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you are enough, my friend.

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My relationship with social media is similar to my relationship with my long time high school boyfriend. We were on, we were off, I was in “love”, I never wanted to look at him again. Sometimes things were pretty good and I thought we made a pretty great team, and other times he would put everything I had ever given him in a box, bring it to my house and run over it with his car while I watched. (That’s where it ended. Very symbolic and artsy, really… Oh! The drama.)

My Facebook days have long since passed. We broke up years ago for reasons I don’t need to discuss here. But Instagram is my love and my nemesis, my friend and my foe. I can say this knowing I am not the only one. Studies show that when we receive a “like” or “comment” on one of our Instagram posts, there is a small burst of endorphins that run through our body. “Ooo! Someone likes me!”, “someone whom I have never met thinks I am pretty!”, “someone approves of my breakfast!” It’s a fact people. A sad fact. When we post something and nobody “likes” it, we fall into a deep dark hole and only a quart of Ben & Jerry’s and a Sandra Bullock movie can bring us out. (That last part isn’t verified by scientists, but it happens.)

So here is the bone I’m pickin’ with Instagram, (and any other form of social media for that matter, Instagram just happens to be my drug of choice.) It will kill you. You will die a slow and sad death if not managed correctly. And managing with complete and utter indifference is a very hard thing to do. There will always be someone who outdoes your posts; someone whose life looks MUCH more put together than yours. They are up at 7 a.m. making lemon ricotta pancakes, #organic, in silk pajamas for their 4 children, #blessed, while each one of them is dressed in designer clothing and playing together quietly by the open fire. #dancingtosinatra #isntlifeperfect. Well that’s the thing, it’s not perfect, and that’s not real. I have found myself obsessing and comparing myself and my life to THIS! Thinking I need this, I don’t do that, last but not least, why don’t as many people like ME?!

It’s sad you guys. Really sad. But I want to be real with you. I have been that person sulking in the corner thinking my life doesn’t compare. But guess what, my life is my life and it’s perfect and fine just the way it is. I have laundry up to my eyeballs because our laundry machine has been broken for a month! I can’t even remember the last time I made a home-cooked meal and I RARELY do my hair. I brush it like 3 times per week. And that’s fine. Because that’s me, that’s us. And when I’m not busy comparing what we have to what I THINK other people have, we’re pretty happy. I wouldn’t mind a new washing machine though. #openfordonations

I read somewhere a short essay by author Judd Apatow …. And by “somewhere” I mean a chipotle paper to-go bag, (See? My lack of home-cooking brought me to this brilliant epiphany. Winning already.) “When I was in high school there were 500 people in my graduating class. Out of those 500 people I had two best friends and five other real friends. So I had a true connection with seven people and did not have a true connection with 493 people. Now I create stories and hope that 500 out of 500 people will appreciate the work. That is impossible. I don’t love most things I see or listen to, why should they? The truth is I should be happy with seven people being touched or amused by my work. I think it is okay to accept the fact that most people won’t get you. We don’t need to like each other so much. We need to be kind and respect each other.”

I have 2,850 followers on Instagram, and guess how many people called me on my birthday? 3. Guess how many people I meet for lunch on a regular basis? Um… probably 2. And the number of people I keep in touch with via text or phone call is around 12. I don’t think anyone on the face of this planet has more than 30 “real life, I see your face all the time” friends. I mean, that would just be exhausting. Unless you’re Taylor Swift, then maybe you have more.

you are worth it - my bone to pick with InstagramSo here’s the bottom line. I just want to let you know that you are enough. You are beautiful, important, special and worthwhile. Even if you can’t take a decent photo if your life depended on it, maybe you aren’t a photographer by trade! Who cares! You are fabulous and wonderful.

Am I going to be quitting social media anytime soon? I don’t think so. Here’s the problem. I am a sucker for that silly little app. I love taking photos of my little one, I love seeing what people had for breakfast… I truly do, it’s a funny thing… and those FILTERS! I can’t stop editing photos, it’s an unruly obsession. But the comparison needs to stop. Like yesterday. I need to be greater and better than what the numbers on Instagram tell me. I need to stop beating myself up. I am me, and I am enough.

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35 Comments

  • Reply Rochelle

    Thank you for this lovely, candid post, which likely rings true for almost everybody using social media. It hits close to home for me, particularly since I’m creating / selling products which are immediately judged in a split second glance. My post today was a bit of a confirmation for myself, since I do the comparison game too (often). I see much newer shops’ follower counts explode off the charts and they are sometimes just copying another shop or their goods are poorly crafted (or made in China, but claiming to be a wholesome, homegrown shop selling wears for dirt cheap prices). It’s sad that I feel this way and I told myself this morning to simply be thankful for my dedicated followers and friends who truly enjoy our creations, whether they can afford them or not. I’m working on my love / hate relationship with IG. So many blessings have come from it, but I just need to remind myself that I.am.enough! Thank you again for posting the #truth.

    January 16, 2015 at 3:34 pm
    • Reply headedsomewhere

      I have had conversations with friends who tell me that they stop creating because they feel it isn’t up to par. That someone else’s designs or work is better than theirs. HOW DESTRUCTIVE IS COMPARISON! It is true though, it is such an amazing way to get your name out there and to promote your brand, but it can also hinder your confidence. Your products are beautiful. I am a fan, you know that. 🙂

      January 19, 2015 at 1:21 pm
  • Reply Tawney

    I love this post!!!! I do not have an Instagram or Facebook for this specific reason, it’s addicting and as if you are relying on others to give yourself a boost of significance in this ginormous world! But at the same time I love seeing the differences of everyone’s life and the beauty of what life could be. #guiltybuttrue.
    I definitely enjoy looking at your family’s pictures. Lol you make your life look fun

    January 16, 2015 at 3:54 pm
    • Reply headedsomewhere

      This is smart. I deleting Facebook a long time ago for those reasons. I was sick of the pressure of being this or that. And then Instagram came along! Don’t start. You are one smart cookie. 🙂

      January 19, 2015 at 1:19 pm
  • Reply Brittany

    love this post, Lauren. 🙂 I stopped trying a long time ago 🙂 by the way, do you want a washing machine? I’m serious. The only problem is, it’s in Las Vegas.

    January 16, 2015 at 4:02 pm
  • Reply Lindsay Goldfine

    This brings up an topic as a whole that I think about a lot, which is just not caring in general about what other people think. The quality I admire most in people is when I know they don’t need an ounce of validation from others and they’re not driven or motivated by other people’s opinions. They’re just THEM, take it or leave it. How liberating would it be if we just put ourselves out there genuinely every day, not being affected at all about the response to what we’re wearing, what we’re saying, what we’re doing, what we’re Sharing with the world. Usually people who truly have this quality are perceived as crazy, and they really truly don’t care. Who in this case, would post an honest and true expression of themselves, get not one “like” and not be affected by it at ALL. I am working towards this. I think it comes easier with age. But how liberating! Now that’s the way I want to live my life! Honestly and confidently.

    January 16, 2015 at 11:13 pm
    • Reply headedsomewhere

      Ever since you posted this comment I’ve been thinking about how freeing it would be. I want to be this. I can’t imagine how hard it would be to hurdle that mental barrier. It would take so long for me I think to live in a way that I’m not swayed by what other people are thinking of me. Something to strive for.

      January 19, 2015 at 1:17 pm
  • Reply Lindsay Goldfine

    PS. This was a really good post ☺️

    January 16, 2015 at 11:15 pm
  • Reply Erykah

    Hey girl…IG friend, Lovenpraise here or my real name, Erykah 🙂
    Thank you for posting your honest thoughts on this topic. I too struggle with this same thing with social media. You touched on things that I have thought and then I have to remind myself to stop believing the lies that pass through my mind just by looking at a photo. It’s crazy how Instagram has this power to dictate our self worth and foster an ungrateful heart with the wonderful things we have been blessed with even if it isn’t as much as the next person.
    I’ve actually had to take breaks from it because I found myself going on and wasting my time when I could be taking care of my home, and once I did that I went on less and less however of course I still like to go on when I can but I try to make sure my responsibilities are I in check.
    Sometimes I think back to my high school days when everyone only had pagers and aol chat rooms … Oh the days…

    January 16, 2015 at 11:17 pm
    • Reply headedsomewhere

      Hey!! Thanks for your comment! I take breaks from Instagram every now and again. It helps, I agree. We need to keep ourselves in check to what is really important. That last paragraph… amen. I say that all the time! You are in SD right?! I have some “social media” moms that Ive been meaning to get together with. You should meet up with us! 🙂

      January 19, 2015 at 1:12 pm
  • Reply jolene

    It’s admirable to be candid. You were right on when you said how we just need to be kind and accepting of everyone. We all come to our places of peace at different times. Let’s be kind and gentle with ourselves. Who needs all the extra stress and anxiety? As an official “senior citizen”, I can say I did very fine growing up without the added pressure that kids have today. Life is stressfull enough. Good message Lauren. That said, I definitely do enjoy your blog, your insight, your photos, and FYI . . .you are beautiful!

    January 17, 2015 at 6:45 am
    • Reply headedsomewhere

      It is so true! I was thinking, even when I was in high school 10 years ago we didn’t have cell phones or Facebook or Instagram. We all kiiinda knew who the “popular” kids were but it didn’t seem as important. But now it’s in numbers! There is PROOF that you are “popular” or “unpopular”. It puts so much pressure, especially on young kids to be EVERYTHING! Exhuasting! Thanks for your comments Jolene, love them.

      January 19, 2015 at 1:11 pm
  • Reply clj

    As I have told you many times–You are awesome!

    January 17, 2015 at 7:59 am
  • Reply clj

    The comments I am reading are validating the essay I wrote in reponse to your post, which is too long and rambling to revisit. Lindsay, Britt, Erin, and Lauren—You are my heroes. You are not only intelligent and sensible, but lovely in every way. Jolene, you are my best friend, and miracle sister, who survived cancer and lives to bring joy, wonderment, and intelligent advice to everyone, including calling to correct the Desert Newspaper, who can’t seem to get the moon report right. HAHA Another story! Tawney, Rochelle, I always love hearing your comments. Mom

    January 17, 2015 at 8:17 am
    • Reply headedsomewhere

      Thanks for always posting such positive messages. Makes me feel good.

      January 19, 2015 at 10:06 pm
  • Reply Liz K

    I stumbled across your IG account (not the first time) and decided to check your bloggy blog out. Glad I did. Its nice to hear this from someone other than myself, ya know, its comforting to know I’m not the only one that feels this way. Instagram is a sly devil. Oh but I love it so! Thanks for spitting some truth, girl. Xoxo

    January 17, 2015 at 8:42 am
  • Reply Zoe

    This is an amazing post. You’re an inspiration! It’s funny when I realize the bloggers and other random instagram follow-ee’s out there really just live simple lives like mine. I look at your blog, Lauren, and think your life seems AWESOME and way cooler than mine, but it’s comforting to know that my laundry pile might be a bit smaller than yours. Hehe 🙂 You’re totally right about all of this! People should not compare themselves to what they see of others on social media, they should look at everything positive in their own life. Thanks for this really uplifting post! P.S. I bet your life actually is super awesome 🙂 but reading this helped me see that mine is too!

    January 24, 2015 at 12:39 pm
  • Reply Raising Happy

    “Comparison is the thief of joy” and the only thing we need to worry about being is the best version of us as we define it. 🙂

    January 27, 2015 at 9:33 am
    • Reply headedsomewhere

      I love that. As we define it. That is so important.

      January 27, 2015 at 9:33 pm
    • Reply headedsomewhere

      I love love love that quote. So simple and powerful.

      February 6, 2015 at 11:02 pm
  • Reply nicoleneesby

    it’s almost like you took all these thoughts straight from my head — but you said it better than i ever could have. 😉 so so beautiful and real. now i’m excited to share this will all my facebook friends. 😉

    XO

    February 6, 2015 at 3:40 pm
  • Reply flutterbyhannah

    I loved this. So encouraging, thank you.

    February 6, 2015 at 7:13 pm
  • Reply Claire - This Little House

    Ahhh my drug of choice is also IG, I am so thankful for it in so many ways, it’s actually how I found your blog, via your gorgeous feed. My name is Claire, @thislittlehouse_ on Instagram 😉 But I certainly have a love/hate relationship too. One day it inspires me the next day it makes me feel not good enough. I am working to keep Instagram a positive force in my life, rather than feel inferior I want it to push me creatively, and for when that is not the case I give myself a little IG break. Really looking forward to following your blog, blogs being my other drug of choice 😉

    February 8, 2015 at 2:12 pm
  • Reply Madelyn

    I normally don’t leave comment on blogs but I just had to let you know, this is the most inspirational post I have EVER read. I am certain we can all agree, this is how we feel about social media. It’s a love/hate relationship. I’m glad I’m following bloggers like you though-keeping it real! Xxxo

    February 21, 2015 at 6:33 pm
    • Reply Mary Lauren

      Thanks so much Madelyn! I so appreciate the positive feedback. You are too sweet. It’s funny, I wrote this post a couple weeks ago and I think it’s already time to re-read it for myself. Starting to let it all get to me again. Sheesh, why do we do this to ourselves? 🙂 haha

      February 22, 2015 at 6:19 am
  • Reply Suzanne

    What a refreshing post- you said what we are all thinking 🙂 I just discovered this blog and now love it.

    March 12, 2015 at 11:11 pm
  • Reply Diana

    So I just recently discovered you on IG and went a little cray on all your posts thinking the exact thing you thought of others: “her life is friggin perfect. And so is her hair.”! And then I read this and let out the biggest sigh of relief when I read you rarely even do your hair, considering I may have time to wash it thrice a week. Hashtag okaytwice. I love your honesty and humor and your little family is so adorable! Basically, you’re awesome. As are your filters. Speaking of filters, you must share which ones you use ! Better yet, why not do a post on how you take and edit them? Cause #imean ☺️

    April 13, 2015 at 11:10 pm
    • Reply mary.l.johnson1@gmail.com

      Thank you, thank you, thank you Diana!! Basically, YOU are awesome. 🙂 I use VSCO to edit my photos!

      May 6, 2015 at 4:44 am
  • Reply Lotta

    I just discovered your Instagram, I think yesterday or maybe the day before. And now your blog! What can I say, I love it! Your words in this post, so true. Comparison is the thief of joy! Really sad… why do we question ourselves because of an image we ourselves create of others, never knowing the whole truth! As Diana already said I never would have thought you did you hair three times a week 😀 Ha! Love all the details you put into this post! 🙂

    So glad I “found” you! Greetings from Vienna,

    Lotta

    July 24, 2015 at 9:20 am
    • Reply mary.l.johnson1@gmail.com

      Thank you so much! Yes, it is so true that comparison is the thief of joy. I need to remind myself often. And yes, my hair… oh goodness. Three times a week MAX. haha!!

      August 3, 2015 at 1:24 pm
  • Reply Shuli

    It was almost as though reading this post was reading my own journal… I couldn’t have explained my relationship with Instagram any better than you were able to. Thank you for that. Thank you for helping me see that others have felt and continue to feel the way I often feel about social media. Your Instagram is splendid by the way, and I only hope that one day you are able to see it through the eyes of your many followers 🙂 . Well anyway, thank you again for your honesty and I will be keeping this blog post as one of my favorites. And will be reading it often. Good luck and best wishes- Shuli

    July 24, 2015 at 10:04 am
    • Reply mary.l.johnson1@gmail.com

      It really is amazing to see how many people struggle with this very thing when so often we feel alone and that we are the only ones! Thank you for reading and for your thoughts. xo!

      August 3, 2015 at 1:25 pm
  • Reply Bruna Zahner

    Hi! I just came across your insta account yesterday and I swear it was the stars aligning because I soooo needed to read this post! It is the ultimate truth! I am so guilty of this from time to time, especially being new to the blogging world, so thanks for that confidence boost at just the right time 😘

    November 22, 2015 at 5:27 am
  • Reply Mara

    Thank you for this Mary! This reminds me of the most important thing in life, I need to be more bissy accepting myself in stead of comparing myself to others. Thanks a lot. X

    June 21, 2016 at 5:20 am
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