Why I deleted my Instagram?

It’s funny how you take a week off Instagram and a handful of friends and family start calling you and ask if you’re doing okay. If that’s not a warning sign that social media has taken over, then I don’t know what is. I think we all know how much these social applications have taken over our lives and truly removed “social” from our society. In actuality, we are no longer striking conversations with strangers sitting next to us, our heads are buried in our phones while we wait in line, and not one meal can go by without taking a “birds eye view” photo. Yes, I am the first one to admit I have done all those, but I’ve learned to make changes and find a balance. Food photography is something a little deeper for me than just updating followers on what I eat that day. It’s a passion of mine that continues past social media. I use this hobby for this blog and it’s provided some great opportunities for me. But just because it’s a fun hobby, doesn’t mean it needs to creep into every aspect of my life. It doesn’t mean that every single meal needs to be photographed, edited, and thrown up on Instagram waiting for the followers to like and comment. It’s embarrassing to say how far I’ve let this application take me.

I wanted to list out some of the major reasons why I deleted my Instagram.

  • Constantly compared my photos to other “foodies”
    • Everyday I would scroll through a gigantic feed following 2,000+ followers. I’m sure you can only imagine how long that took and how much time I wasted looking through all those photos. But the big thing for me was how I never felt good enough, my photos never seemed colorful enough, or inspirational enough. I wanted more likes and followers and I had to work hard to produce higher quality photos to get that recognition. How awful is it living a life where you get excited about new followers and comments on a photo? Where you see other Instagram accounts that provide mediocre photos that attract followers in their sleep? Thankfully, I finally realized how awful this mindset and habit was. I realized that all I was doing was putting myself down and lowering my self-esteem. There are FAR greater things to do in this world than compare myself to another Instagram account. What a waste of time, energy, and happiness I was taking.
  • Compared myself to the rich and famous
    • Yes, I’ll admit that I followed a handful of wealthy, rich kids on Instagram. Social media is a very interesting thing, whereas you choose to show the photos that you want. I’m sure there aren’t too many accounts out there that show their bad days, their messy hair, dirty room, and love-handles. Of course not. People put out the best image that they can and that’s what the viewers see. Nobody lives a perfect life, yet we get a front row seat into another world that we assume to be perfect. That’s not reality. You might see photos of jets, tropical vacations, and a driveway full of fancy cars, but that doesn’t mean they have true happiness. I realized I had to stop comparing my life to the rich and famous. I need to be happy and blessed with the life I live and grow from there. 
  • Compared myself to the fit accounts
    • I’ll make the assumption that a large handful of Instagram users follow some sort of fitness account. It’s good to a point. The photos can be inspirational and motivating to take the steps to put you in the right direction of a healthier life. You might be sitting on the couch watching tv, while scrolling through your feed and see this girl bust her butt on a workout. It might be the one thing that gives you motivation to get off the couch and get moving. I’m into that. But what I found to be an issue for me was comparing my body to those that I followed. Once again, I never felt good enough, skinny enough, or strong enough. Since deleting the app, I’ve learned to love and appreciate my body more. I’ve learned to be thankful for everything that I can do, physically, and not focus on the things that I’m incapable of doing. 
  • Wasted so much time
    • I could easily spend an hour on Instagram before bed and first thing when I wake up. It was usually the filler throughout the day to cover any caps that I might have had between work, school, and play. Besides the time spent taking photos, editing them, publishing them, and finding the best hashtags to suit the photo, I was wasting an enormous amount of time just searching through accounts looking for inspirational photos. I was listening to an interview the other day where a man goes into a hospital and asks a variety of questions to patients who were critically ill. One of the questions that stood out to me was, “If you had any regrets or could go back in your life to change something, what would it be?” A majority of the answers were “to stop wasting time on the things that don’t matter”. A handful of people even mentioned social media. At that point, I began to realize how much of my lifetime I was truly wasting. When my time approaches, I don’t want to look back regretting any time I spent in my life. I want to be fulfilled and satisfied with every single thing I did on this planet. 
  • Wasn’t living in the present
    • I think this one is pretty obvious to most people. You go to to the farmers market, out to lunch, or to the beach with friends and family. You whip out your phone and take photos of the scenery, the people, the food, the flowers, and anything that attracts your attention. You might sit on your phone and edit the photo for a few minutes until it meets your satisfaction. You post the photo. Within the following minutes, you constantly go back to the app to check if you’ve gotten likes and comments, or possibly even gained a new follower or two. But what you’re really doing is missing out on what’s really around you. You’re too consumed taking this inspiring photo that you’re not actually living your life. And by “you”, I mean me.

I think this has to be one of the most embarrassing things to admit, but I want to put it out there because maybe somebody else is doing this and it might shake them up. I can’t remember when it was, but I remember posting a photo of myself on the couch reading a book. Instead of actually reading the book, I spent my time editing it, posting it, and scrolling through my feed. I never actually read the book that day! Looking back, I roll my eyes at what I did, but I’m happy that I can see now how ridiculous my actions were. Fortunately for me, I now spend my free time sincerely reading books, listening to podcasts, walking the parks, and trying to become a smarter, healthier, and better version of myself everyday.

Besides all the negative things Instagram created (our I created) in my life, here are some of the positive things that deleting that app brought:

  • More productive
    • Within two days, I was getting more done than I had in weeks. Instead of filling all the gaps in my day with scrolling through feed, I was using that time more wisely to get assignments done, do more research, and fill in my day with things that make me happy. Instagram was an excellent source of procrastination, so removing that from my day made huge improvements on my productivity.
  • Sleeping better
    • Without buzzing on my phone an hour before bed, I was reading and slowly calming my body down to prepare for sleep. I could easily play around on Instagram for an hour+ before bed, and once I removed that, I began to fall asleep much earlier.
  • More social
    • It makes sense that when you take your head away from your phone and bring your focus back to real life, you tend to have more meaningful and social conversations. I now can leave my phone upstairs when I go to the rest of the house. It’s no longer such a dependent distraction in my life and I can easily move throughout my day without it attached to my hands.
  • More educated
    • Instead of buzzing through Instagram all day, I’m now spending this extra time reading or listening to educational podcasts. I can’t keep from buying new books each week because I’m constantly inspired by the new knowledge and research available. I want to constantly keep learning and increasing the amount of knowledge I have in regards to health and fitness.
  • Less stressed + more satisfied
    • Since removing the main tool that allowed me to constantly criticize and devalue myself, I feel so much happier. I feel less stressed and more satisfied with the person I have become. I now wake up with a lighter feeling on my toes and a more positive outlook on my day. I’m not as dependent on my phone and it feels undeniably freeing.

I”m not saying that I will permanently keep this app deleted. I might re-downnload it next week, in 2 months, or maybe in 6 months. But as of now, I’m at peace with the direction my life is taking and I couldn’t be happier.

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