Just How Toxic Is Instagram, Anyway?

Just How Toxic Is Instagram, Anyway?

Quick answer?


I can already tell that you guys are rolling your eyes at me. And yet, you clicked on the article, so you're ready to be convinced. Well, I'm only too happy to oblige in reminding everyone present that there is a person for everyone out there. Not necessarily a one-size-fits-all soulmate that aligns perfectly with every aspect of your being, you don't even know yourself yet, how could we expect someone else to?

What I'm saying is, we've all been so enduringly taught to subscribe to the need to find flaws in ourselves. Basically, any deviation from what has been established as the norm (straight white, rich male) is painted unalterably as a flaw. Sometimes, the flaw can be fixed; solved with some capitalistic consumption and confidence. Other times, however, we absorb into our personality a defense mechanism whereby we can protect ourselves with self-deprecating humor and a tendency towards isolating ourselves when things get hard.

As a result of all of this, many of us have been conditioned to view our flaws as things people can use against us.

Weaknesses that make us unloveable or undesirable, or fundamentally unworthy

Hang tight, dear readers, because I'm about to go on a deep dive into everyone's diary entries from 2012 to present… "I'm not good enough. Attractive enough. No one will ever know me. No one will ever love me"

Sound familiar? Don't worry, we all had that grunge emo phase where the world didn't make sense and we didn't know who or what we were in relation to the big machine of socio-economic players. To be quite frank, I probably don't fully know who I am even today. What I do know, is that love is out there, always. It's not a finite resource, the fact that other people have it with different traits to you doesn't mean that it's not there for you too. Like Karl Marx said, 'seize the means of love'. Well, something like that. I didn't major in economics, lol. But you get my drift.

That's all well and good saying it, but how do you know?

A quick and easily googled statistic for you guys: there are approximately 7.7 billion people in the world. Depending on which way you swing, your geographical location, and sexual orientation, you've got a few billion at your disposal. Yes, you can't see all of them or know or even conceive of such a huge number, but it's good news. When we feel alone, unloved, or unloveable, we would do well to remember that in a batting average out of that many people, all of whom are looking for love just like we are, we're bound to hit a few home runs.

You probably have a few stadiums worth of people that would love to get to know you. We are just taught from day one that unless you look like 90s Jennifer Aniston, it's a no-go. Well, my friends, most of us don't look like 2019 Jen, and there's nothing wrong with that. But yet, people still find love. People open their hearts to being vulnerable and emotionally available and essentially, are willing to fall flat on their face and get hurt because they know it's worth it.

Yes, it seems like everyone around you is having a better time, is more successful, prettier, or more together. In general, making you feel bad. Do you sense the point I'm building to here?

It's all lies! All filters! Bland captions that they spent a week thinking up! Parents that had to stand and take fifty bikini pics of their daughter when they just wanted to relax on the holiday!


Life isn't a game that can be won or lost on the basis of some arbitrary social markers. More than that, you can't 'succeed' in life by living your life on someone else's terms. Or indeed, by living someone else's life. Simply doing what you think you ought to be doing won't always bring you satisfaction, in fact it will rarely coincide with things that you yourself actually prioritize. Because of this, you will soon realize that the things around you that are offering the illusion of 'self-care' and 'self-improvement' are causing you undue stress.

This is because the pressure that you put on yourself to achieve them isn't proportional or tempered by your emotional investment. As such, you are pushing yourself to do things that simply aren't worth your time, or are worthwhile endeavors in principle, just not necessarily for you, personally. Recognize something here?

It can be hard to step back

To recognize the aspects of life that we have acclimatized to aren't always things that we deserve to experience.

We are often faced with the startling discovery that there is more to life than we know in our current experiences. There are pancake houses that we didn't know existed. Friends that live around the corner who we never realized lived so close. Even going to the park in the afternoon on a dog walking day and seeing so many Chihuahuas that you thought you might die of cuteness.

Delete Instagram, though.

Or unfollow the celebrities and influencers and determine your own feed.

Make it sunshine and rainbows.

Sometimes I think we forget we can actually control the narrative.