My personality has always been a combination of the many faces I encounter throughout my life—either people I’ve actually met or some that I’ve only gotten to know through the pages of a book and screen of a laptop. While I can definitively say that I am my own person, it would be a bit of a lie to not acknowledge the various people and things I draw inspiration from in order to form the self that I like and am comfortable with. To an extent, we are all a version of someone/something else, either actively or subconsciously. We might like the look of Bridgette Bardot and want to emulate it or we might even spend so much time around someone that we inevitably begin speaking or thinking like them. Undoubtedly, humans are social creatures and our strengths lie in mimicking those around us. Movies, magazines, blogs, and Instagram (just to name a few) are abundant sources of inspiration in all categories of life, but at what point does all this inspiration being thrown at us become overwhelming and oppressing?
It is hard to explain the feeling of insufficiency I’ve developed from scrolling through Instagram for too long or comparing my blog to others on Bloglovin’. After seeing enough examples of what I think the perfect life/body/make up/blog is I can’t help but be overcome with the feeling of wanting to give up. What’s the point, after all, if I can’t attain that standard? It’s thoughts like these that had me really questioning the people and things I wanted to associate myself with, especially online and through social media.
As an introvert, I gain a lot of pleasure from being alone and feel rejuvenated spending a few hours in my own head. With that being said, social media has been a haven for someone like me because of the powerful connections made around the world whilst sitting in bed with a bowl of popcorn. The steady incline and importance of an internet presence has been effortless for me to acclimate to and much more enjoyable than always having to physically be part of something social. This is why I believe that the people you surround yourself with online are just as influential and possibly detrimental as the people you surround yourself with in the physical world.
A possible candidate for the Queen of Instagram is Kylie Jenner who has taken the online world by storm in only about a year. Her presence is ferocious and dominant on almost every social platform, however, there is always a slight tug in my gut whenever I scroll past a picture of her in my feed. Is she someone I want to have as an experience for the day? This thought can pertain to many figures, but I’ll just be using her as an example because of her immense popularity at the moment. Is her hourly selfie something I would like to spend even a few milliseconds of my time looking at, internalizing, and then using as a reference for future experiences? I can finally affirm that the answer is ‘no’.
This thought process is not meant to attack anyone, but rather to bring forward the notion of inspiration on such influential platforms that millions of people use daily. My inspiration has always derived from what I see and read, like I’m sure many peoples’ does. So, why I would waste the very short time in a day and limited amount of stimulants on images/people/posts that don’t light the flame of my inspiration, but rather make me feel self-conscious, indifferent, or like a mindless consumer for celebrities to push advertisements on to? The more I encountered these kinds of pages online, the less motivated I felt to put myself out there because someone was probably doing I better than me.
Like the notable concept of feng shui I decided that all of my social media platforms needed a cleanup and harmonization with who I was as a person. The fact that I no longer had fun interacting with apps and websites that I once loved was a hint that it was time I changed something. As of a few weeks ago I decided to go through all the profiles I follow or subscribe to and determine whether their content was bringing me joy and inspiration. If I didn’t feel like whatever they were putting out excited me then it was time to let them go, no matter how long I had been following them for. However, I’m not looking down on any profiles or channels that are enjoyable for how trivial or light-hearted they are. I definitely appreciate an odd video here and there, but too much of that would leave me a bit numb and (dare I say) bored on such a immense scope of interaction.
For anyone that feels like I do and can’t shake the overwhelming feeling of inadequacy that social media can sometimes cause, then I would recommend taking some time to evaluate and determine the person you would like to become based on the things you are exposed to. It may not be intentional, or even noticeable right away, but soon you might find yourself taking on the characteristics of someone you don’t even like, just because you follow them ironically online.