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Is Travel On Instagram Depressing?

The antidote to depression could be avoiding Instagram.

I was recently on a career podcast where I talked about failures and what it all meant when it came to success. You know! The idea that failure is synonymous with success. That no one who succeeds can say that they don’t know failure. Well, if you’re not familiar with this, I spoke about it at length in relation to my career on The Career Passport (take a listen if you like). This got me thinking about my present situation.

Currently, I feel like I’m in a bit of the failure point of my life. Why? I’m getting caught up in that trope where you accidentally measure your success against someone else’s. This is a terrible trap. It’s something that you shouldn’t do but as a human, can’t help but do from time to time. Why is this dangerous? For starters, no one is perfect or the same. By comparing yourself to someone else, you are holding yourself up to a standard at which you cannot truly compete. All of the things that got you to this point and person X to the same point are very different. It’s kind of like the butterfly effect. Where the fluttering of wings changes things drastically. Person X may have had a flutter 10 days before you which changed the course of their life. Comparing yourself to them is a losing battle. I have been doing this in some twisted way.

Right now, I’m in limbo. I’m vague about this because in someways, I don’t want to jinx myself about all the good things to come. I will write about this at length when everything is settled (perhaps by early November), but now I’m just holding on to sanity. The way in which I hold on is to occupy my every waking minute with work, research and entertainment. But now the entertainment is getting to me. When I look at Instagram stories for highlights from a person’s day, it makes me happy. I’m entertained and sometimes, uplifted at the various journeys people take. But then I get sour. I start to obsess and think about how I wish I could have those same liberties and freedoms, ignoring what I do have. Why?

I blame the limbo. Limbo just means I’m forced to wait. My hands are tied and there is absolutely nothing I can do to progress in the traditional sense until the waiting period has ended. This has me feeling stuck. Stuck in one little hole with a small opening starting to form at some far corner but that hole is forming at an incredibly slow rate. I twiddle my dumbs since I’m not allowed to assist in making the opening big enough for me. I was only allowed to prick it once and wait for time to expand it. Had enough of this metaphor? Yeah I figured. I’m waiting! lol

While I wait I admire and then compare. I think “I wish I could be there or go to XX place or do XX thing.” I’m longing and feeling like a failure as I just hover here. Instagram adds to this feeling. I desperately want to seize my destiny into my own hands but all I can do is watch the lives of others play out. Well, the highlights. I keep reminding myself that I’m only seeing the highlights. Not the tears or the real frustrations life throws at you because that would be depressing for social media. But what do I do?

First, I have to realize this isn’t a failure or a setback. All those people doing things I wish I could on Instagram are “waiting” for their own things that I’m completely unaware of. They too might be staying tight lipped about their situations until it all plays out and in the meantime, I get to see the way they distract themselves from all the waiting.

Second, I need to realize what I do have and what I can currently achieve. The answer to both is I can do a lot and achieve a lot while I wait. There is joy to be had in those very things so I need to snap myself out of it and enjoy.

Third and most important is to constantly remember that I too have highlights that people admire and I need to be patient and kind of enough to admire others highlights when they shine on Instagram (or in other forms). Life doesn’t revolve around me and others are allowed happy. I’m not saying I feel like they shouldn’t have it when I get all woe is me but I have to reinforce that idea of happiness is deserved and I get the privilege to take a look at it.

So Instagram doesn’t really build depression. It can feed into it if you don’t take a step back and realize what the platform is and can be used for (I mean, it’s also used as a tool of capitalism and greed but that’s another story, haha). Breathe and enjoy the highlights guys. You will have yours to share (or not share) sooner than you think!

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