It is always so enlightening to hear the stories of our followers. We love getting you all involved in this community because we're all in this together! 💥👊🏽 Paige contacted us, asking how she could be a part of #bebonafide and immediately we knew the best way to get involved is to share part of her story. She was so brave and had so much zeal and willingness to get involved. If you ever overthink reaching out to someone, just do it. You never know what can happen from it. :)
Hello! My name is Paige and I have a love-hate relationship with Instagram.
I love how it keeps us connected to so many of our family and friends, how it can help many people start up businesses, and how it can influence others to do good. However, what troubles me most, is the fake persona that many people tend to display.
Manipulation of what is real and what is not is lost in social media. Viewers and followers begin to question the "perfection" and "realness" of the photos. This can only result in an immediate need to compare oneself or to be content with one's life. But, who can really say the latter is always what happens?
I feel that we, especially as women, choose to start comparing ourselves in every way imaginable. Or at least, this is what I do.
Am I the only one out there?
I can’t be.
I get into depressing cycles, wasting time looking at profiles that make me feel “less than _________” (pretty, capable, athletic, skinny, blessed). Then I become frustrated that my life isn’t like theirs, and that I don’t have what they have. As a result, my relationship with my husband is effected for that day because I am focused on these unimportant, superficial, false thoughts. I’m happy to say that these days are far and few but unfortunately, still make their appearance.
Am I alone?
Thanks to Be Bona Fide, I was able to find fellow Instagram viewers that felt this frustration. Thankfully, I stumbled across this account because I was following @TheRealBrookeWhite (who is AMAZING at being real), and she happened to post the Be Bona Fide event she was speaking at. I clicked on the account and looked at the amazing story behind Nicole and Laura’s goal of being genuine and real.
Then I thought to myself, “how I can I be more relatable and authentic for my fellow followers and friends?”
As this thought often crosses my mind, I am still nervous to be real on Instagram, questioning if my followers will judge me, or use my vulnerability against me. Being vulnerable is difficult. It is hard to be open and transparent, to allow others to see my “messy,” and not see my “having it all together.” But then I think to myself, how is this perspective helping others feel normal? How does a portrayal of an unrealistic lifestyle help society feel included and supported? Especially in this day when so many of us, especially women, feel that we need to be perfect by behaving and looking a certain way. To assume that we must be so perfect is miserable, in my opinion. For it is unachievable, it is harmfully obsessive, and it will only destroy you and others around you. Perhaps this is blunt, but I honestly believe it does no good to keep wanting something you cannot have. I believe the way to overcome these harmful thoughts towards ourselves it to be true to ourselves.
I feel I have some sort of calling, a responsibility to be open with my struggles and thoughts. To share my weaknesses and be vulnerable. Brene Brown (if you don’t know who she is, look her up, listen to her TED talks, and be ASTONISHED) states that being vulnerable is not a weakness but a sign of “truth and courage.” I had to think about why vulnerability is a courageous act as I listened to Brown’s talk. As I’ve thought about it, I feel vulnerability can allow us to be honest with not only others but with ourselves. It’s part of the journey to self-acceptance.
My sister, who is in recovery from a horrible eating disorder, told me something she’s learned through therapy. She said, “We cannot accept others if we don’t accept ourselves first.”
Like duh, Paige!
But really, it was an “Ah-ha!” moment to me. I need to accept things I cannot change; frizzy hair, imperfect skin, a nose that I think is too big for my face, naturally saggy bosom (TMI?) and just accept me.
Social media has its clever tricks, making us feel that “less than _____” feeling all too often. However I am striving to look beyond that, and know that everyone is struggling one way or another, and if they need to post that bikini picture to make them feel more confident, more power to them. But I want you to know that I am more than my “likes” on Instagram. I am working on this every single day, but from the help of amazing companies like Be Bona Fide, we can all help each other out. This is why I am hoping to be a more honest person with myself and my followers, to show the messy life I have, because let’s face it, don’t we all want to Be Bona Fide?
–Paige Ginther (@paigeginther)