Friday, 25 January 2019

10 Days Without Instagram

10 days without Instagram - MY STORY

Last week I decided I needed to take a break from Instagram. It’s the kind of thing that I’ve said many times as a passing comment but never really intended to do.

I think it was the overwhelming overload of Instagram comparison over the Christmas and New Year period which brought me to my ‘wits end’. I decided I’d had enough. So I decided to take a break. I didn’t plan how long to break from it. And I didn’t think I’d last long with out it. 

Here I am, 10 days later, and I’m only on Instagram to post this because I think it’s so important to reflect on. But, I won’t be here for long.

So, what are my reflections after a mere 10 days without the photo-sharing, social media app. Here goes:

The fear that we won’t cope is bigger than the reality

It was a pretty rash decision for me to take a break from Instagram. And to be honest, I didn’t think I would be able to do it. Based on the amount that I scroll through many 10s of 100s of photos of other people’s days and weekends, pasts and presents, I didn’t think I’d be able to go from 100mph to 0mph (0 ability to look). But it was a heck of a lot easier to do that I thought. 

It was relieving. It was releasing. It wa freeing. 

I didn’t miss it. I didn’t want to look at it. I didn’t even want a peak. And believe me, I didn’t expect that, so it’s likely that you don’t. Don’t let that stop you. Don’t let the fear of not being able to do it stop you from giving it a go. 

Shalom is a lot easier to channel 

You always hear me bang on about comparison (I’ve written a book about it for goodness sake...) I’m always talking about not comparing yourself to others. And whilst I think I do a pretty good job at it, Instagram makes it flipping difficult. It nibbles away at our subconscious and before we know it, we’ve lost control and we’ve lost track.

I’ve had 10 days of ‘shalom’ because of my abstinence from Instagram. Shalom is a Hebrew word which means complete peace. Jesus speaks of shalom all throughout the Bible; “peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you” (John 14:27). It’s a wholehearted inner peace, which manifests itself outwardly too. I have felt more complete peace than I have in a long time. I have contemplated my faith more. I have emptied my mind and slowed my thoughts more. I have blogged (right now) for the first time in AGES. 

And I thank my ‘adios’ to Instagram for that. 

New habits are easy to form

I started a new job a few months ago which means I’m technically a ‘Lead Coach’. It’s the best thing ever. It marries my curiosity about people with my desire for people to realise their potential. One of the things I Coach about is neuroplasticity which is the ability for our brain to change our habits and form new habits by creating new neural pathways. It’s cool. 

Why is this relevant? Well, one of the facets of Instagram is viewing others photos, another facet is posting your own photos and creating your own “story”. In the first of ‘no insta’ I realised that as I went about my day, I imagined things that I could post on my story - caption and all. How horrendous... I would literally be walking down the street, be walking on a bridge and looking down at the trains on the track and thinking “ooooh I could take a boomerang of that and maybe caption it saying something like ‘a beautiful day to work in the city’”. I mean...yay? I the heck has that become such a subconscious habit that I haven’t given permission for? 

I’ve noticed these thoughts and ideas slowly subside and I’m absolutely thankful. I’d rather fill my mind with things that are true, thoughtful, generous, others-focused and purposeful rather than self-seeking and prideful.

So, what now? 

My use of Instagram will reduce massively. I will no longer scroll aimlessly through pages of photos and snippets of stories. I will use it authentically and wholeheartedly. And I will check myself more.

What will you do? 

Monday, 11 June 2018

The Truth About Love Island

So, I have never watched Love Island before (other than one episode last year that my sister was desperate for me to watch with her!!) This year, I've kept relatively up-to-date with the happenings.

And it has a massive influence. It influences our social media conversation, our real life conversation, our view of our face, our view of our body, our view of relationships, our view of hook-up culture, our view of their lifestyles, beliefs, values, opinions. And more.

What I want to share with you is a bit of my reflections on the impact it has had on my view of my self and my body.

1. I don't look at the other guys' bodies, I instinctively look at the girls
2. If I try not to look at their bodies as I watch, I fail instantaneously
3. If I haven't gymed or have eaten 'badly' that day, I feel worse (p.s. it's ok not to gym and ok to eat badly)
4. I wonder whether I need to find/buy the clothes they wear because maybe then I'll look good or like them
5. I get frustrated that they're literally half naked the entire time
6. 1 hour every night and 7 hours a week of subconscious, direct comparison to the girls on my TV screen can't be healthy for my 'self-esteem'
7. It feels like the only glimpses of realness and normality are seeing them without make up
8. I start to wonder what % of the population actually look like they do
9. I feel energised to keep doing the work I'm doing; speaking truth into girls' lives

(It's an odd number of reflections, apologies)

Possibly the thing I find more frustrating is the fact that this would all be so different if the people on the reality show were representative of real life.

Imagine if all shapes, sizes and ages were represented...actually imagine that...

I can imagine that we would spend a lot more time, even if only in our heads, focused on their personalities and characters rather than their flat stomach, toned legs and curvature.

Possibly the thing I find more scary is the fact that girls are watching Love Island with absolutely no awareness whatsoever. I liken it to the influence that America's Next Top Model had on me when I was younger: a very small proportion of the nation's women prancing around in minimal clothing with doll-like bodies.

So what do we do about this? And what do we do if we're already hooked on the show and not willing to give it up...

SELF-TALK: you've got to do a lot of positive mental self-talk a day to make up for the hours worth of negative mental self-talk you're already doing. I give examples of how to do this in my book but here's a general jist:

Negative Self-Talk = negative start of thoughts + negative end (i.e. 'their bodies are so much better than mine' + 'my body is therefore rubbish' + 'I feel rubbish about myself')

Positive Self-Talk = negative start of thoughts + positive end (i.e. 'their bodies are so much better than mine' + 'but their bodies don't represent the "ideal", nor do they represent all female bodies + my body is inherently GOOD' + 'I feel good about my body')

GENERAL TALK: talk about what you're watching and how you're feeling. The likelihood is that others are thinking the sane. This also means that you can mutually support eachother in your encouragement of your real bodies. Speak life-giving, body-assuring words to your friends. Actually, take the focus away from their bodies (we get enough of that right!) - speak life-giving words about who they are!

I'll keep you posted friends.
Pre-order More Than Just Pretty here #10daystogo