Why I Got off Social Media

Vanessa Volpicelli, LMFT

First, everything is fine. This was not an impulsive decision at a low point in my life. It is a calculated and thoughtful journey that I want to share with you.

Second, I am not about to list off all the “horrible” facts and research about social media or demand that you delete your whole life and live in a forest. Instead, I want to walk you through my personal relationship with social media and why I am ending it (for now).

So there was a mini meltdown that spurred the thought – “I’m deleting Instagram”. I’m not on other social media platforms, so Instagram was my everything. I have always loved pictures and the arts, and Instagram was the most visual and at times truly inspiring for me. I followed interior designers, models, food accounts etc. For me it was so much more than using flattering filters and sharing my life, it was also a way I could connect with some of my main passions. I discovered places to take my friends, meals to cook, and ways to live a better life. But, back to the mini meltdown…

It is not a very unique story.
One that many of you have surely experienced.
The details are not interesting, but the feelings are. It provoked envy, inadequacy, regret, negativity, and irrationality. From one silly photo, every fear and doubt came rushing to the surface. I wish I could say that this was the experience that prompted my decision to delete IG, but that isn’t true. I have had many mini meltdowns like this, but disregarded them, committed to the process of taking pictures, posting about my life, and peering into the lives of others.

My second wake up call. I know I said one of my joys on IG was following models, and it is, but it is also toxic. Sure, I loved seeing their outfits, their travels, and just their general fabulousness. But I also became self-loathing, hypercritical, and narrow minded. Their bodies and clothing seemed like the gold standard and I was subpar. Maybe even worse than subpar, it led me to believe they were living life the “right” way and that I could only hope to be a second rate version of them. This is a double whammy – not knowing our blessings and not valuing our uniqueness. And it is the haunting thought that I might not really know my SELF, that finally pushed me to get serious about changing my relationship with social media.

I thought about how the images and material we consume influence us. This of course can be a great thing. Think about all the inspiring people in the world and how they have paved the way for us. But what happens when the people that fill up our feed are not people we want to emulate? How does consuming their images influence our standards? I had this realization about 6 months ago and actively unfollowed people that I did not feel were elevating my game.

But then I ran into my current problem. Even inspiring people are dimming my light because they are limiting my creativity. It is so easy to type in a hashtag or go to a celebrity’s page, have unlimited access to images for “inspiration”, and mindlessly copy. It is a form of laziness and settling (not to mention a breeding ground for insecurity). I realized that the true joy of hand-picking the fabric of my life was being supplanted by convenience. I didn’t have to work hard to put together a cute outfit, cool trip, or interesting meal. This is what I want to move away from. My goal: having very little input from others so I can find my deepest source of clarity and individual expression.

My next step is to delete the app (my profile will remain). I’m narrating this time as a “pause”, a moment in my life to reflect and re-emerge as a more authentic version of myself. This isn’t about running away, it’s about finding my way. The more I can uncover myself, the more I can position myself to attract and manifest the life that is right for ME.

Stay tuned for a post on how it’s going! Wish me luck!

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