I started Instagram this year. I swore up and down that Facebook was enough for me, but I kept hearing Instagram was “better” and “less annoying", so I finally caved. My intention was to only follow people or pages that fed my soul. I'm a nature girl, my first follow was Natgeo (National Geographic). I searched next for people that were in my Yoga community. I loved seeing how real they were, and it genuinely inspired me. My search took me to a few others that were not in my personal community, but who were equally inspiring. Soon I was flooded with images of beautiful, perfect bodies, doing beautiful, perfect Yoga poses. I consider myself to be fairly rational, but I had to remind myself that this was Instagram, not real life. I started to notice feelings of inadequacy creeping in as I viewed these flawless women, because it felt so far from how I viewed myself. I saw myself as flawed and imperfect, and I was okay with that, before I was deluged with perfection. I would go into my practice and attempt to duplicate the Yoga poses I saw on Instagram. I became my worst critic; my comparison game wasn't feeding my soul, it was depleting it. I know I'm not alone in getting sucked in. We all love it, but, ultimately, end up loving to hate it. Social Media can work to our advantage and fulfill our positive intentions but only if we remain mindful. As you navigate through social media, keep the following in mind to avoid opening the floodgates to negative self talk:
1. You are flawed and imperfect- we all are. A picture can capture only what you allow it to capture. The person posting the picture on Instagram wants to portray to others perfection, and they may be pretty great at what they're doing, but like the rest of us, they have their strengths and are average at a whole lot of other things. They are imperfect and have insecurities just like you do. Remember that, always.
2. What is your intention? Be mindful of why you are on social media. We often forget why we connect in the first place. What made us open that Instagram or Facebook account? What were we hoping to gain, find, or learn? These questions will always bring you back to the genuine purpose of connecting. When we start to forget our intention, we start to forget ourselves. We may also find that we need to reevaluate what we're taking away from social media and make some shifts in what we expose ourselves to. It's important to protect our souls and our feelings of well being.
3. Your yoga mat speaks to you- ok not really, but you get what I’m saying. When you are on your mat, you will at one point or another start to have an inner dialogue with yourself. Listen to this dialogue, but don’t try to change it. Just be present and aware of what your thoughts are. I paid attention to mine, and they said "you are human and that is perfect."