Nine times out of ten, here is the experience I have while choosing to scroll through instagram: I’ll open the app and check for notifications. And if there’s comments, I’ll respond. If not, I’ll click back to my feed and begin scrolling. At some point, I’ll find a photo that’s pretty and like it, simply because it’s pretty. Then, I’ll scroll some more, stumble upon a few more beautiful images, and eventually, a thought provoking caption will appear. If the messaging peeks my curiosity, I’ll expand the comments section and read through everyone’s thoughts, potentially leaving some of my own as well …
Then, I’ll go back to my feed and repeat everything over again. But at some point, a story or image or caption will trigger my ego and I’ll begin to spiral. I’ll compare myself to the reality of others or wish I was better at this or that. Frustrated, I’ll exit out of the app, stomp around the house, and eventually come back to my own reality.
Sound familiar? Social media and technology, in general, are wonderful things. They allow us to connect to like-minded individuals with ease and expand our world in a way that wasn’t possible before. But with it, comes a lot of baggage.
In a way, the rise of connectedness has allowed us to believe that anything is possible. And while that’s true (especially if you’re a positive patsy like me), it can also be dangerous. Yes, you can write a book or travel the world or simply take a day off just because. But you can do it in a way that works for you.
More often than not, however, we mirror the paths of others in hopes of achieving the same outcome as fast as humanly possible. We strive and hustle and ultimately, set unrealistic expectations for ourselves along the way.
And sometimes, it actually works, where we get the thing or things we wanted. But most of the time, it doesn’t, leaving us drained or frustrated as a result.
This is because the path of another is just that: the path of another. Your path, on the other hand, is completely unique. So even if you have a similar hope or goal or wish as somebody else, your journey will be different. Because it’s yours, not theirs.
I’ve been acutely aware of my actions on social media over the last few months. So whenever I feel myself start to spiral down a rabbit hole of comparison, I’ll stop and ask myself if the belief is valid. Do I really want the shiny thing or lifestyle that another has?
Well, if you would have asked me one year ago, I would have said yes yes yes. In fact, I used to be extremely reactive and thought I wanted to do and have all of the things within my wheelhouse. Right away. But now that I’m taking the time to be completely honest with myself, I’m finding a much simpler reality to be true.
No, I don’t want to work 80 hours a week so that I can launch a bajillion client websites. And no, I don’t want to market myself in a gimmicky way in order to make six figures on a launch. That path may be right for others, but it isn’t for me.
I’m cool working 20 hours a week on fewer projects. And if I choose to launch something in the future, I’m going to do it my own way, even if it goes against everything the online world is teaching nowadays.
All of this is to say: be kind to yourself, especially while browsing through instagram or any other social media channel, for that matter. It’s easy to follow the leader. It’s harder, however, to carve your own path. But that, my friends, is exactly where all the magic is. So go out and get it. The path is yours. ♡
Please note: This post was originally published in the Rowan Made newsletter on March 16th, 2017. If you like what you see, you can join us (most weeks) right here. There are no opt-in promises or fancy worksheets on the other side. Just me, being honest with you.