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?