So I’ve been very absent in my writing on this thing. I could go into a lot of detail as to why I stopped but mostly what it came down to was, I was hurting others. I was hurting some people by what I was sharing and so after a lot of thought, I decided that it was probably not worth it to keep broadcasting a lot of my own personal dilemmas to the world.
But as of late, my heart has been very heavy. Not necessarily for myself, but for a lot of the people that I rub shoulders with and value how they feel.
Social media, ok mostly Instagram, has recently turned into this intense place of high emotion and conflict. It’s totally blown my mind, but I mostly wanted to write this whole thing to my STAY AT HOME UTAH MOMS. I’m writing this for you, because I have context for what you see and feel, I totally get where this great debate came from and I simply wanted to share some of the insights I’ve had on it. If you don’t live in Utah, if you’re not a stay at home mom, this may not be super relatable so just consider what category you fit in as I proceed.
In Utah, we have this really crazy unhealthy culture of needing to stand out above the rest, being truly unique and original, and perfectionism. Our state is #1 for plastic surgery, antidepressant use, and would ya believe it suicide. My heart aches whenever this topic comes up because all I hear is “WE ARE NOT HAPPY WITH OURSELVES!” It’s never enough, never enough money, never enough house, never enough clothes, never enough awesome body. And unfortunately, Instagram has not helped a whole lot on that front. It’s consistently in our faces of who’s winning the game, it’s literally become a popularity contest that we all participate in to some degree, and the effects can sometimes be damaging.
Now I’ve heard what the general response from bloggers and influencers is, “It’s your problem. You feel that way, well that’s on you.” Sure, I can get that, we definitely are ALL responsible for our own feelings and we do have the power to jump off the site, to unfollow whoever makes us feel less than, yes you are so right. However, convincing people to get off Instagram is like trying to convince a chain addict to simply stop smoking. The problem is that honestly, I think most stay at home moms, are addicted to these types of sites. When bloggers respond “well, that’s just your problem” it seriously reminds me of tobacco companies’ responses when it first started coming out that smoking was actually really unhealthy for you. Critics always argue “Well, no one forced them to take that cigarette. No one ever forced them to smoke.” And they are right, well played. But when you use any sort of advantage over natural human weakness, I can’t quite stand by that. Are we going to find out in 5-10 years after all the scientifically proved research is put together, that social media is a direct cause to depression, anxiety, and can lead to suicide? Are we all later on down the road going to scoff, like how we sometimes do with tobacco, and say things like How could we have ever thought that was a good idea??
If a personal friend came to you and said, “Hey I’ve been totally struggling with this social media thing. I feel like I’m always failing, or I don’t love my kids enough, or my husband doesn’t spoil me enough…” Would your response be.. “Well that’s just your problem.” NO, I know 100% that no one would treat a close friend that way. You’d listen, you’d try to validate and understand them, and then you’d suggest something to help.
I know that most bloggers have only the best of intentions. I totally see that they want to spread light and positivity in quite a dark and all consuming world. I love that, I appreciate that. I just believe that sometimes it’s also helpful to see the things we are working on. It’s good to see that you aren’t quite so alone, in a very lonely social media world, being led to wonder… why isn’t my life like that? Why can’t we always afford Nordstroms? Man, how come I have two kids and my body doesn’t look anything like that? I think as women, those thoughts come on so naturally, sometimes we don’t even realize we are doing it!!
A year ago, I took two months off of all social media. I had Damon change all my passwords, because I WAS SERIOUSLY ADDICTED, and I stayed off until I felt like I was in a good enough place mentally/emotionally to be engaged in it again. I can’t speak enough of how good of an experience that was for me.
1: I felt like I had more time. More time to spend with my family, more time to actually work on hobbies I’d always wanted to do, and just more time to not feel a constant pressure of having to perform.
2: I got back in touch with myself. Instead of feeling like I needed the constant flow of cute new clothes, whatever planner so-and-so was using, or getting the high end make up that everybody swears by, I felt freedom. I felt like I didn’t need to buy as much, and I also felt like I could buy things simply because, I-ME-MACALL, liked them.
and 3: I started feeling confident again. This is a whole thing that I stand by, growing up there was no instagram, and I can not even express to you how crazy confident I was in myself. I never doubted my worth, never wished I looked like somebody else, I just simply was me and that was enough. I really feel like social media can mess with your own view of your worth and confidence, if you let it. And as a young teenager, woof! That would be so tricky to manage and cope with! There’s literally a number at the top of everyone’s instagram. A number that makes it SO easy to start determining someone’s worth or popularity. Isn’t that sad? And even going more so on this path, we’ve gotten to the point that if we don’t feel like we’re popular or liked enough we can pay companies to bump that number up for us. I find this super interesting, The Alison Show on instagram has over 100k followers. I mean, she’s hilarious, and crazy, and has followers coming out of everything she touches. And yet, I remember one day hearing her say “I’ve been comparing myself to others lately. I see other platforms and people with more followers and I started doubting myself.” If Alison, with her hundreds of thousands of fans and followers, still didn’t feel like it’s enough, will any of us ever feel that way? Will we ever fully be satisfied by the pull of instagram and the validation it attempts to give?
I want to say probably not.
If you are a stay at home mom, living a normal regular life, without any sort of incredible closet, without your makeup perfectly put on daily, without an incredible body to flaunt, without loads of companies sending you free packages, I totally see you. I see how your heart aches to want to be well accepted and liked. I see that you completely are doing the best that YOU can with what you have, and for me, that’s so more than enough. You’re fighting the good fight, you are every bit as incredible in my eyes.
We really need each other during our down times. I don’t blame any group more than the other. Bloggers just be a little softer in your approach, and us normal people, we really can do better in taking breaks and finding the courage to unfollow people. If anything, I blame Instagram, for setting up a site that is programmed to be highly addictive, and making it almost feel like you’re never going to win.