I woke up in a bad mood the other day because the weather had lost its mind. It was -4 and raining. These types of mornings can ruin any kind of momentum you have for a day. I hate that my mood is beholden to the weather so I tried my best to lean into the feelings of doom and gloom and came out with a little video.
I still have Twitter. I still use Twitter. I can’t stop using Twitter. It’s one of the cruelest places you can exist on the internet. It’s a place where everyone is trying to be funny and no one is above punching up down or sideways. If you have an opinion there is some there to tell you it is wrong.
I am luckily not funny enough to have a large following and not controversial enough to be trolled daily (have been trolled before, feels bad)
The trouble I run into on Twitter are the innocuous ‘I have some news’ tweets. The ones where people humblebrag about their good news. Although intentions aren’t nefarious and these people should be sharing their amazing news, one can’t help but feel alienated by a stranger’s success. I read a tweet the other day that said ‘Baby’s first magazine cover!’ and thought to myself ‘Damn, I haven’t reached that milestone yet.” Like what? As if that is a totally normal milestone most people achieve?
I quit Instagram for many reasons- it made me shop, it made me stare at photoshopped images of perfect women, it made me feel like my life just wasn’t worthy enough. This is a trend.
“If Facebook demonstrates that everyone is boring and Twitter proves that everyone is awful, Instagram makes you worry that everyone is perfect — except you.” – Alex Hern, The Guardian
Self comparison is bad for a lot of reasons- it doesn’t actually help you achieve more, it ruins your sense of self and you’re usually using inaccurate information (edited selfies, celebratory tweets that don’t mention the 10 years of failure prior)
It’s hard to feel motivated in a Pandemic and it’s even harder to feel satisfied. Other people’s lives seem so together. Other people seem to be handling things properly.
I have found that self comparison stops tenfold when I’m away from social media. When I spend time with people I am not on my phone. I stay away from Twitter and the time away is a welcome reprieve. The smartest people I know do not use that site. When you aren’t inundated with what everyone else is doing, it’s incredible how fast your own self esteem starts to heal. When you look at your life it doesn’t seem quite so inadequate.
Is it weak to admit that you’re vulnerable to these little deaths by comparison? Maybe yes. But maybe there is some strength in knowing what you need to fix and setting to work to fix it. Social media isn’t going anywhere. People have whole careers on these platforms. You can either take part and feel bad or disassociate and step back. I am always for healthy social media breaks and for testing my own mettle to see what I am capable of. What little challenges I can overcome and I often surprise myself.
I’ve never read an article or watched a video where a person takes a social media break and doesn’t feel better at the end of it. Have you?
We aren’t supposed to be privy to this many people’s thoughts and opinions. We aren’t supposed to be this influenced by this many strangers.
So I invite you to take a break. I am going to be. I use Twitter every single day and it’s the first thing I do when I wake up. This cannot be healthy. I am going to take a break from Twitter and from being influenced by other people.
Shifting the focus back to you and your life.
Here are the things I’ll be doing instead.
When I’m sad I workout about it. It takes time and energy and you only leave it feeling good.
Reading News Not on The App
I caved and got a subscription to the New York Times. I read once that the NYT has a higher reading level than most other print journalism so maybe this will make me smarter too?
Hikes in The Woods
In Toronto the weather is getting warmer and a podcast on my hike in the woods is one of the best feelings. Have you listened to Con Queen? It’s on spotify. Absolutely fascinating stuff.
Getting a Job
LOL the time has come to get some little email job to occupy my brain and hands with so I don’t just think and consume social media all day.
I just watched Jackie Brown for the first time the other day and wow. It feels shameful to have lived 33 years without seeing it.
If I spent as much time stretching as I do reading tweets about Donald Trump I would be a bendy beautiful goddess. Stretching feels good.
Learning about Money
I am a GIRLBOSS who is in Ketosis and DEBT. Time to get my act together. Time to understand what in god’s name a mutual fund is.
This is the number one best way to feel good about life. To get off that damn phone and remember why you’re alive. Hangout with the friends who see you for you and love you for it. Listen to their jokes and their accomplishments and feel yourself feel happy for them. It helps.
Are you warm right now? Have you had any coffee? Try to remember how insanely lucky you are for the life you do have even if you don’t have a massive Kim Kardashian dump truck ass.
Life is hard enough, let us take a break from the things that make it even worse.
What are some of your tips for dealing with social comparison? Let me know below.
Instagram recently announced that they would be making what is basically a child friendly version of the app (because they haven’t yet cornered the 13 and under market). In light of their Facebook headed demon-ry I thought I’d compile a little list of great things that happened since I’ve left the app. If you’re thinking of quitting (or for some god forsaken reason letting your child have an account) let these lessons be your guide. Great things happen when you log off.
1. I’m Not As Lonely As I Thought
Spending time on the app scrolling through people’s lives often made me unsatisfied with my own. It made me feel lonely because though you’re engaging with people’s content, you’re not actually connecting with it.
“Studies suggest that using Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and similar social media apps to keep in touch with friends and forge off-line connections can add vitality and communion to your life. But if you are spending hours every day using social media mainly as a substitute for real connection, your feelings of loneliness and inadequacy will likely worsen.” (psych.com/net)
Now that I don’t use the app,, I am more comfortable with my little life. I see people from time to time and make the most of it when I’m with them to tide me over until I’m social again. I am lonely but not the same way.
2. My Self Esteem is Better
I’m not constantly inundated with images of influencers, models, products telling me that I am a small and horrific ogre. I’m not constantly seeing clothes that I absolutely do not need or photoshopped imagery that signals I am not enough. I’m fine.
3. The Feeling Like I Don’t Exist Unless I’m Perceived is Gone
Do you ever feel like you don’t exist unless someone sees you? Like what’s the point of doing certain things unless you can share them and other people can see you doing them? I’m ashamed to admit that I felt this way. I used to do things and be excited to share them as if it made me a person worth knowing. But the truth is, I am still that person, I still do cool things, I just don’t exploit them for likes.
4. Validation Seeking Has Lessened
I’m ok, I don’t need a random guy I used to work with simping all over my selfie to feel that way. I don’t need others to tell me I’m good. I don’t need others unsolicited opinions (positive or negative) to feel like I am worthy or succeeding. My self esteem isn’t predicated on likes or men in my DMs saying I have pretty eyes.
5. I Am Out Of Contact
The sweet delicious joy of being out of reach. It’s harder to contact me now and the people who want to do so in a meaningful way. Everyone has an expectation that people are readily available to answer texts or DMs and It’s become a boundary for me. My phone is not in my hand when I’m with people. I am not available 24 hours a day. I am an antiquated fossil human reading books and making charcuterie boards and I will respond to you via phone-call or text when my fossil things are done.
6. I Don’t Practice Escapism With The App Anymore
I don’t look at other people’s lives and wish that I were doing what they were doing. Traveling where they were traveling and living where they are living. I confront my own life now and mindfully live in it, when it’s good and when it’s bad.
7. I Don’t Take Selfies Anymore
I’m still wildly self indulgent (clearly, I write a blog about myself) but in a different way. I used to take selfies as if they were proof of my beauty and not just contrived images taken deliberately on a day where I’m actually wearing makeup. What’s the point of having 10k photos of yourself? It’s nice to feel nice but it’s not nice to live in a world where the only focus is you.
8. My Apartment Is Much Cleaner
There were times when my usage on Instagram would show 2.5-3 hours. 3 Hours! What the hell was I doing on that app for 3 hours. I have more time to do other things, like clean.
I wish I could say that I am one of those people who keeps her place spotless but I have to be honest here. I am not. Im tidy, Im minimal, I don’t have clutter but I do have dust. Or I did. With the free mental time and space i have from Instagram, my place is cleaner than ever.
9. I Can Find Inspiration Elsewhere
Like People, Youtube, Pintrest, VSCO, Nero, Spotify, Tumblr, Books, Online Art Galleries, Biographies, Films, Tv, the list goes on.
10. I am Content
I am content with not being content. Get it? My life doesn’t have to look beautiful. It is beautiful and I’m grateful and happy to be living it even if it isn’t aesthetically displayed on Instagram.
Instagram is essentially people watching. It’s people watching and window shopping and you can do both of those things for real outside in the ~world~
I know there are good aspects to the app, like staying in touch with people and keeping up with their lives and if you use the app this way, I bow down to you. You are a healthy person, but this post is not for you. If you’re like me and prone to do all of the other toxic shit then I recommend you hightail it out of there. If you’re struggling with self esteem, productivity, imposter syndrome, pure unadulterated envy, romantic jealousy, overspending and discontent in your personal relationships, QUIT NOW. Quit yesterday.
I still have urges to look at clothes and feel little twinges of fomo but the pros at this point so far outweigh the cons that I truthfully do not see myself going back.
I hope these lessons help you if you are struggling with deleting it or using it less.
If you’re struggling, reach out. I’m more than happy to talk you through it.