We Get to Choose Who We Follow
Written by Kaitlyn Kassis
There is no denying that we live in a digital age, and if you are not on social media in any capacity you are in the minority— like the super minority in 2020. Between Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, LinkedIn, Instagram, and the latest sensation, TikTok, it is practically unavoidable at this point. In some capacity most people connect with social media on an almost daily basis, and with that interaction comes a certain responsibility— the responsibility to be mindful of how we allow these platforms impact our lives.
Social media gets a bad rap, and often for good reason. It can be all too easy to get sucked down the wormhole of aspirational feeds that leave you feeling less than for not having 0% body fat and a perfect tan, on some exotic vacation every other weekend. And even though we know deep down that a good chunk of what we see on social media is the digitally-altered, highlight-reel of someone else life— it can still have an impact on how we view ourselves.
But here’s the kicker— you get to choose who you follow.
The next time you are scrolling through your feed take a mental audit of who you follow and why. Are you following this account because their content is inspirational or aspirational? Does their content add value to your life and *spark joy* or does this individual’s content send you down a negative spiral of comparison? I’m not suggesting that your feed needs to be made up of corny mantras and cheesy quotes, as there is nothing wrong with following your favorite athlete or celebrity purely out of interest or because you admire that individual’s accomplishments. However, if someone’s social media content causes you to feel as if you need to alter something about yourself— that’s when it’s time to take a step back and evaluate.
In addition, it is also important to recognize how we allow social media to shape the relationship we have with our body image and the relationship we have with food. Especially in the fitness space it can be far too easy to fall down the rabbit hole of comparison and wish we had “that person’s butt” or maybe I’d be x, y, z… if I followed this person’s “what I eat in a day.” Nothing boils my blood quite like those “eat this, not that” posts insinuating that rather than eating a slice of pizza, one should eat a rice cake pizza instead. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good rice cake (especially the cinnamon toast flavored ones with almond butter on top— yum!), but if you want to eat a slice of pizza don’t let a toxic diet culture Instagram page tell you to eat a rice cake instead!
For myself personally, leading up to Regionals a few years back, I chose to unfollow a lot of my fellow CrossFit athletes on Instagram because it made me feel anxious when I would see people training all-day long. I constantly felt like I needed to be doing more, more, more… even after I had already completed my programming for that day. At that point in time, that type of content wasn’t healthy for me to consume. Nowadays, that sort of thing doesn’t bother me and I think it is fun to see what sort of crazy workouts other athletes are doing! What we see on social media, and how that affects our lives can be fluid and change as we evolve through different phases of our lives.
The bottom line is, it comes down to being mindful about the influences we allow into our lives. We get to choose who we follow, and with that are able to take responsibility over how the content we consume affects the view we have of ourselves. We have the control, and that’s an empowering thing!