I Can’t Stop Comparing Myself to People on Instagram

Fishing for Answers is a weekly advice column on BAZAAR.com. From fashion conundrums to relationship struggles, getting ahead in your career, and beyond, I’ll tackle your most burning questions with the truthful (and loving) sarcasm you won’t get from your therapist or mom.

“I have a really bad habit of obsessively scrolling Instagram and thinking that everyone is living a more exciting, stylish, and fun life than me. I can’t stop comparing myself to other people’s photos—from fashion influencers to my own friends. I know it’s completely insane, but I always worry about how my Instagram grid looks, not having enough outfits to wear for photos, getting more followers, and doing things that will result in good photo ops. How can I stop?” —Sincerely, Doing It For The ‘Gram

Dear Doing It For The ‘Gram,

A wise philosopher once said, “MIND YA BUSINESS.” This is one of the most important lessons to carry through both life and your Instagram strategy. What are you getting out of comparing yourself to other people’s photos (not even their actual lives) besides low self-esteem and a side of anxiety? Being a Petty Betty who wastes their energy envying Instagrams isn’t going to get you anywhere. Your friend just posted a fire photo in a great outfit? Great! Like it, hype her up in the comments, and carry on with your day because that excellent piece of content is in no way taking anything away from you.

You’re not alone in your “obsession” with having the perfect grid and getting more followers. It’s easy to get swept up in the content vortex that is Instagram, but unless you’re trying to become an influencer (and it doesn’t sound like you are), there is absolutely no need to put any deep thought into your photos. Yes, most of us have done things (bought a new outfit, picked a brunch spot based on the pic-worthy dishes, etc.) based on the photo ops, but maybe it’s time to prioritize things that actually make you happy in real life—rather than using Instagram to distract yourself from feelings of unfulfillment.

So step one: stop doing everything for the ‘gram. I know this is hard to believe, but there’s a whole world out there beyond your Instagram feed. Don’t confuse well-filtered and Facetuned photos with your own value and accomplishments.

Not to sound like motivational quote art found at T.J. Maxx, but take time to reconnect with yourself and figure out what you like and what makes you happy IRL. Consider writing in a daily journal instead of posting to Instagram Stories. Focus on yourself and your own soul rather comparing your square photos to someone else’s square photos. When you’re really and truly happy with yourself, I think you’ll find that you’re not as concerned with other people validating that happiness on Instagram. There are a million well-angled, perfectly styled blogger photos to endlessly scroll through, we don’t need to see more overly-filtered images. It’s so much more fun to see the real deal.

Healthy Instagram Alternatives:

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