Tips for getting the most out of social media are helpful for any entrepreneur. Things like what times of the day are best to post in, interacting with your followers, or running great giveaways. But one tip I’ve always struggled with is curating your personal Instagram feed. If you’re a fellow Instagramer and entrepreneur you’re likely familiar with this concept. It’s all about styling your posts to match your overall image and keeping your feed cohesive. And while I see the purpose in that, especially for an account dedicated to a single business/brand, I also see a problem when it comes to your personal profile.
If you, like me, post all of your endeavors from a single profile, it can be difficult to know which path to choose. For a long time I struggled with how hard I ought to work to curate my feed or whether I should even try. It’s all too easy to promote the highlights of life and fail to give evidence of the messier realities. And I don’t want to add to that problem by overvaluing this concept of having a impeccably designed social media profile 24/7. I mean… who has energy to make that kind of thing a reality and still live life? And if you can’t do both, isn’t the choice obvious? Maybe it’s my chronic fatigue talking, but even if I wanted to I just don’t have the energy to put my life through that kind of extensive filter.
The reality of life is that it isn’t always cohesive. It doesn’t always match. And it’s more important to me to focus on living life than on piecing it together to look like it all flows seamlessly. That’s not real life. Real life is messy with loose ends and raw emotions. And scary as it might be sometimes to be committed to authenticity, there is peace in coming to the determination that you are going to be who you are regardless of the “likes” and the follows. You may not see my full reality through Instagram or social media (Because… let’s face it. Some things in life aren’t meant to have a caption or a “heart” button), but I hope that you’ll at least see something resembling my realistic life.
My realistic life is that I post a lot of cat pictures, because I love my furry buddies and they keep me company when I’m at my sickest. It’s that even though it often exhausts me, I try to accomplish at least one thing each day. Things like making dinner, putting together a bouquet of flowers, baking something sweet, doing some housework, or creating another photograph. My reality is that I have an incredibly blessed relationship that takes work, prayer, sacrifice, and patience to make it what it is. That I am watching my father fight terminal cancer and learning so much about cherishing life, trusting God, and being aware of the struggles of others. That I fight loneliness and depression. And my energy and my resources are focused on raising awareness for chronic illness by promoting the book I have written on my own life with chronic illness, but that’s not been going so well and I’m fighting discouragement. These are the things I want to be honest about because there are other people out there who feel less than useful because of their inabilities, who feel as though their worth is tied to all that the cannot do, who are ashamed to admit that they cooked dinner in their pajamas because “real” clothes are too uncomfortable for their already uncomfortable body (that was me today).
So I want to challenge you to live more authentically and to keep me accountable to doing so. It’s easy to want to hide the less attractive realities, but it’s not worth promoting something other than the truth. It’s not worth investing energy into something that ultimately hurts more than it helps.