I entered 2017 with two big mantras: 1) “Live less out of habit, and more out of intentionality;” and 2) “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Both of these mantras stemmed out of eureka moments last year, and are still mantras that I’m trying to uphold everyday.
The latter has proven to be nearly impossible to remember in moments where I’m being flooded with self-doubt and being extra self-critical. I hate that these moments can be so easily triggered by the simple act of scrolling through my Instagram feed. I hate the fact that I allow my confidence and feelings of self-worth to be priced so cheaply with likes and followers of strangers (or bots). In recent months, I’ve also come to hate that I’m constantly overcome with a wave of envy and bitterness towards other creatives. Why does she get to work with that brand and I don’t? Why didn’t that brand want to work with me? Am I just not as good as her? Why does she have so many followers and I don’t? Why did THAT photo get so many likes when mine is clearly so much better? If a good photo is posted on Instagram, and no one is there to like it–is it still a good photo?
I easily and constantly fluctuate among the extremes of feeling misunderstood and underappreciated; feeling apathetic towards social media and humanity in general; and feeling relieved and happy when I do get the approval I seem to crave and need. Brandon has become immune to these fluctuations and now simply refuses to engage in these conversations with me about Instagram. He has confidence in our talents, and has just chucked our struggles to the nonsensical Instagram algorithm and others’ apathy for social media. I, however, clearly cannot move past it. And I don’t know why.
I’m still asking him to wait to drink his coffee while I capture yet another coffee photo. I’m still asking him to take my #ootd photos, despite his mutterings of “What’s the point?” I’m still desperately spraying photos on Instagram, and praying that it’ll hit people at the right time and they’ll feel inclined to like and/or follow. I’m still desperately trying to “beat” Instagram as if it were a game where if I just post the right photos–wearing the right outfit, taken at the right angle, and at the prettiest location–at the most optimal time, I will win. Win what? I’m not sure. However, if insanity is “doing the same things over and over again and expecting different results,” I must be either insane or stupid. Or both. I’m insanely stupid. I don’t know why I’m posting or what I’m hoping to achieve. I just that I need to keep posting or I’ll lose.
While I don’t think this status of being a slave to social media will be one that I emancipate from soon (I am working on it though!), I do want to add another mantra to my compass: “A candle loses nothing by lighting another.” Or as Brandon likes to say, “A rising tide lifts all boats.” Rather than competing against others, I want to collaborate and work with other creatives. I want us to be cheerleaders for each other and celebrate each others’ successes rather than dwell in comparisons. As creatives, together, we can. Together, we can “beat Instagram” by focusing on capturing the world’s beauty and sharing life’s beautiful moments as a community, and letting the competition of statistics go.