Avoiding The Comparison Trap in the Age of Instagram Models – My Self-Care Routine for Scrolling Through Instagram

We’ve all done it. We’ve started scrolling through our timelines in what seems like an innocent stroll through the digital land of Instagram models, makeup tutorials, bunny videos, zit popping videos and everything in between, only to find ourselves STILL DEEP into our feeds hours later, stalking people we don’t know, laughing, crying, and gathering inspiration for our next posts.

If you’re like me, you may casually take your phone with you into the bathroom with you at work. But, the next thing you know, your scrolling has trapped you on the toilet, leaving your coworkers to wonder if they should slide a container of Tums or a glass of water under the door to help you out.

Scrolling on Instagram and diving into the virtual world of social media can be fun! Inspiring. Encouraging even.

But, it can also be some other things. It can be discouraging or cause you to doubt your beauty, your success, and your progress in life. It can propel you into the dangerous game of comparison, a game that’s sure to steal your joy and distort the truth: that you are Gorgeous. You are Enough. And, that YOU ARE moving forward in your own way, and in your own time.

If I’m not mindful while scrolling through Instagram, I can easily end up feeling like I’m not snatched enough, not successful enough, not traveling enough, not doing my eyebrows right, and, well, you get the picture.

At times, I’ve been so tempted to delete my accounts. To live a social-media-free existence, move to the mountains, potentially grow out my underarm hair, and live counter-culture.

But, as blissful as that sounds sometimes, I know social media is here to stay and that it’s a tremendously powerful tool!

I don’t have to let it rule me and I can live in a way where I use it as a tool to support my fellow humans without sacrificing my sense of self or allowing it to shape the way I view myself, my progress, and my worth.

Here are a few things I do to keep my mind right, and celebrate my fabulosity while scrolling though and posting on Instagram.

1. Post. Then Let It Be. — Minimize the amount of time you spend checking in on your likes

I’ll admit, this is a hard one for me. I only post on Instagram about once or twice a month, but, I SURELY DO know how many likes my posts have gotten, which types of photos rake in the most likes, which types of captions invite the most comments, etc. Best believe, sis. I know.

When I post something, it’s so easy for me to check in every 5 minutes. To see who’s liked it. To see who’s commenting on it. To see how quickly my likes are racking up.

But, the truth is, when I focus on the likes, I don’t get nearly as much satisfaction out of posting than I do when I post something and walk away from it for a while.

When I’m focusing on the likes, I’m focusing on external validation from others. There’s nothing wrong with wanting others to support and appreciate your art, your photo, your video, or whatever it is that you shared.

But, your Instagram is YOURS. You should post what YOU want. What pictures you LOVE. What pictures or images speak to your soul.

Your social media profile should express who you are authentically. Post what makes YOU feel good.

When your less focused on how other people will react to your content, you’ll feel bolder. You’ll be more confident and more unapologetic about WHO YOU ARE AND WHAT YOU WANT TO SHARE.

2. Realize That There’s Enough Beauty To Go Around. Celebrate Your Sister. Then, Celebrate Yourself.

Sometimes, when I scroll through my timeline, I can’t help but think,

“Damn, how are these woman THAT gorgeous?”

“How are her cheekbones that high?”

“How is her skin so smooth?”

“How does she keep her stomach THAT flat?”

It’s easy for me to get overwhelmed by all of the beauty on Instagram. Our Lord made some incredible looking folks!

But, when I find my thoughts drifting into the black vortex of comparison, I have to remind myself that there’s enough beauty to go around.

By that, I mean, we are all beautiful women. I can look at a woman and say, “Damn, girl, work that dress!” knowing that when I hit happy hour on Thursday I’ll be killing the game too.

I can see a friend who rakes in the likes get even more likes than usual and celebrate her, without feeling that her success or her beauty in some way threatens mine.

There is enough beauty to go around ladies. Celebrate your sisters. Then, celebrate yourself.

Draw inspiration from one another and leave uplifting comments for your girls. There’s so much power in women celebrating other and affirming one another.

3. Realize That Social Media Profiles are Often a Highlight Reel

We all have that friend who ALWAYS seems to be doing something fun. Traveling the world. Modeling. There’s one girl on my timeline, who I regularly find myself asking,

Does she work?

How does she have time to do all of this? I need to get in on whatever kind of job she’s got!

It’s easy to let the appearance of someone else’s life make you feel like you’re not doing enough. But, social media is often a highlight reel of our lives.

I may see my homegirl laying on the beach in Aruba. What I don’t see is the late nights and early morning’s she’s been putting in to be able to afford her well-deserved vacation.

I may see my sis kissing her ultra-fine, chocolate man. What I don’t see is how long she’s prayed for a good man to come her way after settling for less than what she deserves so many times.

What you see is never the whole story. We’re all grinding to be our best and live the life of our dreams.

When you see people doing their thang, cheer them on. Then, keep building YOUR empire. Keep your eyes on YOUR path and YOUR future. It may look different from someone else’s but the beauty is in the journey and the less you compare your journey or story to other people’s the more you’ll fall in love with your own life.

4. Give Yourself A Time Limit. Don’t Be Afraid To Turn Off Your Phone If You’re Losing Control.

When I pick up my phone and open up Instagram, I subconsciously give myself a time limit. 5 minutes. Ten minutes. 20 minutes.

If I don’t, I could easily end up staring at my screen for WAY too long and miss the beauty of the moments in front of me. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

I certainly don’t want to miss out on the beautiful people, environments and learning experiences that surround me every day because I’m looking down at my phone.

Give yourself a limit to scroll and stick to it! Setting an alarm helps hold your accountable. You just might be amazed at all of the new things you notice when you spend less time looking down and more time looking up, side to side, and all around.

Do you have a self-care routine you follow when you use social media? I’d love to hear about it! Leave a comment on this post or comment on my Instagram (the irony, I know) at @iamsaung. My Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator is ENFP, so I love interacting with people! Cheers to embracing the digital age mindfully!

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