth is precisely the opposite.  plus, outsourcing our self-worth weakens us because we already have everything we need and the capacity to achieve anything else.

i had two gross emotions—jealousy (i want that therefore i dislike them) and seeking approval (but i need them to like me)—working at cross purposes and forming a toxic loop.

tomorrow’s conclusion day, where i finally figured it out.

 

what i learned from instagram, part 1 of 3

NB: plenty of people love instagram and they’re entitled to that love.  i’m not leveling any accusations or judging them.  this is just about me and my experience, so, onward i go. 

if instagram filters were honestly named, we’d have:

#flawlessskin

#allmyactivitiesarebathedingoldenlight

#thinnerthanyou

#myhomeisnaturallyclean

#ihaveamillionfriends

#coolerclothes

#thesunsetslikethisforme

#mykidsarealwayscute

#evenmycreamofwheatlooksdelicious

#contemplatingnegativespaceisdeep

#whatithinkilooklike

i briefly had an instagram account.  the experience was miserable and overwhelming.  i’m not a great photographer and don’t like drawing attention to myself in public, especially for standing to photograph my tacos from above. 

every second with instagram felt like an opportunity to give meaning to a mundane activity by slapping a filter over it.  much of the time i either felt like, “should i be photographing this?” or “oh no.  i need to photograph something for instagram.”  i was pulled out of the moment, looking at present events like they were already over. 

but the discomfort didn’t even end there.  once something was posted i awaited likes and comments from complete/partial strangers or complete/partial friends.  this portion was the worst kind of popularity contest because it was endless. sometimes i’d catch myself thinking, “what am i waiting for?  someone i’ve never met to like a shitty photo that makes my life look infinitely amazing?”  don’t get me wrong, my life is infinitely amazing, and that’s exactly why i shouldn’t require the photos or outside approval to prove it. 

check back tomorrow for part 2.