Minimalism: how to be content with what you already have

content-with-what-you-have

 

Most days, scrolling through my Facebook feed feels like stumbling through an inferiority minefield. I have to work really hard at being a good person and being happy for my friends that they have such wonderful lives. 

 

The other day, one of my friends shared a picture of himself at the airport, backpack on, passport in hand, a big smile on his face as he was about to board his plane to Greece.

 

I kept scrolling and saw another friend sharing a #bumpdate, she’s twenty weeks pregnant and the bump is really starting to show now.

 

As I scrolled down further, I saw another friend’s cute little coffee date from her weekend away down south. 

 

I breathed out a deep sigh as I gazed down at my sweatpants, the slippers on my feet and the cat on my lap. It is in these moments that my life feels too small and simple. So small it is claustrophobic. 

 

Green is one of my colours, but envy still doesn’t look pretty on me. 


 

As a society, we tend to focus on what we lack. We are constantly receiving these messages that we need MORE to be happy. That what have can’t possibly be enough for us. Marketers play at our weakness, they know how much we love the new and novel

 

They tell us that if we truly want to be happy, what we need is another sweater, a bigger TV, and a week-long holiday somewhere exotic.

 

They are in the business of selling, so they sell us a fairy-tale that MORE STUFF will make our lives better.

 

However, I’m beginning to realise that if I don’t make a change in my attitude, if I can’t learn how to be happier with a life that is small and simple, I will spend my entire life discontent. 

 

I’ll always be chasing after these things that are supposed to make me happy, only to find out I’m not satisfied once I have them.

 

The new and the novel don’t satisfy us for very long. Pretty soon the excitement wears off and once again we are left aching for more. 

 

minimalism, how to be content with what you have, decluttering, finding contentment, buy less stuff, own less, keep what sparks joy

 

Last week I went on a lovely day trip. We went shopping and walking and soaked in the hot pools. It was a full, busy, wonderful day. I came home feeling tired and content

 

And yet, a week later I feel the same itchy, desperate desire to get out and do something interesting. Our outing last week didn’t cure me of my need for adventure and excitement. 

 

Because the truth is, no matter how many countries we travel to, there will always be another we are dying to see. No matter how many books we read, there will always be a new one we just have to read. No matter how many pairs of shoes we own, there will always be THE pair that we believe will finally complete our wardrobe. 


 

There are times when contentment is a necessity and for me, this is one of those times. 

 

Right now I am studying and we are living off one income so we can’t afford much new. No new shoes, no new books, no trips to exotic destinations or flashy electronics. 

 

What I have has to be enough. 

 

being-content-with-what-you-have

 

But instead of feeling sorry for myself, I am taking this as an opportunity to be content with what I HAVE instead of giving into that endless craving for MORE

 

We have a roof over our heads. We have groceries in the fridge and pantry. I have an entire wardrobe stuffed full of clothes and shoes for every imaginable occasion. And I live close to a library with hundreds of books that I am still yet to read. 

 

I have enough. I have plenty. I do not need more. 

 

This is the mantra I am repeating to myself as I avert my eyes walking past sales racks and unsubscribe from shop mailing lists. And when I start to feel that claustrophobic fear that my life is too small, I am reminding myself that I have enough time as well.

 

There are plenty of years ahead for me to get to live out my dreams. I don’t need to pressure myself to cram it all into this year. I don’t need to accomplish all of my goals right now. There is enough time. 

 

Maybe this won’t be the year that I travel around Europe, but perhaps I’ll get to explore my hometown and finally conquer some of those more advanced mountain biking trails. 

 

Maybe this won’t be the year… I live in my dream home, but perhaps I’ll get to live in my very own flat for the first time. 

 

Maybe this won’t be the year… I make an 80k salary, but perhaps I’ll finally get to do a job I really enjoy. 

 


 

Minimalism is teaching me that what I have is enough.

 

I don’t need more space, I need less stuff.

 

Less stuff that I picked up at an op shop because it was super cheap and kinda cute. Less stuff that I was given and feel too guilty to give away. Less stuff that I bought trying to be someone that I’m not. 

 

Less stuff distracting me from the beauty and joy that is hidden in the ordinary, dull, normal moments of every day.

 

I’ll leave you with this quote I found which sums up why I am a fan of the minimalist lifestyle. A simple and small life is enough if it contains more of the things we love and less of the things we don’t.

 

“Minimalism is the intentional promotion of the things that we most value and the removal of anything that distracts us from it.” – Joshua Becker

How to tell the difference between mindful eating and dieting

mindful-eating-and-dieting.jpg

 

Most of us now understand that dieting doesn’t work. We’ve stopped drinking the awful meal replacement shakes. We don’t weigh ourselves every single morning. We do our best to eat more healthy food, to eat less unhealthy food and to move our bodies more. 

 

I’m delighted to see this shift in attitudes toward our bodies and the way we take care of them. 

 

And yet, sometimes I still find myself frustrated with the way diet culture manages to sneak back into people’s way of thinking. 

 

Occasionally I will have to bite my tongue to prevent myself getting ranty when people start telling me about their “healthy eating plans.”

 

These scientifically-proven, weight-loss claiming, celebrity-endorsed ways of eating that people are quick to defend, ‘it’s not a diet!’

 

I get the struggle though. It can be really confusing to know what to eat and what not to eat when there is so much information and misinformation bombarding us every day. 

 

How to tell the difference between mindful eating and dieting, intuitive eating, mindful eating, eating mindfully, mindfulness, practicing mindfulness, intentional living, simple living, diet culture

 

How do we avoid dieting while still eating in a way that nourishes our bodies?  I have a few thoughts on the subject that I’d like to share with you today, informed by my Bachelors degree in Food and Nutrition.

 

How to tell the difference between mindful eating and dieting…

 

Dieting: You can’t stop thinking about food

 

One of the issues with dieting is that it creates a feeling of scarcity. If we restrict what we can and can’t eat then it has this effect of making us want it more. 

 

For example, on a diet you may tell yourself you can’t have any sweet things and you’ll often find that all you can think about is chocolate, cakes and cookies. As though your body is trying to sabotage you!

 

The thing is, when you can eat sweet things any time you want, you don’t feel those same intense cravings and you are less likely to binge on them when you do eat them. 

 

Mindful eating: You don’t think about food until you feel hungry

 

Because you are listening to your body and eating what you need, when you need it, you aren’t constantly yearning for the next time you are “allowed” to eat.

 

 

Dieting: Ignoring hunger/fullness cues

 

On a diet you no longer trust your intuition or listen to your body for cues on how hungry or full you may feel.

 

Instead, you rely on a carefully constructed (although often not personalised) meal plan to tell you when, what and how much to eat. 

 

It is fairly obvious why this could be a problem. You are relying on someone else to judge how much and what type of food you need when they likely have no idea what your personal lifestyle looks like.

 

Some days you will be more active and therefore, require bigger/more energy dense meals. Other days you may be more sedentary and require less energy. A generic meal plan simply isn’t flexible enough to accommodate individual lifestyles and needs. 

 

Mindful eating: Being aware of hunger and fullness cues

 

Eating mindfully means you are listening to your body and you are aware of your needs.

 

You’ll stop to eat lunch when you feel hungry. You’ll eat a snack in the afternoon because maybe you’ve been especially active. You’ll put down your fork and push your plate away when you feel full. 

 

 

Dieting: Labelling food as good or bad

 

Sugar is the devil. Carbs are the enemy. Fat will make you fat. All of these ideas are not healthy nor helpful if you are wanting to eat well. 

 

No one food is bad and you certainly shouldn’t feel bad for eating it. Diets tend to label certain foods as good and others as bad. Some you can eat and some you can’t.

 

But as we talked about previously, restriction leads to cravings and ultimately bingeing. 

 

Mindful eating: Food is just food

 

You see no food as better or worse than another and you feel no guilt when consuming food.

 

You understand that some foods make you feel sick or bloated if you eat too much of them, so you tend to eat less of those. You know that other foods make you feel really good, so you tend to eat more of those. 

 

 

Dieting: Eliminating whole food groups

 

First of all, for certain individuals these eliminations are necessary – For example, if you are allergic to dairy or don’t eat meat for ethical or religious reasons.

 

For most other people however, eliminating whole food groups is totally unnecessary and is a sign of some unhealthy attitudes towards food. 

 

Mindful eating: You can eat anything

 

You don’t cut out food groups entirely, instead you eat more of what makes you feel good/what you enjoy eating. 

For example, I personally don’t like meat very much. I won’t call myself a vegetarian because I find the label too restrictive but I tend to eat less meat and that works for me. 

 

 

Dieting: Ignoring your cravings

 

When you find yourself desperately craving chocolate after dinner, you’ll eat a “healthy” snack or drink a glass of water or make a cup of tea to distract yourself from what you really want. 

 

You refuse to indulge your cravings and try to substitute with things you don’t really want. 

 

Mindful eating: Allowing yourself to indulge your cravings

 

Instead of ignoring your cravings you will indulge them. But when you do so, you indulge mindfully. You take your time and pay attention to what you are eating. You enjoy every bite and stop when you feel satisfied. 

 

indulging-your-cravings.jpg

 

Dieting: Tracking what you eat

 

You’ll have some method of measuring every single thing that touches your lips. Whether that be weighing your food, tracking calories or using a point system. 

 

You are aware of everything you eat, which may sound mindful but is really just restrictive and controlling.

 

Mindful eating: You don’t track your food

 

Instead, you trust your body to give you cues about how much and what sort of food you should eat.

 

 

Dieting: Making your social life a struggle

 

Eating out will be nothing short of a nightmare for you. Your dietary requirements will make ordering a difficult and uncomfortable experience.

 

You probably won’t end up eating what you really want and will spend the evening hungry and/or eyeing the delicious food your friends ordered. 

 

You may even find yourself feeling anxious or avoiding social situations that involve food altogether. 

 

Mindful eating: Socialising is enjoyable

 

You impose no rigid restrictions on food. You don’t have to wait for a cheat meal or cheat day to enjoy good food or hanging out with your friends.

 

You order what you feel like and enjoy every bite because you recognise that this is simply one meal and not a reflection of your overall eating patterns. You know that life is too short to miss out on delicious food and fun times with friends.


 

I hope this helped clear up some confusion for you. For more tips on how to eat mindfully, check out Kylie’s blog – immaeatthat.

Also, take a look at my previous blog post- mindful eating: 5 simple ways to be present while you eat.

15 positive affirmations for confidence

 

Gaining confidence is something I have been trying to achieve for most of my life. 

 

I suppose that makes sense since it isn’t something that happens overnight but rather is a process, one that may take a lifetime to complete. It reminds me of the way the leaves of a fern gently unfurl. Tiny, microscopic changes occur as the plant allows itself to take up more and more space.

 

That’s how I tend to think of confidence as well – Being bold enough to take up space.

 

These days it seems like a lot of us (especially women) are doing the opposite. We are shrinking, hiding or worst of all, apologizing for taking up space.

 

We minimise ourselves and try to avoid making any sort of fuss.

 

We are so afraid of disappointing people that we prioritise others needs before our own, leaving us burnt out and exhausted.

 

We want to be these super women who can do it all without even breaking a sweat so we refuse to ask for help or admit when it’s all too much for us to handle.

 

And we allow ourselves to believe this lie that we can only show up once we are perfect. Because nobody wants to see our mess, our flaws or our imperfections.

 

“Just as bravery is not the absence of fear, neither is confidence the absence of imperfection.” – Ashton Smith

 


 

Recently, having to muster the strength to face people has been a real struggle. My life circumstances have felt overwhelming and having to slap on a cheerful face or make small talk with people outside of my home was simply too much.

 

I guess I fell into the trap of believing that I could only show up once I was perfect too.

 

In my head, the reason I didn’t want to face the world outside my windows was because I was too messy. I had too much drama going on in my personal life. Everything felt too uncertain and too complicated.

 

It is easy to blame a lack of confidence on outside circumstances. I tell myself these stories often…

 

I will feel more confident when I have a full time job

I will feel more confident when I am a married woman. 

I will feel more confident when I have my own house. 

 

These outside factors glimmer with hope. Surely they will give me the safety and security I need to be myself in this world. 

 

If I just figure out what I am going to do with my life, if I just have a place of my own to come home to, then I’m sure I’ll be brimming with confidence. 

 

But the truth is that life is filled with uncertainty. There will always be room for us to grow into and that will always bring doubt and fear. 

 

And hard as we try to keep all our ducks in a row, life throws curve-balls which make our outside circumstances too unpredictable to base our confidence on.

 

We won’t gain confidence from external circumstances because confidence comes from within. 

 

We have to belong to ourselves before we can find belonging anywhere else. We have to feel safe and secure within ourselves rather than looking to find that security in our relationships, job or the home we live in. 

 

15 positive affirmations for confidence, how to boost your confidence, positive affirmations, self-love affirmations, truth coaches, building confidence, personal growth,

 

How do we build confidence within ourselves?

 

That’s the tricky part isn’t it?

 

Something I have been learning from my counsellor is how to use truth coaches or what I call affirmations for confidence.

 

Giving ourselves some words or a phrase which helps us to coach our mind to think differently. So that instead of dwelling on our doubt, fear or lack we can be reminded of the truth.

 

Building confidence within requires us to start thinking about ourselves differently.

 

We have to acknowledge that we have flaws and weaknesses but we shouldn’t let them hold us back.

 

Confidence is leaning into your strengths, showing up despite your weaknesses and recognising the places where you can grow.

 

And let me tell you, these affirmations have made a world of difference for me. As I repeat them in my head or write them out in my journal I can feel something shifting inside me.

 

These words carry truth and that is powerful.

 

Most of my insecurities stem from feeling like I am not good enough and don’t quite measure up. So these affirmations are what I have been using to counteract those negative thoughts.

 

If you feel like you aren’t enough or need to change something about yourself before you will be worthy of belonging then I encourage you to start speaking these words to yourself.

 

I hope they will give you the courage to face whatever today brings…

 

15 positive affirmations for confidence:

 

One. Nobody knows what it is like to be me.

 

Two. I am incomparable, I am one of a kind.

 

Three. I am fine the way that I am.

 

Four. I don’t need to be anyone else.

 

Five. I bring value to this world.

 

Six. Everyone likes me here unless they say they don’t.

 

Seven. No one can make me feel inferior.

 

Eight. I am the author of my story.

 

Nine. My opinions, feelings and ideas are valid.

 

Ten. I will not stress about things I cannot control.

 

affirmation-for-confidence.jpg

 

Eleven. I don’t have to be perfect, I just have to be me.

 

Twelve. I believe in myself and my abilities.

 

Thirteen. I am deserving of my dreams.

 

Fourteen. I am great at what I do.

 

Fifteen. I am proud of myself.


 

If you like these then take a look at my post: 25 self love affirmations.

 

Leave a comment below and let me know which of these affirmations for confidence stood out to you the most.

How to start setting boundaries in relationships (as a people pleaser)

setting-boundaries-in-relationships.jpg

 

It’s funny how we can go through life being totally oblivious to some of the ways we trip ourselves up or get in our own way. 

 

That’s why I think therapy is such a great idea. It’s like someone kindly props a mirror up in front of us and gently shows us where we have been going wrong all this time.

 

For instance, I have recently come to learn that I am not very good at setting boundaries in relationships, due to the fact that I’m a run-of-the-mill people pleaser.

 

I have this deeply entrenched fear of disappointing people and this fear leads me to do almost anything in my power to avoid letting people down.

 

 

I am a gentle, quiet person so it is easy for me to get bowled over by stronger personalities. Like those who are louder, more confident or more forceful with their opinions than me.

 

It is much easier for those of us who are quiet people to just let things slide rather than face the potential embarrassment, fuss or arguments that speaking up may entail.

 

But without setting boundaries in relationships, this need to please can get us into some rather sticky situations. 

 

We end up agreeing to go to places we really don’t enjoy and spending time with people we would really rather not. We end up stretching ourselves too thin and not leaving enough time for the things we truly enjoy. We end up wasting months and years of our lives trying to be something we are not.  

 

So why are we so afraid of disappointing people? 

 

What I think it comes down to is the fact that most of us are looking for belonging. What we want most of all, is to fit in, to be accepted and loved. 

Therefore, we try to avoid doing anything that might jeopardize that.

 

We are scared that if we disappoint someone we might lose their validation. We might end up being alone. We might be misunderstood and left out in the future. 

 

how to start setting boundaries in relationships, how to stop being a people pleaser, self care, personal growth, personal development, self acceptance, building your confidence

 

But here is the truth: Disappointment is part of adulthood. 

 

Part of life is coming to terms with the fact you might not get everything that you want. We have to learn to cope with being disappointed by other people. 

 

What is important to remember is that we cannot be everything for everyone and therefore, we will disappoint people.

 

You may like to look at setting boundaries in relationships as a radical act of self-care. Daring to put your needs, feelings and self above the comfort and security of keeping others happy.

 

“Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves, even when we risk disappointing others.” – Brene Brown 


 

How to start setting boundaries in relationships:

 

Accept yourself

 

First of all, you need to allow yourself to take up space in this world. That means being proud and unashamed of who you are. 

 

For example, I have this weird thing about cutlery where I cannot stand using a knife and a fork that don’t match. I know it is a little nutty but when I try to be cool and let it slide, I just feel uncomfortable and don’t enjoy my meal as much. 

 

But I am learning that part of loving myself is indulging these quirks and being okay with the way that I am, weird cutlery issues and all! 

 

We deserve to eat with matching cutlery if that is what makes us happy. We deserve to wear the polka dot skirt if that makes us feel fabulous. We deserve to dance to that music that nobody else gets if that puts us in a good mood.

 

You are fine just the way you are. Celebrate you. Accept you. 

 

Put it into practice: Start owning those little quirks that make you who you are instead of feeling embarrassed by them.

 

 

Consider your own needs

 

Something that has felt so freeing for me is to recognise that my voice, opinions and feelings are valid. 

 

For a long time I have been afraid of rocking the boat, of making waves or being a nuisance so I have stayed quiet and withdrawn rather than speaking my mind. 

 

My first instinct is to go along with what others say or want, without giving any consideration to how I am feeling or the fact that I can say ‘NO.’ 

 

Setting boundaries in relationships is important for protecting yourself. It’s about being aware of your needs and how any given situation makes you feel. It is about stopping to consider what terms and conditions you might need to put in place so that you feel comfortable.  

 

Put it into practice: Next time someone asks something of you, stop and consider your needs before automatically agreeing. 

 

 

Communicate your needs

 

I’m no relationship expert but I have come to learn that communication is one of the most important things in healthy relationships. 

 

It is so easy to misunderstand someone and to allow resentment to build up if you don’t clear the air on a frequent basis. The power of vulnerability is that it gives us an opportunity to confront problems before they get bottled up. 

 

First things first, you have to know yourself and what you need.

 

If it is really important to you that your significant other shows up to watch your important event, then tell them. If something your mum said really upset you, then let her know how her words made you feel. 

 

Put it into practice: Be vulnerable and share your needs or feelings with someone today.

 

 

I heard a quote recently that has stuck with me…

 

“The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.” – Joseph Campbell

 

A lot of people are afraid of growing older but I think the older I get, the more I am becoming my true self.

 

With age comes this deeper understanding of who we are and what we need to be happy. And we become less willing to compromise on our happiness as we did when we were younger.

 

But we don’t have to wait until we get older to start practicing self care and setting boundaries in our relationships. Let’s start now by putting these little steps into practice each day. Let’s choose to love ourselves even if that means disappointing others.

How to develop an abundance mindset | Community over competition

how-to-develop-an-abundance-mindset.jpg

 

This world struggles with a scarcity mindset. 

 

There is this underlying belief that there isn’t enough to go around. That we must be the first in line, the highest ranking or the most impressive in order to be successful. 

 

It feels like we are always trying to outdo each other, in our careers, in our home décor, in our families and in our quirky hobbies. 

 

We are afraid of cheering each other on or sharing the lessons we’ve learned along the way in case it helps someone get ahead of us. We want to keep everything under wraps, close to our chest, tucked away so that maybe we will have an advantage in this race for the finish line


 

When I think of having an scarcity mindset, I am reminded of this quote that my mum loved to tell us as kids…

 

“Blowing out someone else’s candle won’t make mine burn brighter.”

 

Because scarcity leads us to believe that other people’s candles get in the way of our own. That in order to shine the brightest, we have to dampen their light. 

 

And whatever we do, we should definitely NOT stoop down with our own lit candle and help someone light theirs. 

 

how to develop an abundance mindset, how to shift your mindset from scarcity to abundance, mindfulness, personal growth, personal development, scarcity mentality, lack mindset,

 

Learning how to develop an abundance mindset is so important, especially in this world where success often looks like trampling over anyone who might get in your way.

 

Where we are all in constant competition with one another. Where everything is measured, monitored and evaluated to calculate how much it is worth. 


 

I recently listened to an episode of The Little Chapters podcast on abundance vs lack.

 

The hosts spoke of the common misconception that everything we want out of life can be represented by this metaphorical pie. A pie that everyone is fighting to get a slice out of. A pie that depletes quickly and once it is gone, cannot be replaced. 

 

 A lot of us tend to live in this fear that if someone takes a slice of pie before us then we will miss out. 

 

So we scramble to get in first, to be the best, to be different to the rest.

 

We live in this place of lack, of scarcity, of fear that we might miss out.


 

I’m an Enneagram four so for me, the scarcity mindset plays out in my need to be special. 

 

One of the characteristics of fours is our deep desire to be individuals. This makes it really difficult for us to share.  

 

I want to be the only one with that exact brand of shoes so I don’t want to tell you where I got mine. 

I want to make the BEST chocolate chip cookies so I don’t want to share my recipe with you. 

I want my blog to do really well so I don’t want to share the brilliant marketing tips I’ve read about. 

 

 

I have been working really hard to develop an abundance mindset in my own life. It is so counter-cultural, so vulnerable and so not how I usually think. It takes work every day to remind myself that there is enough

 

I thought I would share some advice for those of you who are struggling with a scarcity mindset…

 

How to develop an abundance mindset:

 

Give positive feedback

 

When you read something you really like, tell the author. Leave a review for them on Amazon so their book will rank higher. Write them an email and let them know you are a fan of their work. 

 

Leave comments on your favourite blog posts. Reply to blogger’s stories on Instagram or send them direct messages.

 

Or in the real world, be kind to people. Share the lovely things you think about people instead of keeping those thoughts to yourself.

 

Remember: Other people’s success does not indicate your failure.

 

 

Share other people’s work

 

Tell your friends about the things you love. Give people recommendations on podcasts, books, Ted-talks or shoe brands that you think are brilliant. 

 

Word of mouth is such a powerful marketing force. You never know how much that exposure could mean to a small business or artist.

 

Remember: The world needs more creativity, innovation and vulnerability. Sharing other’s successes won’t mean there is less space for you.

 

 

Do things just for fun

 

Make time for things that have no external purpose outside of the moment.

 

Do some things just for the sheer joy, without needing to be productive, or perfect or feeling like you have to share the moment with anyone else. 

 

Remember: Collect moments, not things. At the end of the day, the most precious things in life can’t be measured by wealth or fame.

 

 

Stay in your lane

 

Focus on your passions and strengths rather than comparing yourself to others. You have a unique story and way of telling it. 

 

Don’t get so caught up in trying to be better than your perceived “competition” that you lose sight of yourself. You simply cannot be the best at everything. So be the best at YOUR thing.

 

Remember: We need YOU. Your gifts, your story, your unique way of creating something of beauty, inspiration and encouragement.

 

 

Say these abundance mindset affirmations:

 

  • There is enough space for everyone 
  • There is only one of me, I am a one-off
  • The way I tell my story is unique
  • Community is more important than competition
  • Creativity is endless

Do you struggle with a scarcity mindset or have you figured out how to master an abundance mindset?

The rise of influencer marketing and what it means for authenticity online

influencer-marketing.jpg

 

For some time now, Instagram has been my least favourite social media platform.

 

When I first started blogging, I jumped on absolutely every social media platform –like you do–  and I treated Instagram like a visual diary.

 

I used it to document all of the sweet, funny, lovely moments of each day and I would connect with other bloggers who were doing the same. 

 

But A LOT has changed since then.

 

These days, with the rise of influencer marketing, owning an Instagram account comes with a lot of responsibility.

 

As a member of the platform, if you want to be taken seriously, you are required to curate an aesthetically pleasing feed for your followers.

 

There is no room for spontaneity or images that depict real life anymore. Influencers have created a world where everything needs to be colour coordinated, perfectly proportioned, edited and filtered so that it looks like something you would find inside a glossy magazine. 

 

I really struggle with how fake some of these accounts seem to be. Authenticity is something I value a great deal, as I talked about in my post- authenticity and finding happiness by being myself.

 

the rise of influencer marketing, how to build an instagram community, remaining authentic online, honest blogging, authenticity, vulnerability, blogging tips, building relationships with your followers, mindfulness,

 

At the beginning of this year I found that logging into Instagram made me feel not only bad about myself, my home and my life but also about my creative endeavors.

 

I felt that no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t seem to get a perfectly curated feed. I never knew what to say in my captions. And recording videos for Insta-stories made me feel terribly awkward. 

 

Instagram reminded me of the way I used to feel in high school.

 

How there were all those little cliques and segregated groups. The sporty kids, the nerdy kids, the quiet ones and the popular ones.

 

No matter how much I told myself we were all just PEOPLE, I always felt intimidated by the popular kids. There was something about them that I could never match up to. They always made me feel inferior with their designer jeans and the effortless way they managed to always be the centre of attention. 

 

That’s how I used to feel on Instagram. Small. Insignificant. Impossibly confused. 

 

My feed seemed to consist of influencers with hundreds of followers whose picture-perfect lives were a billboard for everything I am not.

 

For the longest time I have just felt left out and left behind. 

 

I am no supermodel. I don’t have abs worthy of bikini-on-the-beach shots. I don’t go out every Friday evening to share snaps of my cocktails. I don’t have a beautiful all-white, marble counter-topped kitchen.

 

I’m just well, ordinary. 

 

Most days I go without wearing make up. I prefer to make coffee at home rather than spend money going out all the time.

 

I feel embarrassed taking pictures of myself in public with everyone looking at me. And my bedroom is dark, cozy and totally un-aesthetically pleasing. 

 

But nobody wants to see ordinary on Instagram. They want flashy, beautiful, and air-brushed. They want a real-life fairy tale all sparkly and tied up with a bow. 

 

So it leaves me wondering, where does someone like me fit in? What have I got to share that people would actually care about? 

 

I couldn’t answer these questions for awhile so I just stayed away.

 

I hardly ever posted. I became an Instagram lurker, one of those people who likes pictures and watches everyone else posting but never participates. 

 

rise-of-influencer-marketing

 

But slowly I drifted back and decided I would take Instagram seriously again.

 

If I wanted to be a serious blogger, then I needed to not just lurk online but to participate, to share and be part of this world.

 

So I started editing my photos to make them a little nicer. I started putting in a bit more of an effort to figure out the colours and style that I wanted to display in my feed. 

 

I started to see Instagram as just another outlet for my creativity

 

I discovered it could be another place to be curious, excited and inspired. 

 

And in the process I found there was a community of people just like me. People who weren’t there to make sales, who didn’t look like models, who weren’t portraying these impossible standards. 

 

I found people with the same values as me.

 

Who were passionate about mindfulness and living intentionally and being present in the moment.

 

People who weren’t pushing consumption, asking their followers to buy more and more and more. People who just wanted to share their art, their words and their pictures with the world. 

 

My kind of people.

 

And so Instagram has become one of my favourite social media platforms. I place where I can connect with other creatives. I place where I can feel inspired and uplifted. I place where I can create and share my work. 

 

 

I think the rise of influencer marketing is a double-edged sword.

 

I hate the way it encourages mindless consumption. The way it makes us feel like we are always lacking something. The way it portrays a lifestyle that is unrealistic, even for those taking the photos.

 

But I love that it enables small businesses and lesser-known creatives to shine. I love that it makes connection and community possible. And that this form of marketing gives power back to the people.

 

How do we choose authenticity over perfection online?

 

By following people who are genuine.

 

Those who share their behind-the-scenes and aren’t afraid of the messy aspects of life. Those who are honest about which of their content that is sponsored. Those who only share what they truly love and believe in.

 

By un-following people who make us feel less-than.

 

You don’t need that kind of negativity in your life. It doesn’t matter how cool or popular they may be, you don’t need to compare yourself to them. There are only so many people’s pictures you can scroll through in a day, so they might as well be people you actually LOVE to follow.

 

By choosing community over competition. 

 

Search for people who care about the same stuff you do. Find your community and build them up. Comment on, like and share others accounts, there is enough space for all of us to be creative and successful.


 

Let’s chat about this in the comments…

 

How do you feel about Instagram, influencer marketing or social media in general?