I'm guilty of it-- I think most of us are. I follow, follow, follow accounts that I love. I follow accounts that my friends tag me in. I follow ALL the accounts that are recommended to me-- it can get to be a lot. I just have way to many lives to scroll through. I found myself wondering why I felt so overwhelmed all the time until I listened to Stephanie May Wilson's podcast last week. It sat heavily on my heart when she mentioned how unhealthy following so many lives could be. I did a little bit of my own research, and here are 4 Reasons why you should clean out who you follow on Instagram ASAP.
1. Comparison Truly Is The Thief Of Joy.
Everyone does it. Scrolling through perfectly curated Instagrams sends you down a rabbit hole of comparison. So often I see fitness models, fashion gurus, pageant queens, blogger moguls, and more perfectly artsy accounts on my instagram-- I follow and support most that I see voluntarily. But after a while, I see all of these women who are professionals in their own singular craft and I create an idea that I must be all of these women combined--- am I the only one? I get an idea in my head that I'm not successful until I'm a combination of the most popular accounts that I follow. Must be as fit as this one, as fashionable as that one. I must be as artsy and creative as her, and I live in a pigsty if my home is not as well decorated as that account. Everyone has their talent, and I have to work at remembering that comparing myself to them does not make me better or worse-- it just stresses me out mentally and causes me to attack who I am. Letting comparison steal my joy is not okay, and I've found that sometimes unfollowing the accounts that I struggle to compare myself to the most is a surefire way to attack that poisonous comparison and focus more on my own creative journey. Someone's highlight reel is not the same as your behind the scenes--that's so cheesy but so true.
2. Do The Accounts You Follow Make You Feel Tall Or Small?
This is similar to the first point, but more than comparison-- are you following accounts that make you doubt yourself? Is scrolling through your social media feed making you feel tall or small? We spend so much time on social media that if we aren't feeling encouraged or inspired by those we follow, then we're doing ourselves a disservice. That's enough of that! Take ownership of the accounts you choose to follow. You aren't required to follow anyone. It's like First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt said, "Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent." So, why are we giving these accounts the permission to make us feel unworthy of love or un-pretty, or not absolutely cherished by the King of the Universe. We should surround ourselves with those who lift us up in our everyday encounters, but we should remember the online encounters we have, as well.
3. There Is Truth To The Dunbar Theory.
Cleaning out who you follow is literally science. Dunbar's Theory is one that says that the human brain cannot recognize more than 1500 faces at one time. Furthermore, you cannot maintain a stable relationship with more than 150 people at a time. It's science. It's relational fact that blew my mind when I learned it. Why am I following more than what my brain can recognize? Why am I trying to halfheartedly comment on photos build relationships with more than my brain can actually handle? That's why social media can be so tiring! It's scientifically exhausting. Do your own research on it here (I googled it for you; do we still trust Wikipedia?). Even though it's just a theory, I think that we could all take a page from it and do a little spring cleaning on our accounts.
4. This Way, You'll See More Of Who You Actually Care About.
It happened to me. I followed about 2000 people, and I was noticing that I was seeing the same accounts over and over again, out of chronological order, and they weren't accounts I cared about (or they were accounts that I caught myself comparing my own account to). The algorithm had completely made my feed go funny, unhealthy, and uninteresting. Since I've unfollowed about 1000 Instagrammers, my feed is closer to normal, and it contains accounts that I actually want to see. It's not full of obligatory follow backs, and influencers that make me feel less-than. It's more filled with inspiring accounts and muses.
I really believe this is important to remember to do to avoid the unhealthy effects that social media can have. Take the steps with me to take control of that unhealthy tendency we all have to compare our journey to someone else's. You, friend, are worthy and creative and wonderful and fearfully made. You were gifted with a task that is unique to you. It could never look like the accounts you follow and the people you insta-stalk. Likewise, their journey could never look like yours. It's special-- embrace it, even when comparison tries to steal your joy.