Don't Stop Dancing
“I do not try to dance better than anyone else. I only try to dance better than myself.”
– Arianna Huffington
There I am, making my way through the day, feeling pretty great about myself and the present moment until my hands wander over to my iphone. I have a bit of time to kill so I reach for something that easily occupies my ADD. More specifically, I take myself out of reality and into the land of Instagram.
Within seconds, my eyes are locked into the flood of scrolling images before me. Glossy pictures, pretty filters with the perfect figures in fashion’s finest ensembles, smiling faces, gorgeous backdrops and backbends in cute yoga pants - if you have ever been on Instagram, you know just what I am talking about. And while I love the fact that this forum allows us to constantly take in new artistic images and inspiration at every second of the day, I know that there is a dark side to all of it. If you are reading this, chances are you know it too.
After gathering what I thought to be a good selection of people worth following i.e. close friends, artists, spiritual leaders, bloggers, designers, travelers, a few models and conscious minded folk, I found myself checking my feed incessantly. And I realized I wasn’t alone. While out in public, I would watch as others would do the same. We had all become a bit obsessed and rightfully so. That shit is addictive.
And like any good addict, I rationalized social media as a creative inspiring sort of obsession, a healthy high. I loved seeing all of the beauty and art that could be found on there. One second, I could be soaking up positivity from upbeat quotes and in the next, be looking at pretty fashion on a model body frolicking around at a festival. The eclectic personalized visual experience was certainly pleasurable.
Until I found myself comparing, always up of course, finding the people who I thought were living glamorous fun lives and thinking “Why not me?” or “My life is so boring compared to theirs” or “Her body in those clothes. God screwed me”.
Before I knew it, Instagram was bringing out the vapid jealous envy monster part of me who couldn’t stop wanting what others appeared to have on a regular basis. And it wasn’t just happening on Instagram. It was becoming routine of my social media experience, scrolling through everyone’s edited highlight reels of their life while forgetting to keep mind that what I was seeing wasn’t totally real. I also found myself doing it face to face, idealizing someone that I was coming into contact with and forgetting that they were, too, just another struggling human being. Cue in the depression and pity party of one.
For a while, I unfollowed certain pretty people, trying to put my ugly behavior to rest. But I knew that wasn’t the real answer. I live in Los Angeles where the images of Instagram often manifest in front of your eyes on the reg. I wanted to stop this madness of comparing myself to other people and feeling like I had to be different then I was. And hiding from my triggers was not a permanent or transformative solution.
When I found this quote by Arianna, it struck me in a deep way. My only competition is myself? That blew my mind. Imagine if we all kept striving to be better versions of ourselves, improving bit by bit on a daily basis, while learning from and respecting other’s achievements and blessings but not getting caught up in comparing.
I began to pray about my jealousy, asking for guidance on how to consciously deal with it in a positive way that would yield results. I took time to accept my feelings and meditated on them. I tried to imagine the happiness that people felt when they were receiving the things that I wanted. And slowly, my reactions started to change. I began feeling excited for others and grateful for the life that I was living.
Not only was I able to view the images on my social media and feel truly happy for people getting promotions and traveling to beautiful places, but I also found myself checking social media less and less. Through cultivating more conscious awareness and love, the obsession was lifted. I found myself becoming my own source of inspiration rather then constantly looking outside for it. Instead of sending out messages of lack to the universe, gratitude was now setting me up for greater flow of abundance and high vibe feelings.
I also kept Arianna's quote in mind, remembering that I only needed to strive to be better then I was yesterday, while knowing that I was exactly how I needed to be, in the perfect place at the perfect time. Everyone’s dance is unique, and if we could all just come together and move with reckless abandon in ourown way, the world could be a pretty great place, both on Instagram and off.
Written for Addictive Daughter by Kenna Conway.
Kenna resides in Sunny Los Angeles but jumps at the chance to travel whenever the opportunity arises. As far as writing goes, she is currently working on her first memoir that has an Eat Pray Love meets Prozac Nation meets Wolf On Wall Street sort of vibe. In addition to the book, she also spends her time working on various articles and poetry. When Kenna is not writing, she can be found working as a Theta Healer and workshop facilitator at Liberate Emporium, a healing center in Los Feliz. She believes that consciousness, creativity and a sense of community are the major keys to finding true peace and wholeness in one's life on earth as a human being. Cheers to getting addicted to the good stuff!