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We have all been there. Jealous of her sponsored post or coveting their seemingly perfect wedding day. Envious of his start-up's success or that trip to Europe someone got to take. Our natural instinct is to blame it on Instagram.

Instagram takes the fall for low self-esteems, low self-worth and a raging battle with comparison.

We blame it for our ungratefulness, or we use it to make up excuses as to why we are where we are. At some point of another, we are all guilty of blaming the social media monster for how we feel. But really, how we feel is up to us, not Instagram. It's up to us:

01 | Remember the Truth
Instagram, Snapchat, whatever social media you love to use—is a highlight reel in most cases. Pictures of fitness models are posted before the huge meal they ate. Brides are photographed after the makeup is done. We don’t often see the stress and tears that went behind launching that wildly successful business. We have to keep things in perspective when scrolling through social media. People are often sharing their proudest moments. Nobody is living a perfect life every moment of every day. Recognize that they have struggles too and celebrate their successes. It is a highlight reel, not raw footage.

02 | Practice Gratitude
It is very hard to feel envious when you are living with a grateful heart. Be thankful for everything you have. Be present for the life you are currently in. Savor the season. There is a mom of three out there missing her single days. There is famous person wishing they had your privacy. We all tend to want something we don’t have. But eliminate the longing for what is next and root yourself just deep enough where you are to appreciate the now. Living gratefully helps us get the most out of our current life and helps us to attract what we do desire.

03 | Own Your Self
Your self-esteem is your responsibility. Instagram does not make someone feel bad about themselves, it highlights the things in someone that they already don’t feel good about. Figure out who you are and what you want out of life. Take ownership of where you are currently. Celebrate the great things about yourself and acknowledge areas you want to grow in. If you need help, seek it. Ask your friends, community or a counselor for help. You have more power than you think. Rather than spending time envying others, take the necessary steps to create the life you want. You are in charge of how you feel about yourself. Own that. Nobody can build your best life for you. Only you can do that.

When you get down to the core of it all, Instagram is just a tool. A tool to share what people want to share. But maybe we are giving this tool a little too much credit and not taking ownership of our responsibilities as consumers. While Instagram feeds into what we think about those around us and our own life, it is up to us to determine how much.

We are in charge of our minds. We control how we receive the messages the media puts out. We are responsible for our self-esteem, our self-worth and our overall gratitude for the life we are living.

We can choose to believe the lie that everyone else is living a perfect life, or we can acknowledge the reality of the “highlight reel” phenomenon. We have given social media too much of our own power. Take it back. You’re in control.

FROM THE EDITOR
At Conscious, we are inspired by stories that cause us to think differently and think big-picture, and so we set out to tell stories with the help of leaders and influencers within the social good community. You can read more stories like this when you join as a member.

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