I constantly read about the negative impacts caused by social media, and I have a feeling you do, too. It causes depression. It's fake. People are buying their followers. There's an ongoing movement for people to give social media the finger.
But I'm not riding that train, and this blog post is not about that. Today I am focusing on why I love Instagram, and how I credit the platform for being one of the most profound and beneficial influencers of my life.
Long ago, I was sitting in a cold dark office (literally it had no windows, and would blow cold air from the vent). I worked two jobs, and had long hours in order to make enough money to get by. I had a mortgage that stressed me out, credit card debt that was endless, and lived for the weekends. I thought that was just what life was. We went to school, worked really hard, bought a house, and then maybe went on a vacation if we were lucky enough to do so. My husband and I constantly talked about all of the adventures we wanted to take, but our gear never seemed to make it out of the sealed boxes in the basement. As a psychologist, I felt deeply frustrated both personally and professionally. Everything felt like a small bandaid being applied to a hemorrhage. Something very large was missing, and I couldn't figure it out. I was deeply unhappy with my lifestyle.
And then one day I started spending some time on Instagram. At first I had a private account, and only used the app to make my photos look cool. I eventually started following accounts and connecting with people who were living life quite differently than anyone else that I knew in "real" life. People who quit their 9-5s to teach yoga, travel, and be creative. People who lived in gorgeous places I dreamed of experiencing. People who were living in tiny homes, and blogging about it. Instead of feeling bad about myself for not living that way, I used this inspiration to change my own life. If they could do it, why couldn't I? And so began my journey which eventually led to me selling my house, quitting my jobs, moving to the ocean, buying a vintage Airstream, and repackaging and rebranding my unique skill set in the form of a creative business that satisfies my soul and also positively helps people wanting to make the same changes I did. I've never been happier.
On a daily basis, Instagram connects me with a community of women who live a similar lifestyle to me. I have found the coolest small businesses selling things I actually like. I have made incredibly close friendships, and joined communities where I feel supported and uplifted. If I'm feel uninspired, all I have to do is open up the app, and connect with artists, entrepreneurs, and yogis and then next thing I know the inspiration is back. That or I chat with people who are feeling "blah" as well, and we just feel "blah" together. Either way, it's all good.
Instagram pushed me to go to yoga teacher training! I had convinced myself that I was "too old," to go to a training. But then I connected with yogis from all over the world, and began to realize that the only person standing in my way was me.
Instagram has allowed me to share my journey with the world. The visual platform is what led me to become a photographer. As I began to share my own images, I wanted to make them better. I bought a camera, and fell in love with photography. Then I started shooting content for brands. The next thing I knew I was selling prints, and being hired for photoshoots. I don't think I would have connected with my artistic self had I not had this amazing platform. Posting meaningful captions about life, and sharing my lifestyle has helped me formulate my ideas and thoughts, as well as given me a way to reach people and create real change.
I love Instagram, and I hope that it hangs around for a long time just like email. My eyes were opened by the app, and I truly feel like it saved my life. Maybe that sounds dramatic. It's not that I was dying, but it surely didn't feel like i was living. Now I choose to live on purpose.
How has social media positively changed your life?