Virtual Approval

It was innocent enough. I was having a scroll. Passing some time. Checking out ‘what everyone was up to’. Later that night, as I tucked myself into bed, I felt this unbelievable sadness wash over me. “Am I pre-menstrual?” I thought. I checked my Flo App and it said I wasn’t due for a while. I moved through my memories in a desperate search for what was triggering this moment of sadness and unworthiness.

And then a feeling came up, almost from nowhere. I recalled how I had just seen a insta-friend receive an accolade for their contribution to business, another had accepted a life altering job, and yet another was sharing travelling shots of her and her amazing boyfriend in absolute paradise. I realised this sadness came from the depth of my sub-conscious which seemed to be measuring my self worth against what others were doing. Kind of weird, I mused, cause I know a lot of these post are meant to be about inspiring each other, like genuinely being happy for another’s accomplishments x But I felt none of these feelings, in fact, I felt almost cynical :-/

I was taken aback by my realisation. I had guiltily enjoyed my Instagram profile, trying to fill it with moments that made other people take notice and generate immediate approval from cyber land friends. And really, these friends that give me the buzz of ‘instant approval’ xx

I started wondering if Social Media could possibly be the cause of my diminishing self worth, or was I just an overly sensitive empath, reading to much into things?

It’s ALL Good

Instead of actually attending events, and being present at them, we seem to use events nowadays to show case our fabulous lives. Guilty! Just recently I went to a fabulous event and felt very validated by posting how great I felt that night. I didn’t share how much it cost to look like that, nor how many photo’s it took to get the ‘right one’, but people aren’t looking for truth are they? And the high I got from approval was so good I posted three more shots 🙂


There is no doubt that Fear Of Missing Out is BIG in the world of Instagram. That event you weren’t invited to but on social media looks like everyone else was. Instagram seems to reveal all these fabulous events or moments that are happening without you! And ps, I am trying to live my own life, but the lives on Instagram seem to look so much more exciting then my current train ride into work….


The constant liking and backing of the ‘popular kids’ has turned us all into ‘virtual enablers’. And the funny thing is, this kind of enabling encourages us to do even more daring photos to share. Do you know what an enabler is?


Even the professor agrees on the previous point! Coye Cheshire, a professor of information sciences at the University of California, Berkeley, who studies how we interact online,  has highlighted the power of social approval. In a study of social exchange systems like Facebook, when people were told that their networks liked the content they were sharing, they shared more. But when they were told that people in their network did not like their shared content, they actually shared even more to figure out what their network might like, and “come up with more content that was edgier!” Ever been guilty of that?


So while I am aiming for the best shot, then spending a good deal of time filtering and hash tagging it, I am missing out on what is right in front of me. While I give my all my attention to the invisible audience in  my tiny hand, I miss the greater picture of the large universe trying to get my attention, if only I could be completely present with this moment without feeling the need to share and get approval that I just experienced this moment!

I realise not everyone has an issue with social media. If you are a healthy user, then continue, by all means. But personally, I have realised that at the age of 42yrs, I still have a lot of insecurities which I believe seem to be intensified the more I casually dip into my addiction. And yes, maybe my purge of Instagram won’t be forever, maybe when I feel healthy and well, and believe that posting something on Instagram really deserves people’s attention, then I will rejoin the world of snapping my life rather then living it……..



2 Responses

  1. Jo Stewart says:

    I hear you!! I’ve enjoyed Instagram in the past, mainly using it as a creative outlet (ok mainly posting photos of my cat) and perusing the eye candy – I follow lots of designers and artists as well as yogis. However I recently ran a workshop aimed at hula hoopers rather than yogis, and used insta to promote it. It really changed my experience! Suddenly I was checking my phone constantly! Writing the workshop was a breeze, promoting it on social media was emotionally draining- and I had lots of online support from friends and positive feedback!! It’s so easy to get sucked into the dopamine hit of people ‘liking’ your posts and feeling massively insecure if they don’t. Worrying I was spamming people with too many posts, worrying that I wasn’t posting enough or at the right times. Looking at my phone first thing in the morning and last thing at night. Wondering why my videos, which literally had thousands of views on Facebook weren’t translating to actual bookings. It’s so easy to get sucked into putting more and more time and energy into something that is completely superficial by nature!!

    • It only takes one moment away from the innocence of it’s use to realise the trappings of it x The dopamine hit is a real thing! I think that was something I overlooked. I loved Insta as well, but lately something isn’t sitting right with me. I am steering away from it to see how I can reconcile those inner parts seeking approval.
      Hope the workshop went well

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