It can be incredibly easy to develop what’s known as “Instagram Envy,” where feelings of inadequacy and jealousy can build quickly. It takes no time to feel a mood shift from contentment to one of envious voyeurism. How can it not when you’re sitting in your jammies eating ramen noodles, and your friend just posted an elegant yet artsy photo of a fabulous dinner?
Instagram makes it easy to create an idealized version of your life, thus making it easy to start feeling down about your-less-than perfect existence. News flash: retro filters or not, nobody’s life is perfect.
Life is Better on the Internet
When we choose what other see about us, it’s natural only to post the positive and to put it in the best light (or filter) possible. Nobody wants to post the imperfect parts of life, and the culture of Instagram is to show off the best, rather than show off the underbelly. Everyone and everything can look a little bit better through the Instagram lens. That photo of the perfect happy family is only a glimpse into their lives; notice how you don’t see a picture of the crying baby, the tantrums, and the bickering that comes with family life.
Let the Healing Process Begin
Acknowledge when Instagram is starting to control your behavior and actions. Force yourself to change your perspective and see if you notice any changes. Use Instagram to suit your own needs and possibly even serve as a form of motivation. Blogger xojane has turned Instagram into a positive—when debating whether or not she should go on her morning run, she saw a fellow Instagram user post a stunning sunrise photo, which was enough to get her motivated.
Instead of feeling envious, try acknowledging others’ milestones and simply share happiness instead of sinking into despair that that’s not your life. This is easier said than done, but here are a few tips to try and make the positive transition easier.
1. Avoid “hate following”
Most of us are guilty of following at least one person we dislike, or someone whose life we can’t connect with. Cut these from your Instagram life and save room for the people you actually do like and want to be happy for. Find new users who inspire you and don’t make you feel bad about yourself.
2. Stop checking so frequently
Limit yourself to no more than three check-ins per day to wean yourself off of the Instagram voyeurism. You’ll find yourself appreciating your time more while also savoring the time you do spend on Instagram.
3. Post for yourself, not for likes
In the self-congratulatory culture of Instagram, it’s easy to get caught up in what others think about you based on the currency of “likes.” Yes, you can buy Instagram likes – hell, you can even get free Instagram likes with tools like Likezoid – but we recommend you use Instagram as a tool for journaling your life and not because you want more people to be envious of you.