Social media and I haven’t always been friends. It’s a love hate relationship that I just can’t seem to figure out.
It’s something that has eaten up hours of my time, at times to my own detriment.
I remember fighting my mum on having a Facebook account when I was in my early days of high school, and going behind her back to do it. Now days, it’s Instagram that I find myself using the most, with the ability to scroll for hours on end. It’s an endless vortex of content.
I use it for all sorts of inspiration, to find new brands, and read about things going on in the world, and usually I actively see the good in it. Social media has got so much potential for positivity. It can reach people you couldn’t otherwise, and forge friendships that wouldn’t be possible. But it can also be a problematic part of my daily routine.
Up until recently I had been following over 2,000 Instagram accounts.
That’s a lot of people I don’t know, lots of Instagram girls on holiday in the Maldives, and lots of beauty You Tubers I don’t particularly care for.
But it’s not sustainable. It makes looking on social media a chore; it was taking up too much time. I’d find myself obsessively looking through all these random photos of people I didn’t know, every single morning. There was too much room for comparison and until I started talking about it with people recently; I didn’t really conceptualize its negative effects.
My mind wandered to gross places where I long to be the “other.” Wishing that I looked more like her, or did more fun things like them. When it looked like my friends were all having a night out but I was just happily watching tv at home, I’d feel extra lonely. Other times I would catch myself shamefully spending far too much time deciding what a ‘cool’ thing to post would be.
Tidying aficionado Marie Kondo has been trying to make the world a more joyful place, tidying one house at a time. Her technique is to keep only the clothes, cutlery, photos, and books that “spark joy” – and throw out the rest. It resonated with me, so I decided to do the same for my Instagram. I tidied my follows. I cut back on the sheer amount of people I was following, and made myself a rule that whenever I’d see content that makes me feel bleh or bad or ugly or bored I’d just unfollow. I want to start keeping accounts that spark joy.
I actually like social media, and I not so secretly love using Instagram. It’s my little mood board, a carefully curated scrapbook of moments in my life that I want to look back on fondly.
But I also want more time to dance in the mirror, and less time to wonder about if my nose looks too big, or if you can see my pimples – and more time to think about things that matter. I’m making room for warm, kind and confident thoughts about myself, and less about how I measure up to enigma of the “others”. I feel more beautiful now.Return to issues