Double-Tap for Progress, Not Perfection
Most of us spend hours mindlessly scrolling through Instagram posts on our phones. Sometimes I’ll stop, feeling embarrassed — and even a little jealous of someone else’s life.
Do you have a reason for following certain accounts on Instagram? Maybe they’re your friends, friends of friends, or even an inspirational account that motivates you.
A recent trend I’ve noticed on social media is people (famous or not) sharing their stories of struggle and triumph, specifically about their fitness journeys.
I follow several young women who make long, personal posts explaining their daily routines or who share uplifting quotes to start each day. Oftentimes, these individuals are paid to promote certain products or fitness packages that help them stay in great shape. Initially, I loved this. I looked up to these strangers and wanted to emulate their passion for life and their enthusiasm for loving themselves.
But before long, my adoration and appreciation of these women turned to envy. Fitness is their whole life and they make it look so easy. Losing weight, achieving a perfectly toned body, dedicating time to a daily devotional. Their social media portrayed their “perfect” lifestyle as positive and balanced. I longed to be like them, but I began realizing that wasn’t a realistic (or even healthy) goal.
With more and more of these accounts coming across our feeds each day, let’s remember why we’re absorbing their stories. If you want to change your lifestyle, that’s great. If you’re looking for a daily dose of positivity, that’s great, too. But remember that you control your own happiness and that the comparison game won’t get you far.
Even as we grow older, our self-esteem is still easily influenced by others. It took me a while to acknowledge that I privately envied these effortlessly perfect lifestyles – and that mine would always fall short.
Social media provides us all with a place to find release. Whether you’re sharing or following others, it’s okay to be vulnerable. We all have bad days – after all, we wouldn’t have good ones if we didn’t have something to compare them to.
The fitness community is one of strength, rebuilding, and empowerment. Look to others for motivation, but also for a reality check.
I’m not saying to go unfollow every #fitspo account you follow, but just to take them with a grain of salt. You may realize you are putting too much of your happiness in the hands of strangers, and that it’s time to make a change.
Be well, Auburn.
Photography: Jack P.