There are over 500 million active monthly users on Instagram. (If that doesn't put it into perspective for you, imagine every person in the United Kingdom having Instagram thirty three times over with some more left over). 90% of Instagram users are under the age of 35.
I am under 35. I also don't have Instagram.
So why am I different? I'm young, have my whole life ahead of me (big assumption on my behalf). Am I an anomaly? I don't think I am, yet practically everyone I know is on Instagram. (No, I'm not pointing at you).
I wonder why we live in a world full of pretence. Life is a collection of moments. This world is forever evolving. On and on it goes, waiting for no man, rich or poor. Time is short. And yet humanity remains, remains relentlessly pursuing the things that shouldn't matter. Superficial constructs that society has taught us to live by, social constructs that society has ingrained into our minds, facades that we must live by otherwise we are nothing at all. Nothing.
But I am not nothing.
I'm just me.
It's become all about getting the most likes, as if they're going to tell you what you're worth, people chase approval as if the world depends on it (it really doesn't). What has become of our world? What has become of what's inside? What has become of humanity? And numbers, be they followers or likes, shouldn't bring your life crashing down if you don't reach the number you had so desperately aimed for.
Stop letting other people define your self-worth. Stop waiting for people's approval. Your sole purpose on this earth is not to please others but to please yourself. And there's more to life than pictures. Why not admire the sunset whilst it's still there instead of taking a picture and adding six hundred and seven filters to it? (oh sorry, it's six hundred and ten).
Social media can be fun, it can make you laugh, it can make you smile and it's all well and good for business. But what people have got to understand is that a person's Instagram (or any social media account, I'm not Instagram bashing promise) account does not reflect their lives at all. You really think that when someone's breaking down they're going to post it online? Are they heck.
No one is going to post a picture of themselves crying at three in the morning, mascara running down their cheeks, bawling and hurting because life got too much and carrying on seems so incomprehensible. You know why? It's because we have been made to believe that showing emotion, showing sadness, showing pain, is a weakness.
Suffering is not a weakness. It is human. And at times being a human can be exhilarating. But we can't accept only the challenges we like. Pain is part of the human condition. But so is love, so is happiness, so is joy.
Social media isn't reflective of real life. It has become a competition. Most followers. Most likes. Most comments. Most anything. Life is not a game. Life is not about winning. Life is certainly not a competition. Life is about being the best version of yourself. We need to realise that we're all on the same side.
I'll never join Instagram. Because I don't want to get caught up in all of that.
And I am free. Free from the burden of having to worry about who is and who is not following me, free from the burden of having to worry if anyone will like my selfies, free from the pressure of having to pretend to be someone I'm not, free from the haters, free.
And with everything else to worry about nowadays, it's a relief to not have that extra weight on my shoulders. It really is.
Maybe you think I'm backwards. Perhaps you think I'm a recluse. For all I know you could just think I'm a weirdo (only sometimes).
But I'm not. I'm just a person behind a screen, but nonetheless a person behind a screen who thinks there is more to life than the masks we hide behind, more to life than living for other people, more to life than gaining approval.
I know I'm not the only one. I know I'm not the only one who thinks this way. You don't have to be afraid anymore.
And for the people whose lives revolve around followers and likes, I hope you can find it within you to love yourself as you are, without the filters, without the veneer, without the pretending.
Take a step back.
Life begins outside your comfort zone. And there is more to life.
I promise you.
Image via: https://www.pexels.com/