That’s right, you read it correctly. For Lent season, I gave the most infamous and popular social media app up. For those of you who are not Roman Catholic, Lent is a religious period of reflection and prayer in honor of Jesus' journey to his ministry and death. It starts on Ash Wednesday (when Jesus began his journey in the desert), to right before Easter (when Jesus was resurrected). Whether one fully believes in it or not, it is a tradition to give up a guilty pleasure in remembrance of Him.
Instagram’s popularity has grown tremendously through the years. I remember when I was in middle school, posting random, non-aesthetically pleasing pictures for my own enjoyment, and receiving only one like. Today, that is considered taboo and you might as well quit the app.
Instagram has grown into a battle for many. It is all about the numbers now. If you don’t have more than a thousand followers, you are viewed as an outsider in society. If you do not get more than a 100 likes on a photo, than you must be “weird.”
People post pictures now not because they personally like them, but rather because they hope the public will. In order to grow a following or fame on the app, you have to rack up in numbers. Therefore, you post pictures to impress your audience and attract more followers, not to make yourself happy.
This unhealthy new lifestyle has taken a toll on many, including myself. I found myself growing paranoid and obsessing over getting at least 300 likes per post. If I didn’t (which happened often), I started to blame myself for it. I would start pinpointing all the negatives about myself such as “I am not pretty enough,” or “These other people have a much more unattainable, perfect life compared to me, and I should just stop posting.” My confidence was tarnished.
Lent season approached and I had no idea what to give up for my Lord. So, I decided to take the initiative to give up thinking negatively about myself and to improve my self-esteem. After all, Lent is all about forgiveness for our sins and for being the best humans we can be. As a solution, I decided to take a break from Instagram.
Instead of waking up and scrolling through the app as my first priority of my daily routine, I would wait until after dinner. Posting every two days? More like I posted once every three weeks, or even more (with the exception of Spring Break because you know...Spring Break). Sometimes I would even delete the app from my phone so I wouldn’t fall into temptation. The whole purpose of this was to give my mind a break from the app. I didn’t want to frown at other popular posts and start beating myself up because I didn’t look like them or live their life. Comparison is the deadliest poison to one’s confidence.
How am I feeling you might ask? I do not regret my decision. I have noticed that I feel happier and more carefree now, not caring about updating my feed with pointless pictures just to gain likes. I actually fully indulge myself in my surroundings now, instead of behind my phone’s camera lens.
Most importantly, my confidence has improved. I no longer wish to be someone else or think poorly of myself. NO ONE is perfect. EVERYONE is unique and beautiful in their own exotic way. Yes, someone out there may be prettier and skinnier than you, but that does not mean you are ugly. The only thing I regret is that Lent season had to roll around in order for me to begin transforming my self-confidence.