in many ways, instagram is great. in others, it’s toxic. 

do i have a ton of followers? no
do i get a ton of likes on my photos? no.

i’m not going to lie, does that bother me? yeah, sometimes. do i occasionally scoff at someone who posts a photo with an “i love kale!” caption who gets 1000 likes? yes, guilty as charged. 

but, that’s just my own relationship with validation bubbling to the surface. i’m human. my need for validation is just as present as it is in most people. validation reminds us that we have a purpose. so it’s easy to get sucked in because on some level, we all want our existence to be validated. 

it’s ok for those feelings to arise, as long as you can keep them in check. the tipping point into toxicity comes when you start to morph yourself to attract more likes, more followers, more comments. what helps me detach from the need for validation is this simple question:

do i feel fulfilled with where i am in my business? YES. 100 times yes. 

and if you’re not running your own business, simply replace the word business with “life”. so should i really care about followers and likes? no, at least not in this point of my business. because i’m very busy connecting with incredible people doing what i love to do - and what more could i ask for?

instagram, like anything else, is a tool. it should not be the means by which you define your success. as you begin to shift what you have to say to fit what you hope others want to hear, you’ve started to abandon yourself and dwarf your creativity. and in my humble opinion, authenticity speaks louder than likes.

rather than looking at instagram as a source of validation, i’ve used it as a tool to help me exercise my voice - which is something that struggle with. i make a conscious effort to try and post regularly, because it gives me an opportunity to slow down, untangle my thoughts and write about what’s present for me, that day. and in doing so, i practice voicing my inner musings, which is not something that comes easily. 

by sharing, i’ve connected with people in ways i never would have expected. some people i haven’t spoken to in years will surface. others who i assumed weren’t into the inspirational “woo woo” have thanked me for what i’ve chosen to share. and some who i didn’t even know read my posts (funnily enough, because they don’t physically hit like) and have decided to work with me. so had i given in to my inner demons or stopped posting altogether, i might have never understood the impact of exercising my voice.

trust that when you stay true to yourself, you will connect with the people that you’re meant to. take a deep breath, and as you exhale let go of the grip on your self-expression. remember to ask yourself: do i feel fulfilled with where I am in my business (or life)? if the answer is no, instagram is probably not going to be the tool to change that. and maybe it’s a sign that it’s time to do a little soul searching.