If you watch my stories on Instagram you’ve already heard me talk a little about the topic of todays blog post, but for those of you that didn’t see it here’s a little background on what’s been going on lately..
Lately there has been a negative movement on Instagram that’s been shaming bloggers and influencers for their perfectly curated feeds, and putting the blame on them for people’s emotional problems. Sad stories have been circulating about the rise of depression since the social media age, cutting among young teens who feel they aren’t good enough in comparison to everyone else they see on social media, suicides, and even stories of people getting themselves into thousand dollars of debt to try to appear on social media like they’re leading a life they can’t really afford. Some people are putting the blame on bloggers & influencers, saying their perfectly curated feeds that set unrealistic standards for their followers is the cause of all of these problems.
To rewind back a little bit, I think we need to start by saying that yes we are all aware that social media can take a negative toll on mental health. It’s a world where we are constantly seeking validation in the form of likes and follows, and when you don’t get that validation you question your self worth. Beyond that, apps like Instagram make the entire world accessible to us meaning we can follow anyone and everyone around the world and see a glimpse into their lives. You have access to people who lead extraordinary lives, whether they’re actors, models, sports players, or just one of the lucky top 1% that happen to be filthy rich. You also have access to people who do this for a job. Content creators, bloggers and influencers who literally spend their entire days curating the perfect feeds as if it were their own personal portfolio/magazine, because that’s basically what it is. It’s a portfolio showcasing our work.
What it means to be a content creator on Instagram
Most bloggers and influencers work really hard on their feeds and on putting out quality content. We take our jobs (and it is just that, a JOB) very seriously. We are paid to put out content, so of course we are all going to strive to put out the best content we possibly can (who wants to pay someone to put out a shitty photo of their product?). This means shooting with DSLR cameras, learning how to edit with photoshop and lightroom, and learning how to style beautiful photos. We are always looking to develop these skills and improve in a high competitive market, and it’s a lot of hard work.
But just because we have honed our skills and are able to maintain a beautiful Instagram feed with a consistent theme and only the best pictures doesn’t make us any less real. We are all real people, with real feelings, who are just trying to be the best at what we do… isn’t that something that should be celebrated rather than scolded? Why are we shaming people for working hard, and putting hours of time and effort into something they’ve created that they love and are passionate about? I can promise you, if you spent as much time on content creation and carefully curating your feed as we do, your feed would look the same too. It is absolutely not fair to compare your own life/feed when you don’t spend time on it, to someone’s who spends hours a day carefully styling shoots, editing, and planning out content. Just like you wouldn’t look at a medically trained doctor or any other specialized job and compare yourself for not having the same skills, you shouldn’t compare yourself to someone who has put years of work into curating and perfecting their feed when you haven’t done the same. This is a job like any, and it has to be treated as such. It’s easy to sit behind a screen and pass judgment on someone, but it’s really important to know that a lot of work goes on behind the scenes that you don’t see.
Beyond the fact that this is our jobs, our blogs and feeds are our own creative spaces and often act as our own personal escapes. We post what makes us happy, what we think is pretty, it is our space, it is our art. It is absolutely never fair for someone else to come in and say that our work is not good because it is (in your opinion) too perfect or too curated. So many bloggers I know started off their blogs as a means to escape their regular life. Whether it was their job they hated, or just a feeling that something was missing. As a blogger, my blog and Instagram is a place for me to share things that make me happy, to create a world of only the things I really love. How is it fair for someone to come in and tell me that this world I created and love, that I spend all my time on building is the source of their problems? How is it fair to tell someone they should stop trying hard to style pretty pictures when that’s something they love doing, especially when they’ve managed to turn something they love into something that pays?
Being able to get paid to do what you’re passionate about is something I applaud. Talk about EMPOWERING.
So what can we do?
Taking control of your own Happiness
You have the power to choose who you follow
For some, like myself, following the kinds of people with amazing curated feeds and perfectly styled photos is a source of constant inspiration. We look at these glamorous lives, these perfectly curated feeds, and we’re inspired to work harder on our own content. It constantly fuels us to want to be better. But for others it appears that constant comparison between themselves and someone else who leads a much more “glamorous” or “perfect” life (as it appears on Instagram) causes depression and feelings of insignificance. If you are the latter then you need to take control of your own happiness and stop following these accounts that are making you feel like any less of a person. Rather than putting the blame for your own unhappiness on someone else’s personal Instagram, you have the power to unfollow them. Surround yourself with accounts that do uplift you, motivate you, and make you feel empowered.
- If you’re a curvy girl and skinny bloggers make you constantly feel insignificant and unpretty, stop following them! There are tons of curvy bloggers out there that are going to make you feel like a GIRL BOSS for be just like them.
- If you can’t afford designer clothes and it makes you feel sad when you see bloggers constantly wearing designer clothes stop following them. Not everyone can afford designer stuff in this world, and that’s ok! There are tons of bloggers out there who can’t afford that and rep the brands that are in your budget, heck there’s even bloggers out there who focus solely on talking about thrift shopping! Follow those girls and learn how to dress or what beauty products to buy for your budget! There is a blogger out there for everyone.
- If following travel bloggers makes you feel like your life sucks because you can’t afford to travel that much, stop following them. Remember, traveling is their job now and they worked hard to get there!
- If you’re a mother and you find some mommy bloggers to appear “too perfect” and are making you feel like a shit mom, stop following them. No one is telling you you have to follow them. Mommy bloggers are not there to make you feel worse about your own skills as a mother. They’re just mothers themselves trying to create beautiful content with the world and share the highlights of their life with the world.
Don’t Compare Your Chapter 1 to Someone Else’s Chapter 20
Especially when it comes to the Instagram feeds of bloggers & influencers it’s so so so incredibly important to remember that the people you are following have been doing this for years. They are content creators who have spent hours, weeks, months and even years developing their photography skills, learning how to edit, and perfecting their feed. Shouldn’t that sort of hard work and dedication be congratulated? That travel blogger who gets to go on amazing trips all the time… She’s been doing this for 8 years and she took a lot of risks to get where she is. She had to quit her job, sell all of her stuff to start off and thought that she would never make it. The blogger who used to shop fast fashion (which is why you originally followed her) but now she’s always decked out in designer gear? She worked her ass off blogging for 10 years to get to the point where she could now afford this kind of stuff. Heck, if I could afford it I would be buying Chanel too! Everyone is at a different point in their lives, and whether you’re a content creator yourself or not you need to not compare yourself to others because there’s a good chance they’ve put in the years of work that you haven’t honing that specific skill to get to where they are now. This doesn’t make them any less real, it just means they are at a different point in their journey than you are.
Heck, don’t even compare your book to someone else’s if they aren’t even the same genre!
Chances are if you’re not a blogger you aren’t going to get the same experiences, and you shouldn’t look at someone who is and compare your life to theirs and considers yours of any less value than it is. Us bloggers are here to add value and give you our honest opinions on products, restaurants, clothes, and what have you. But that doesn’t in any way mean you should be comparing yourself to us and expecting to have all of the same things and experiences. Travel bloggers get to go to all sorts of amazing destinations and write about it, if you aren’t a travel blogger for example (and aren’t rich AF) you really shouldn’t be comparing yourself to them because you aren’t going to be able to travel like that.. most people don’t. You can absolutely be inspired by their travels, but don’t ever look at what they do and consider your life any less meaningful. This is their JOB. It’s also important to remember that Instagram is a highlights reel, so not only is it these peoples jobs (so they’re going to post better content to begin with) but they’re going to post the best moments only.
Comparison is the thief of joy. If you find yourself not being able to stop comparing yourself to certain people, it’s time to unfollow them rather than shaming them for the life they chose to lead, or the content they choose to create. Take control of your own happiness.
What We Need To Do As A Society
Rather than putting the blame on bloggers & influencers, criticizing them for their art, the photos they choose to share or the life they choose to lead… we need to look at the deeper issue. As a society, rather than putting the blame on people who literally make a living creating beautiful content, we need to focus on educating our youth. We need to teach self love. This issue isn’t a new issue, the blame might be on the curated Instagram feed now, but when I was young it was on magazines. Pointing fingers doesn’t solve the problem, we need to get to the bottom of it and work on educating, teaching self love, and building the skills and confidence needed to battle these types of growing insecurities. We need to teach that these are jobs, and that young girls (and guys) need to not compare themselves to the lives they see on Instagram. But most importantly, we need to focus on teaching people how to love themselves.. because when you really love yourself, you won’t be sitting on Instagram scrolling all day every day and feeling horrible about your life.
We are all in control of our own HAPPINESS. Don’t put the blame on someone else’s hard work as the source of your problem.
If you find yourself constantly comparing yourself with someone, feeling more and more insecure about your own life and value, don’t blame them for your problems… just unfollow them. There is content out there for everyone.