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The Instagram Me vs. the Real Me

Instagram is one of my biggest stressors right now. I know that sounds silly—but stay with me. 

Our human need for love and acceptance can stop us from showing up authentically. In our social media world, it has never been easier to do just that. Post what’s pretty, delete what isn’t. Share the accomplishments, hide the failures. Then reality hits, and that perfect Instagram self is different from what we see in the mirror. As a business owner on Instagram, I struggle with finding the right balance. Each day I work to sell the products and services I wholeheartedly believe in, making me want everything I post to look perfect—myself included. All this masking is truly tiring, and lately, I crave more authenticity in my life. 

My goal for the year ahead is to be more authentic. When I was first brainstorming this topic, I was going to say, “fully authentic,” but I realized, ironically, even that wouldn’t be a fully authentic thing to say. Let me start by pulling back the curtain on the parts of me that aren’t always shown on Instagram, because let’s be honest—the Instagram me is different from the real me.

I am not as good at keeping my diet 100% healthy as of late. I have a chef who helps my family and me cook. For the first time in decades, she hasn’t been cooking entirely gluten-free. She’s also been adding some dairy here and there and cooking with some butter. We’re also enjoying dessert more often. A younger me would have felt the need to control this. Lately, though, I haven’t felt the need to micro-manage. I’ve been enjoying the additions. Although it may not be 100% healthy, I think this might be a good change to help release me of my tendency to strive for health perfection..  

At the same time, I still have a huge issue watching my family eat unhealthfully. I can be judgemental when it comes to the way my family eats. It comes from a good place—I want them to feel great and be in good health because I know what it feels like to not have those things. But this hope for them translates to me not being very forgiving and, honestly, kind of bitchy when it comes to their food choices. For example, I’m not very empathetic if my fiancé hasn’t been eating well and gets sick. I need to let this go. It’s so hard to let go of the control—the authentic me truly doesn’t want to. 

I don’t always practice what I preach with clients. Each one of my clients has different needs and focuses. But as a holistic practitioner, the advice I give them can be applied to everyone. Sometimes though, I give advice that I don’t adhere to. One example is over-supplementing. I tell my clients not to do this, but I do it myself regularly. It stems from fear—I worry if I don’t take these supplements, I won’t feel good, which has created a dependence on them. I also don’t drink enough water throughout the day. I tell people to drink half their body weight in ounces of water—and more is better. But I am so bored of drinking water! I want tea, coffee (sometimes too much)— anything other than water. I will go several hours without drinking anything, and with my advice to clients, this is a huge no-no. 

I’m addicted to feeling good. But not in a good way. This brings me back to over-supplementing—I am addicted to the mental clarity and energy I get from taking them. On a given day, I take 20 or so supplements. Another example of this is my perfectionism when it comes to sleep. I get super down when my Oura Ring sleep score isn’t in the 90s. A few Saturdays ago, my sleep score was in the 70s, and because I saw that, my mood for the rest of the day was diminished. 

I still struggle with anxiety. I have struggled with anxiety for as long as I remember. And at 60, it’s still here. Sometimes my mind gets super ramped up, and I can’t focus or read, and it makes it impossible for me to be productive. While I know doing yoga and meditating can almost completely cure this, I don’t always choose these practices when I should. 

This isn’t a one woman show. But looking at my Instagram, you’d never know it! My family is an integral part of my life, health, and happiness, but due to the nature of my job, I’m not able to share them with you as much as I would love to. My fiance and two daughters did not sign up for a life on Instagram, so I respect their privacy and rarely post them. If it were up to me, I would share them every single day because they are what matters to me most in the world. You’ll just have to trust me when I say that in the background of all my photos, there’s a family full of endless giggles, supportive warmth, and so much love.

***

In today’s world, where we all have a virtual identity, I am craving real more than ever. I share these not-so-perfect parts of myself in a desire to show you my real self— because you won’t always find her on social media. To me, true success isn’t about money or recognition. It’s being able to exude authenticity and self-love to attract the people with whom I am meant to spend my time (and not giving a shit about what the wrong people think). 

Next time you scroll, don’t forget to remind yourself that you are only getting a tiny, one-dimensional snapshot of someone’s life on Instagram. There’s more to them than what you see online, and there’s more to you, too. Honestly, I prefer the raw and real version over the virtual version of someone any day.

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