Ten days ago, I deleted Instagram from my phone. I was tired of how mindlessly dependent I was on the app.
For the last few years, it was always the first thing I checked when I’d wake up and the last thing I did before going to sleep. Not only did I catch myself wasting time that could be better spent on anything else, I also noticed how much I was purchasing impulsively through Instagram’s shopping feature.
When the shopping feature was first made available, I was really into it. What a quick and convenient way to get what you want! With a few simple clicks, I could get my hands on whatever product I happened to scroll by. However, I soon realized I was just a fly caught in the app’s crafty marketing web. Post after post, ad after ad, I was convinced my wants were needs. And my needs, ultimately, were never being met until the next purchase.
I already had trepidations with Instagram prior to their shopping feature. Especially with the pressure to post a fun and exciting life, and the anxiety that came with that. We all have seen our friends go on amazing vacations, order amazing food and drinks from fancy places—and we have all been on the other side, going out of our way to get the perfect shot. But now, some people are going out of their way to look like their perfect shots in real life, aka plastic surgery. I was listening to a podcast, Call her Daddy, recently about how some women have started to get plastic surgery to resemble their ‘perfect make-up face filter.’ You know, the one that makes you look like a Bratz doll? How unhealthy is that? As if women didn’t have enough beauty standards to attain, now we have to aspire to look like disproportionate dolls? I used to follow this yoga blogger named @Catmeffan who addressed this need to ‘look flawless’ at all times. She recognized how the face filters, ultimately, made her feel like she wasn’t pretty enough without them in her stories. But she caught herself and now refuses to use them, as she believes it’s important to feel like your own face is enough.
I don’t want to come off as a preacher and say you should all delete Instagram immediately, but I do strongly recommend taking a step back from it, even just temporarily. Instagram is always going to be there, and people won’t even realize you’re absent. (Sorry, I don’t mean to hurt your ego.)
I always complained about social media and how unhealthy it can be, but I contributed to it in my own way. When I decided to give being consistent a shot, I realized that the first couple of days after I deleted it, I still instinctively reached for my phone and tapped for the app even though it wasn’t there anymore. This reflex revealed how much I was used to being on it. Now, nearly two weeks without Instagram, I find myself doing more yoga, reading and writing more, as well as spending way less money.
This time I didn’t do it for the ‘gram. I did it for my own peace of mind.
Graphic by Sasha Axenova