My yoga studio Bala Yoga asked me to “take over” their instagram story for the day. What a great idea to showcase a day-in-the-life of one of your yoga teachers! Then a flash of anxiety swept over me. Who wants to watch me work at home in my PJs with no makeup? Nothing is interesting about seeing me grocery shop or clean the house.
Real life isn’t always exciting, but on social media everything is fun, beautiful, sexy and entertaining. Instagram is a great tool and has many benefits. I enjoy cooking healthy recipes from my friend Sarah of @simplyrealhealth, gain valuable design tips from Annie of @livesimplybyannie, get fitness inspiration from @KaisaFit, not to mention stay connected to friends.
Of course, presentation is important when showcasing your photos and videos. We all want to look good and make our life look good. A room is more appealing when staged with expensive furniture and décor and food looks more appetizing when placed intentionally on a plate rather than slopped in a pile. We are drawn to and enjoy gorgeous photos of other people’s adventures, their beauty, fame, and those living the glitzy life we desire. Instagram provides us with a glimpse of those lives and experiences.
Social media can inspire you, but it can also deplete you making you feel inferior.
So, when does the presenting end and real life begin?
The challenge with social media is that it can skew our perspective of what’s real and what is staged. A person isn’t traveling to exotic locals every single day, or going to amazing parties every waking moment, or keeping their home in designer show status. For those people, there’s also down time to be real – we may not see that. Knowing this, it still can easily make me feel like I need to present some life better than I already have.
It also unleashes our Ego to compare and judge ourselves. Comparing my life to others makes me feel like my life isn’t as great, or my body isn’t as beautiful, or I’m just plain not good enough. This scarcity mindset compels me to make my life look better to the outside world. Trying so hard makes me feel even worse about myself, further strengthening my false belief that who I am and what I regularly do is not good enough.
This is a very vulnerable experience and a tough confession and conversation for me to have with you. From a young age, I have fought low self-esteem, so this simple task of posting my life on my yoga studio’s instagram stories triggered my inner critic to thrive. With my own internal pressure to be someone special, I posted a video at our home of our lake view. When I went back inside, the video didn’t post. I was frustrated, so a few hours later I went back outside in the rain and posted roughly the same video. As soon as I posted it, I noticed the first video actually was published for public viewing and couldn’t be deleted. So now I had two similar videos side by side for everyone to see. What a rookie move! As I relayed what had happened to my husband, I felt sick with shame. What a shmuck! He totally called me out – that it seemed like I was trying to show off. Yeah, I knew I was trying to show off, but now everyone else knows it too. I wanted to feel special and countered feeling inferior by showing off. Yuck. Because I was not mindful, I had let social media and my Ego pull me further away from True Self.
Don’t get me wrong, Instagram is great a great tool to share your experiences and bring joy and information to other people’s lives. Doing that can make us feel good when we have the right intentions. However, in our world of selfies and instastories, it can be addictive to turn our attention inward, narrowing the lens to solely focus on ourselves. If our intention is to show off, rather than show case, it can take away from us feeling good.
We can only learn from where we are. What we are experiencing is exactly what we are supposed to be experiencing for the evolution of our Soul, because that’s what we are currently experiencing now. I see this experience of my instagram takeover as a great lesson, because it woke me up and helped me find some clarity.
So, is the lesson to close your accounts and detox from social media entirely? Maybe. But our Ego is a trickster. If not on social media, it will find another way to sabotage our happiness triggering fears and insecurities. For me, I welcome this as an opportunity to bring myself back to presence. Rather than beating myself up or running away from it, I can smile and learn how the slick inner critic shows up in many forms and has many tricks to loop me back into a scarcity mindset.
The power of mindfulness allows you to reconnect to your True Self when you drift from center. There is no need to hype yourself. The thing is, you are already special. Just be true to yourself. Life is so much more enjoyable when you live in your own authentic skin. For me, this is a life long journey of recognizing my Ego’s schemes and returning home to Love. It is not easy, but it is getting easier to quiet my inner critic and tune into the whisper of my Soul and Truth. I am still in route.
—Join me Sunday February 25th @ 1-3PM at Bala Yoga for A Time for Self-Love workshop. I am most passionate about helping you learn how your inner critic sabotages your dreams and keeps you stuck in a scarcity mindset and how you can connect back to LOVE. We will practice SOULful Slow flow + Yin yoga accompanied by 4 yogis to give you hands-on-assists and massage + a powerful mantra in movement to release fear followed by lavender eye towels during savasana. Reserve your space $35 (early bird) / $45.