February’s here, which means my month-long Instagram sabbatical has ended and my February challenge — journaling every single day — has commenced. Whew! Breaking old, toxic habits to form new, healthier ones is a process. But the growth and peace of mind that comes from it makes it so worthwhile.
Taking a break from Instagram was necessary and long overdue for me. If I’m being totally honest with myself, I probably should stay off for a few more months. Maybe even the rest of the year (I’ll consider this for 2019. Baby steps. Lol).
But seriously, this break was good for me. I needed this. There were too many times where I would be in the middle of doing something important and instinctively pick up my phone, hop on IG and fall into a rabbit hole of clicks and scrolls, comparisons and distractions. It magnified a lot of insecurities and weaker areas in my life, some of which I’d been internalizing since childhood, so I just felt like it was time for me to take a step back, assess and reassess.
Being off IG for the past month helped me realize a few things:
1. Every picture ain’t the whole picture.
What people post on social media is just a small fraction of a more complex reality. A picture may say a thousand words, but there’s always a story with more context behind those words. Anyone can post a dope pic, but what’s the motive behind it? To reveal some element of our truth, or filter it? (pun intended)
2. Quantity doesn’t measure your Quality.
A Facebook friend of mine posted a very humbling status that had me rolling as soon as I read it because it was so hilariously true:
Imagine if Instagram and the rest of social media were obsolete. BOOM! You not famous no more.
Or if beards weren’t allowed at work. BOOM! You ugly again.
That last part had me cackling.
But seriously, what would happen if we woke up one day and discovered social media completely vanished? The likes, followers, subscribers — gone. Who are we without all the noise distracting us? How are we measuring our quality of life and value of self? By how many likes/followers we have, or how much of our true selves and God-given abilities we’re actually contributing to the betterment of this world?
3. Comparing yourself diminishes your Self.
One of my favorite scriptures, Romans 12:4-5, reads:
Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body and we all belong to each other.
Regardless of your faith or beliefs, this scripture holds universal truth. We each were created with a divine ability to fulfill a greater purpose here on this Earth. The beautiful part about this is that our unique gifts and abilities are meant to complement the unique gifts and abilities of others — not compare.
Our highest form of Self is the person we were created to be. So when we compare ourselves with others, we are diminishing our highest selves. We are ultimately rejecting who we are and placing value on someone else’s purpose over our own.
Most of the people we compare ourselves to may have similar talents and interests, but they don’t have the same purpose. Think of your feet. You have a right foot and a left foot with almost identical looks and functionalities, but they work together for the greater purpose of helping you stand, walk and run. We must look at ourselves in the same manner. Each of us are an organ that is part of a larger body. If one of our organs rejected its own function to do something else, we’d die.
The same thing happens when we waste our time making comparisons. By rejecting ourselves to try and be something we’re not, we are depriving ourselves and disabling the world of a divine, full-functioning body.
Grateful for clarity and renewed thinking.
Read more about my 2018 Best Self challenges here.