I mindlessly scroll through her personal feed; she's been to Hawaii, the Fiji Islands, and Dubai in the past two months.
Her body is perfect.
Her hair is perfect.
Her face is perfect.
The funny thing about this girl?
I don't even know her.
Social media has allowed us access to the world and the people who occupy it in a way that my parents never had. I can grab my phone, enter my Instagram app, and look up people whom I have never met and see their adventures.
Social media is also just another tool I use to stir up jealous thoughts and self-pity on why I don't look like strangers or why I don't have the budget to travel somewhere new every month.
I struggle with insecurities. I don't feel like I'm letting you in on this big secret here because we all struggle with our ideas of self-worth. For me, it's in my body image.
It's not the problem of seeing just "one" picture of an incredibly fit girl in a bikini; it's the fact that I can look at hundreds of fit girls in bikinis and fuel the fires of my self-pity instead of going and exercising if I really want to look like them.
That's all social media is, though: it's media. It's meant to garner reactions, both good and bad. It rarely shows what real life looks like.
My friend Amanda wrote a fantastic article about comparing our worth to others, and she writes,
"We need to remember the difference between social media and reality... Remember that we only see what people post."
This is such a simple truth, yet I often forget that with Instagram, I am seeing only the final cut of someone's life movie and not all the deleted scenes, the throwaways, or the boring parts.
This article isn't a call for people to delete their Instagram or Facebook accounts (actually, maybe you should delete Facebook; no one needs that negativity in her life). This article is my accountability strategy for this next part.
Here's my challenge to myself: I am signing off of my Instagram account for the rest of the summer. That means no posting until (GASP) August 21st. Yikes.
There's a thrill to this challenge, though: because I won't get to see what my friends are doing all summer, it means that I will have to actively pursue them to see what they have planned. It means talking to them in person or over the phone about their summer adventures.
This is a time for me to wean off of relying on what other people look like to fuel how I feel about myself. As a Christ-follower, my identity should lie in my Savior; He never changes even when my feed changes every hour. We see in 1 Peter 2:9 that after we've accepted the gift of salvation, "[we] are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's special possession, that [we] may declare the praises of him who called [us] out of darkness into his wonderful light!"
Staying away from social media for three months might not be necessary for you. Try one month. Heck, just go for a week without checking on @POTUS's latest tweet. If I'm being honest, I could go for the rest of the year without looking at his Twitter profile.
The point of this is not to deprive yourselves of other people's joy when they are sharing their beautiful lives online. Celebrate with your friends in their travels! If you have beautiful friends, tell them they are beautiful!
The problem is when you allow other people's online happiness to influence your real-life happiness. The best way to avoid this? Take a break from the online world.
Use your time away from social media to do something new. If you really want to be more fit, exercise! (It boosts your mood, too.) Read a new book. Or an old book. Explore the real world of your community instead of being consumed by the lives of strangers. Then, when your break is done, post about it!
Just kidding. (Kind of.)
Here's to Day 1 of 82 complete!