I know you have probably been told a thousand times by the time you turn twenty, that whatever you do you should do to make you happy, not to please other people. I was taught that living should be focused on myself and not what others think of me. This lasted until I got my first little iPhone and downloaded the app Instagram I sixth grade. From then on it seems that everything that I did, posted, tagged, liked and so on was judged from others behind their screens. My source of validation was not spilling out of my soul but by the number of likes and comments that each of my pictures got.

From the tender age of 12, I was already exposing myself to the crave of the stranger's validation and opinion on my appearance. I was 13 when the first hate account about me emerged. I was called countless names, fat, bitch, and slut. I was taken aback due to the fact that back then I had not even had my first kiss. I brushed it off and made my page private. Yet as time went on the hate continued and started to post my pictures on their account with horrible captions bashing my early teen life.

Moving into high school I was so glad that I could finally step up my social media game up. I joined clubs, hung out with friends, but it seemed like whatever I did was never as cool at what "they" were doing. I craved validation from the people in my high school who didn't even know me outside of my username on social media.

I continued my search for validation by posting pictures of my high school relationship. I would spam my Snapchat stories and edit my pictures waiting for the perfect time to post them. When the short-lived romance died, I was humiliated to take my pictures down, not because I wanted to keep the relationship alive, but because those were the pictures that had the most likes and comments. After deleting those posts, I was now obsessed with growing my following. I started editing my pictures with the same filters to get the perfect aesthetic.

As I got into college and started to see life without posing every week for a new picture, I felt the freedom I haven't felt in years. I go through these mini-stages where I will delete social media off my phone for days or weeks on end. It refreshes my mind and cleanses me from the validation withdrawal that creeps through my veins after every like and comment.

My advice for the lost soul in the explores page is to block notifications from Instagram or other media used. Also, delete the apps or make certain time frames dedicated to scrolling. Validation needs to be brought back to the roots of within not from the tips of fingers typing on keyboards decorated with emojis.