I’ve talked before about how worrying it is that we seem to be turning the environmental causes into performative art on Instagram.
I’ve talked about struggling to connect with people on Instagram because of my shyness and anxiety.
Yet, for as long as Instagram remains the home of the majority of people in the zero waste and minimalist movement, it’s also the primary way of interaction with other people interested in the same journey as I am.
And as I scroll through my feed, wondering daily if I should explore another hashtag or follow a new group of people, I am reminded of the larger Instagram culture that we’re part of with our smaller environmentally friendly movements.
And the Instagram culture is a dangerous one.
Articles have been written in the past about the impact Instagram has on our mental health. How prevalent the toxic comparison culture is on the platform. How Instagram normalizes objectification and how dangerous that is for your people using the platform.
I already struggle with anxiety when it comes to my daily interactions with other people. And yet to stay connected with the causes I care about, I need to be active on a platform that has been linked to higher rates of depression and anxiety.
Which is why I’m not very good at Instagram. I don’t use it too often and I don’t interact with the people there, even though I want to build more substantial and genuine connections. But I have to be careful about how I approach it. The last thing I need is for my anxiety to get worse.
When I do browse through other people’s posts, I need to remind myself constantly that while those photos and captions can serve as a great inspiration and motivation, I should not compare my own journey to theirs.
It’s almost like a mantra I repeat every time I’m on social media:
“I have access to different resources than they do. I live in a different part of the world than they do. I have a different net worth than they do. The cost of living in Poland is different than one they are faced with. I have a different focus than they do. I don’t like stark white walls in my apartment. I don’t have the space to grow my own food yet. I don’t like big open empty spaces. And so my journey is different than theirs even though our goals are the same. There are many paths to reach the same destination, don’t stress over the fact yours might be taking longer.”
Yes. The way I’m trying to keep the darker sides of Instagram from getting to me is copious amounts of self-care and self-awareness. And still, it’s a struggle.