My love/hate relationship with Instagram
Updated: May 11
As a social media professional, it’s my job to scour socials to see what’s trending and what’s new. When I first joined Instagram back in 2014, influencers had not become a thing yet. People posted selfies they took with the actual camera function Instagram gives you. INSANE, right. When influencers first came onto the Instagram scene, I thought it was a good idea to follow as many as possible to keep up with trends, learn new things and get inspired. However, this led me down a dark path of self-hatred and loneliness.
See, the accounts I followed showed me very thin girls with amazing skin, beautiful hair, a closet with nothing that had been worn twice and a life SO amazing that my own seemed quite insignificant compared to them. Insta had made me feel “insta-insignificant”. Following these accounts only sparked a vicious obsession in me that resulted in following more and more diet/workout accounts. Every day, I would see people’s progress pictures, different healthy foods that cost a gagillion dollars, huge and fit booties, tiny arms with no extra skin hanging down and absolutely NO tummy rolls.
It only furthered the hatred I willingly subjected my body to. These accounts were not “motivational” or “inspiring”. They were images of all the things I was not. So my brain wasn’t wired to think positively about them. It was wired to feel like I wasn’t good enough, skinny enough, rich enough or successful enough.
Shamefully, I have to admit, as a result of following these accounts, I would edit my own body in pictures to make myself skinnier, my teeth whiter, my skin acne-free and my face thinner. I am NOT proud of these things but admitting is the first step to recovery, right?
One day after having enough of feeling awful about myself, I made the decision to unfollow every account that made me feel inadequate. All those diet accounts, influencer accounts, fashion accounts and workout accounts. One by one, I am not kidding, I began to feel a little bit better with each click of that unfollow button.
Now you may be thinking…
“Adriana, they are just trying to help others. Adriana, they are women who feel great in their own skin and want to share it.” “Adriana, they are real women too.”
You’re right about ALL those things. You really are. The thing is, while I can appreciate who these influencers are and all the hard work it takes to have an amazing body, awesome clothes and an Instagrammable life...their content simply wasn’t serving me in a positive way. And that is OKAY. My own self love is worth way more to me than being “in the know” “learning new things” and “feeling inspired” by others successful (or seemingly successful) lives.
After this day, I slowly began to start loving myself again by following accounts that PROMOTED self-love exactly the way you are. These accounts debunked ALL of the poison that not only toxic influencers will feed you, but what commercial brands will feed you too. They showed step by step how an Instagram photo can EASILY be altered with just a few touches and swipes. On Instagram, the way you pose, what clothes you are wearing, what photo edits you use are all a part of the recipe for a “perfect” instagram pic. But perfection is NOT REAL. You might think a model on Instagram actually looks like that, but you would be very mistaken. Chances are it has been altered, photoshopped or edited in some way. These empowering and factual Insta accounts taught me to not believe everything you see on the ‘gram.
I keep using the word “accounts” and I shouldn’t because the REAL WOMEN behind the pictures and information are the real angels that helped me to love my body and myself again. They preached self-love starts by loving who you are in the NOW and exactly as you are. I take some credit, of course, because NO, I do not rely on Instagram anymore to give me the tools for self-love. But you know the saying you are a summation of the five people you spend most of your time with? Whether that statement is credible or not, I do believe part of your world view is a direct result from the content you subscribe to.
The result of me following these inspiring women was just that. I was inspired to show love towards my body, instead of hate. This, in turn, created a spark in me to treat it better by eating healthier. Seeing images of everything I wasn’t only brought negativity. Actually loving myself and my body sparked the necessary positivity to take action.
Social media has guided a lot in my life because social media and I have grown up together. I remember the times before iPhones, Facebook, Instagram or Twitter (and now TikTok *slaps forehead*). It has now become an integral part of my career. This is both a blessing and a curse because at times, it is hard to find the line between using social media as a tool and using social media to show parts of your life. It’s a challenge I go through constantly, I’ll admit.
But for now, I am happy and I have learned to love my body because of everything my body does for me. It helps me to travel, adventure and experience new things in life. It inspires me to treat it well. This was the “new” and “inspiration” I was looking for all along. When you get into a cycle of appreciating yourself and your body, you start to realize things. It’s okay to have off days, it’s okay to eat carbs and it’s okay to eat two cookies instead of one if you really want it. But also make sure you’re giving your body the good stuff it needs to serve you best. Greens, fish, veggies, fruits. Give your body some good and it will give good back to you.
I’ll say it again for the people in the back. The type of content you subscribe to directly relates to the way you view the world. Crazy to be typing that sentence out, but if you have social media, chances are this rings true for you.
Here are two of the amazing women I follow who have helped me to love myself again through their own self-love. Both are great examples of content that empowers you by showing reality compared to “fake perfection” everyone so desperately seeks. Sara Nicole Landry from @thebirdspapaya (shoutout to my bff Menley for showing her account to me) and Dana Mercer @danamercer. Both of these women post real and challenging content to inspire self-love within you. There are a TON more, but these two are directly responsible for my growth.
So here we are at the end of this blog post. Thanks for reading this far. I want to sign things off with cheers to happiness, self love and using Instagram as a fun tool rather than finding worth in pictures and “fake perfection”.
All the love,