FILTERS

4.07.2015

Catch me on a morning where I've rolled out of bed tired and grumpy, or in a moment when I've just snapped at my husband or my baby won't stop crying - and checking Instagram for a second and seeing a simple photo of someone's smiling baby in a high chair can so easily spiral into: That's such a nice kitchen. I don't even have a kitchen. I bet her baby doesn't cry and her pants fit her really well and she can eat lots of bagels and never gain weight and she and her husband never fight and I bet she heals dying houseplants with only essential oils and the love in her perfect heart. 

Welcome to my sinful-jealous-comparison-driven heart!

The problem isn't ever Instagram -- it's me. What I consume on social media ends up being a mirror of what's going on in my heart. When I'm in the thick of something, it's easy for me to become nearsighted. I forget it's just a glimpse and I see it as the whole picture. Instagram (or any social media, really) can be a quick fix -- a burst of affirmation through likes and comments. It can easily turn into a haven and a place to escape to when I'm not careful. A place where everything is beautiful and for a moment I either forget the mess is there, or all I can see is the mess around me.

It was a long winter. I struggled with depression and a bad attitude on a lot of days. What's funny is that I don't think if you followed me on Instagram you'd have known any of that. I shared photos of my baby and the occasional witty caption. Those moments were real, joyful ones -- they just weren't the entire story.  I have no problem being honest about what's going on, I just know that everything doesn't need to be shared on the internet at all times.

This photo has no relevance whatsoever.
But don't you want to watch Wild Hearts
Can't Be Broken
now?
I share photos because I enjoy capturing a moment, because I enjoy editing it and making the photo beautiful. It's fun. I want to share it because it's hard not to share the things that bring me great joy. I like the conversations it brings about. So, it's funny to me that I so easily forget that others are likely doing the same thing. Their motive in what they're sharing and why they're sharing it is actually none of my concern. How I respond and how I consume is in my control -- and I want to do that well and in a loving way.

I don't do it perfectly, and I never will. I'm still working through it and what it looks like in my life. I know the constant discussion about social media and its place in our life can feel like a tired and redundant subject, but I still think it's important, because it seems that collectively there's a whole lot of time being spent there.

When I see a beautiful photo, I want to leave thoughtful comments, and be loving and encouraging whenever possible. I don't want to be a ME MONSTER. I don't want to live in my phone. I want it to be something I own and not something that owns me (which, in all honesty I'm really bad at sometimes). I don't want it to take the place of what's going on around me. If it makes my head and my heart noisy, I know it's time to take a break. If I can't think kind things and think the best of others as I do it, I need to step away for a little bit. I don't want to be a slave to it, I just want it to stay a simple thing.

I'd be totally remiss if I didn't also address the fact that there's a whole lot of good that comes from Instagram. I've witnessed and experienced so much great community where I've seen adoptions funded, artists supported, and small businesses flourish. I've made great friends, and I've been able to see tiny glimpses into the lives of my friends and loved ones that I wouldn't have otherwise. I love that I can share in a moment of their day with them and know how they're doing. I love experiencing different perspectives. So, in reading this I don't want it to sound like "INTERNETS IS EVIL." Hello, it's kind of how I met my husband, after all.

While this all seems like a psychotic jumble of internet babble, I just really wanted to hear some perspective on it so I thought I'd throw it out there.

What parameters do you have for your phone and for social media? How do you protect your time for being present with the ones you love and for productivity? Do you put down the phone after a certain time of day -- do you go social media free during the weekend? WHAT'S YOUR FILTER?

Please, chime in! I'd love to hear any wisdom on the topic and maybe even get a good discussion going.