Instagram has become this platform where we feel like we need to share every single amazing thing that we are doing.

We have our editing process down to the tee with thousands of apps and filter options, but let me just say that you cannot put a filter on your life. I cannot tell you how many times I have heard someone tell me, “Your Instagram feed is SO perfect,” or, “You do a ton of cool things, I wish my life was like yours.” Half the time I just want to tell them the truth, but I usually end up thanking them and going on with my life.

The truth is: I just had a mental breakdown and was scribbling my thoughts away before I posted that I-am-so-happy-drinking-this-coffee photo thirty minutes ago. You remember that photo shoot I had to celebrate one million Odyssey page views last month? I almost considered not even doing it because my mom left the country to take care of my sick grandmother that very same day and I felt guilty.

You’re probably wondering why I didn’t just tell the truth with my photos then, right?

I honestly wish that I could, but I know for a fact that nobody wants to see a picture of me crying. We only post the positive things that are going on in our lives because we want others to see us this way. We don’t want other people to know that we are worrying about what some guy thinks of us when we’re posting a photo from our best friend’s birthday dinner.

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You’re also probably thinking, “Well, Emina, if you don’t care so much, then why are you still putting effort into your photos?” The reason I keep up with my Instagram is because I know that my followers are inspired by the content that I post. If I can make someone’s day by uploading a photo with an uplifting caption, then you sure as hell bet I well. That’s just the kind of person that I am, but I know some people will think that I’m just “showing off.”

I mean, aren't we all? We show off our boyfriends and glorify our relationships through Instagram captions, right?

We show off our friends because we don’t want people to think that we are complete loners. We show off our pets to show that we are caring and lovable individuals. I don’t think this will ever stop because it’s just in our human nature, but just know that there is a story behind every picture. You may never even find out what that story was, all you’ll see is a picture of a cute girl holding up a margarita, double tap and move on with your life.

I know this because within the past year, I have met so many people from Instagram for the first time, in person. What seemed like this flawless person turns out to be someone who is still pretty amazing, but she is still a real person, no matter how her pictures look. When that thought hits you, you are kind of surprised and dumbfounded for even thinking that this person was going to be flawless, exactly like their pictures. This sole thought makes me wonder what people really think of me if they are just scrolling through my Instagram feed. It’s kind of a scary thought, isn’t it?

My Instagram feed does NOT define me, and neither should yours because if we try and make our lives look perfect in little squares, then we’ll forget that life isn’t about living inside the box, it’s about stepping outside of it.

I encourage you to step outside of your Instagram bubble and make authentic connections in person because the photo will always be there, the person won’t.