In real life, we’re all on a mission to “find our tribe”. It seems to be the call for all of us to surround ourselves with people who enable us to let our freak flag fly, inspire us and love us no matter what. An awesome group of girl bosses who will always have our back, believe in our dreams and celebrate our successes, pick up the messes, call us out on our shit and know and love the truest, rawest versions of ourselves, good or bad. I’m lucky enough to have a pretty kick-ass tribe of girls around me, and believe me it really is as #lifegoals as it sounds. I know how grateful I should be, I do my absolute best to nurture these friendships how they deserve, and with such an amazing group as a benchmark, I can be pretty choosy about the kind of people that I choose to let in to my life.
But what about our online tribe? With the amount of time that we all spend on instagram these days, we actually end up spending more time than we realise with the people and images we see when we’re scrolling through our feed, or the instagrammers we engage with. The average person now spends about 2 hours per day on instagram (And let’s face it, for some of us it’s a lot more – be honest) so chances are we might actually be spending more time “with” (or at least stalking) our online tribe every day than we spend with our real-life friends. It might sound crazy, but it’s true! Social media has filtered into our daily existence so much that at times it can feel impossible to escape. So what happens if we’re following an online tribe that isn’t really that good for us? Accounts that make us feel like we’re not enough, whether it’s by giving us body envy (or let’s be real: handbag envy) or posting about things that don’t match up with how we think or what we actually care about? It suddenly dawned on me the other day how unhealthy this is and most importantly how much we don’t even realise we’re doing it. Following accounts that make you feel bad when you look at your feed is basically the equivalent of hanging out with a group of toxic people every single day!
“Surround yourself with people who lift you up.”
If you read my post about fresh starts and how I’m giving my online life a fresh start, you’ll know that I recently noticed how much my online life doesn’t match up with my real one. Not only did I realise that it had started making me feel FOMO, anxiety and all those feelings of “not-good-enough”-ness when I looked at my social media and was pushing me to create content that fitted with the rest of the ‘tribe’ I was seeing online every day, it was also giving people an impression of me that wasn’t who I really was at all. So much so that new people I met would sometimes have a completely false impression of me and my life based on what I posted on instagram. ( For reals: I went on a tinder date last week and the guy in question was like “Where did you come from? You’re not how I expected you to be on instagram at all!” – and I promise that was meant in a good way about personality and not about me face-tuning my selfies!!) As much as it can be nice to surprise someone and out-do their expectations of you, it also comes with a fair amount of judgement, feeling frustrated that people don’t “get you” or you need to prove yourself or explain in order for someone to realise who you really are. Over time, the whole thing can be seriously draining and unhealthy; constantly in a sense of discomfort with your life versus how you feel your life should be because of what you see from other people online. I’m so totally over scrolling through my feed and being left with a sense of negativity, thinking that my life isn’t good enough or I should be doing things differently!
I’m, like, totally over my instagram feed
I’m hoping I’m not the only one who feels this, even if it’s just a little bit. Do you feel the same way now that you think about it? Well, I decided that my online tribe needed a total overhaul if I was going to stop it from being a negative presence in my life or a niggling seed of self-doubt that I couldn’t escape every time I looked at my phone. Maybe you feel inspired reading this to do the same, or maybe there are a few things you could change about your online tribe that might make you happier? Read on for my top tips on how to find a healthier, more inspiring, more #girlboss online tribe for you, whatever that might look like.
Cut that sh*t out
It sounds brutal, but the first step is to purge purge purge! Be really honest, and unfollow any accounts that don’t make you happy. Depressed by seeing that girl who just reminds you how many designer bags you can’t afford? Unfollow! Tired of seeing face-tuned selfies from girls with matching plastic-surgery faces? Be gone! Want to follow people who post meaningful captions instead of emojis? Click that button! That model who makes you never want to wear a bikini in public again? Get rid! It might sound extreme but if you’re honest, is convincing yourself that you’re following these people for #beachbodyinspo really a thing or are you just making yourself feel miserable and guilty every time you eat a biscuit at the same time as scrolling through instagram? I am slightly worried about writing this as I know everyone’s opinions will be different about what they do and don’t want to see, and that’s totally fine. That’s what finding your tribe is all about – you want to be around whatever makes you feel good and that’s different for every one of us. Just because I’m way too lazy with my beauty regime to want to watch makeup vids with a million steps and 7 shades of eyeshadow doesn’t mean you can’t love it. You do you! And make sure your instal-feed is “doing you” too!
Spend time away from instagram
Even if we’re only following the most super-inspiring accounts from our online soul-sistas, too much social media is still never a good idea. Whatever the account, generally you can be sure you’re just seeing someone’s highlight real and it’s never going to be healthy to compare that to your IRL behind-the-scenes. Our brains are so plugged in to the digital world so much of the time it’s important to make sure you take a break. It’s even been announced just this week that Facebook and instagram are rolling out plugins to show you how much you’re using their apps and cut down your social media time in a mission to help with mental health problems and addiction related to social media! My top tips? Four words: buy an alarm clock. Stop taking your phone to bed with you! Give yourself a cut-off time at night, or a start-time before you go straight on your phone from bed first thing in the morning. Download an app like Moment that shows you just how much you’re looking at your phone and the amount of time you’re really spending on your social platforms, or enforces a cut off time. Or try changing your iPhone settings to switch your phone to grayscale whenever you triple tap your menu button – it sounds basic but it’s proven that without the colours to stimulate it, your brain automatically doesn’t want to be on your phone as much because it doesn’t look so inviting (Find out more in this article! For more tips on how to digital detox your life easily, read my post here.
Now comes the fun bit: filling your feed with awesome content that makes you want to scroll, and even better makes you feel good while you’re doing it! Find more accounts that inspire you and people that are on your wavelength: whether it’s their fashion sense, personality, inspirational captions or relatable content, or finding people with the same weird niche interests as you. Follow channels that fire you up, make you want to create or make you want to engage with the people behind them! And build your community from there. It’s easy to create connections online, make new insta-friends and build a tribe of people who all love each others’ content. Follow people that make you want to grow, explore, and basically be more you instead of those that make you feel like you need to look/be/talk like someone else!
Find your tribe
It might sound obvious to some of you, and I know plenty of people who are already picky about following only the accounts that really inspire them, but you can also quickly end up with an online life that looks totally different from the one you want in real life without even realising. It’s all too easy to click that follow button when you discover someone through another account or find one picture of theirs that you like takes a millisecond, without thinking about who you’re unconsciously letting into your life or your headspace! So who’s with me? Let’s cut out the negativity that social media can bring into our lives and minds and find a tribe that makes us feel great whether we’re on or off our phone!