Instagram. It’s a funny little app that can do so much good but also a bit of bad if not used in a healthy manner. For me, I love instagram as it’s been a platform on which I’ve been able to form friendships, support other incredible, creative gals and it’s been a way to flourish the growing of my blog. I love seeing what others create and I can really love finding some beautiful things to post or find it a great way to express how i’ feeling, without writing a whole blog post on it. However, sometimes (for me) it can all become a bit much. While it is so heart-warming to see your friends growing and there is style inspiration everywhere you look, for me this admiration can sometimes turn into comparison, and that’s not the healthiest thing to be doing, especially while recovering with depression and anxiety.
I’m sure you’ve heard this a trillion times and it’s so cliche, but Instagram really is just a highlight reel of people’s lives. They post that wonderful picture from their last holiday, or that one shot from forty takes of the same outfit and while this is always reminded by mental health awareness ambassadors, it’s sometimes kinda hard to not compare another’s content to your own. People sharing each other’s content is incredible, but when you’re feeling particularly under-confident, or you’re trying really hard with your content and it feels like it’s not being recognised, it can suck. For me, this ends up with me feeling demotivated and feeling like the number of likes and the amount my picture or feed is shared with others as a representation of who I am as a person and I start to limit my worthiness as a human to a number. As I’m studying English and creative writing soon (eeek!), I thought I would write a little paragraph so you get the gist of what I’m on about, and you can see why maybe I might need a little clarity from the overwhelming comparison.
“Another flick through a story where my name isn’t mentioned. I hunt every space of the screen
for some validation that I’m doing okay, that people recognise that I’m doing okay. But it’s not there.
Click, click, click. All of these successful, fashionable, beautiful creatures staring back at me, making me
wonder what I’ve done wrong and why I wasn’t good enough. I check my follower count to see if I can
gain some validation there but all it tells me is that two more people have chosen to not follow me on my
journey anymore. Was I too boring? Too honest? And suddenly I feel my confidence fading away into
the shadows of the questions that make me feel unworthy.”
So, it gets a bit tense sometimes. As someone who was talked about a lottt behind her back in school (I used to be very overweight so I received the classic ‘fat girl’ comments and others of the sort), this phobia of people not liking me has joined me in adulthood as well. I am told so often that people appreciate me yet every single thing that proves otherwise stays with me. I take things personally, and I really wish I didn’t because I know, at the end of the day, it really, truly does not matter whether I have a million, a thousand or just ten followers- my worth is not determined by a number. And yet, even though I know this, I still feel worthless when my content is doing badly or I’m not happy with my Instagram aesthetic. And it’s stupid. But it’s there, whether that’s because I’m an anxious perfectionist, I’ve always compared myself to others or because of past trauma I don’t know, but I know that I need to take little breaks every now and then, just to ground myself, take some time out and be with my friends, not my followers.
I’m currently taking a break to re-centre my priorities. I’ve had a pretty tough start to the year so far and while I’ll always remain as positive as I can, sometimes other precautions need to be in place, just to make me the happiest and healthiest I can and if that’s taking a little break for a few days, that’s what I’ll do. I’ll make sure to tell my closest girls what’s going on, just so I don’t seemingly drop off the face of the Earth, and they are always so, so supportive which helps a tonne in getting some of my spark back. I use this mini retreat time to focus on what I want to achieve with my blog and Instagram, question if i’m following people who inspire me for the right reasons and not because I envy their lifestyle, and help plan for the future of Her Sassy Self. Sometimes these breaks last a week or two, sometimes it’s just a couple of days to help give me a fresh perspective on things. I honestly couldn’t recommend taking a break when you need it enough, especially if you suffer from anxiety like me, just to make sure you’re looking after yourself and are not sweeping yourself into the comparative Instagram bubble tooo much.
In short- I take breaks to make myself feel happier, healthier and more confident with who I am as a person, rather than basing my worth on my online persona. I think it’s something I’ll always do so long as I blog/am online as the impact of breaks are so beneficial for me, yet I also have the wonderful feeling of going back to something I love when I’m ready.
Do you take breaks sometimes? How do they help you? I would love to know!
With all my love always,