The 4 Reasons Why I Deleted My Instagram

 

Everyone needs a guilty pleasure, right? Something that makes you feel happy and satisfied; a pick-me-up. That is how I looked at my unhealthy relationship with Instagram; a guilty pleasure. I was painfully unaware of how drastically this app was damaging nearly every aspect of my life. I am not exaggerating. Every. Aspect. Of. My. Life. [Unlike coffee-oreo ice cream which improves my life in every way!!]

I have always known deep inside that my Instagram account was altering who I truly was and who I wanted to be, but I was too weak and afraid to confront the issue. After struggling to keep my mind and my relationships sane, and before I had lost myself completely, I decided to do what needed to be done. I deleted my Instagram account.

Here are the four reasons why I deleted my Instagram account:

 

#1 I was not confident.

 

The day I deleted my Instagram I had around 1,100 followers and I followed around 700 people. I felt useless if I lost followers and loved if I gained them. The thought of someone purposefully unfollowing me was like a punch in the gut. Before deleting my account, I sifted through all of my followers, deleting those who I did not personally know. I did the opposite of what I thought I needed to do. I lost about 400 followers. I did not feel useless but rather relieved to have cleansed my Instagram of unknown eyes.

Next, I looked at who I followed. A majority of the people I followed were female influencers. When I shared this with my parents they couldn’t understand why I would follow these women. I couldn’t formulate an answer. I just said something like, “They’re pretty and cool and I like their clothes”. My parents then asked me how these people I follow made me feel.

 

Jealous. Ugly. Fat. Boring. Plain. And without a sense of style.

 

I realised at that moment that nearly 100 times a day, every day, I stared at photos of women who made me feel horrible about myself. They were better than me in every way possible. I looked at my phone, then looked in the mirror at myself and was upset with what I saw looking back at me. This was a constant thought that I could not delete. I had already lived through undiagnosed depression as well as an eating disorder in the years previous. Sometimes I would tell myself that if I really wanted to, I could lose the weight; I could do it all again. But these thoughts were not acceptable. I am proud of myself for not succumbing. My parents were absolutely blown away that I had been dealing with all of this self-deprecating bullsh*t on a daily basis. No wonder I was unhappy with my life when I was constantly comparing it to the lives of others. I was not going to let this self-hatred go any further.#

 

#2 I was self-absorbed.

 

No confidence, yet self-absorbed?? Yes, that is a possible and popular combination. I was self-absorbed because I had no confidence. I had no confidence because I was self-absorbed. It’s actually quite amazing! And sad . . .

I never quite believed that I fit the mold of a self-obsessed and self-absorbed person because I have always had so much empathy for others. In real life, I believe that I nearly always put others before myself. My Instagram posts did not represent this person. My own posts - soft smile selfies, posing alone in a bikini, fake laughing, hotdogs or legs? - I was portraying myself as someone I was not. I never, EVER smile with my lips shut; I show the gap between my two front teeth. I don’t always feel completely comfortable in a bikini; I tend to shield myself as I walk from my towel down to the ocean. Yes, I do laugh all the time, but in that moment my friends and I are not actually laughing at anything other than how awkward the moment is. And finally - they are not hotdogs - they are my legs, my bumpy skin. And oh yeah, I cropped out the stretch marks all over my thighs!!

I would look at my posts and envy the person I appeared to be. These were real photos of my own body and my own adventures, but where was my soul?

 

I couldn't see it. I don’t think others could see it either.

 

Every so often I would debate whether I should delete my Instagram account or not. Sometimes I would delete the app from my phone, but this only lasted a day or two. I would often tell myself that I would stop posting Stories daily or stop posting photos of only myself. When I would go on this ‘diet’ and restrict myself from indulgence, I felt as if a large part of my life was missing.  I felt so invested in the app like I NEEDED to show people where I was and what I was doing. Plus, what is the point of doing something fun and interesting when no one knows you’re doing it!? I mean, if a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound!? I needed the attention.

 

(https://goo.gl/images/QBmrq5)

 

#3 I was obsessed with the lives of people I didn’t know.

 

I was also afraid of missing out on the lives of the people I followed; the lives of the people I did not know; strangers. I became infatuated with the lives of social media influencers. I began following them because I thought their clothes were nice, or because they traveled the world and I wanted to see the beautiful places they would visit. But then I started to care about the people in the photos as if they were friends of my own. I not only followed my favorite influencers but I also followed their partner, their ex-partner, their siblings, and even their pet’s account [if they had a pet].

Eventually, it got to the point where I felt as if their lives were better than mine; their friends were better than mine; their partners were better than mine; their success was better than mine [I am only 20!!]. I focused my time and attention on the lives of strangers, who probably also alter their lives on Instagram just as I used to do. I was unhappy in my own skin and wanted to live the life of another. That is no way to live.

My [ex] favorite Instagram influencer!! @chiaraferragni (https://marlomarketing.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/e-28-1.jpg)

 

#4 I was facing ups & downs in my relationship

 

Unfortunately, all the above reasons for deleting my Instagram met at a three-way intersection and crashed together. This crash resulted in a series of events which nearly ended my relationship with my boyfriend forever. I will not go into detail about the events, but we have had our fair share of ups and downs. In fact, the final decision to delete my Instagram came just hours after breaking things off with my boyfriend [the boyfriend I was, and still am, extremely in love with].

Every healthy relationship has its high points and low points. Every couple bickers. But with the addition of my lack of confidence and my new-found envious nature towards others, I was finding myself feeling either unworthy of his love or unsatisfied with what we had. Truly - the more I sat on Instagram and scrolled through the lives of others, the more I felt unsatisfied with our relationship. 

During summer breaks from University, he and I live on different sides of the Atlantic and this causes stress on our relationship, often related to fear and jealousy. The week before deleting my account, I was having a very difficult time [partly because I had just started taking anxiety medication and I was told I may feel emotional and ‘not myself’]. My increased worries about our long-distance relationship, my lack of confidence, my self-absorbed actions, and my envy of others was a lethal combination. I was a ball of emotions. I had a short temper. I succumbed to my dark emotions and I ended our relationship. Even as the words exited my mouth I knew it was a mistake. I was having an out of body experience and reality felt like light years away. How could I have just made the mistake of breaking up with my boyfriend when it was something I did not actually want? I felt lost and chose to push him away.

Little did I know that hours later, with the support of my parents, I would uncover and confront my inner demons. That night I took the first and most important step in an effort to heal my mind and my relationships; to arrest the culprit; to pluck the weed at the root.

 

 

All I did was delete my Instagram.