a blog post on why i took a break from blog posts


when i look into the mirror i don’t see myself. 

i see a reflection through the lens of everyone else. i see a person who isn’t as pretty as that one girl, as funny as that other person, as interesting or smart as she wants to be. it’s a comparison game and the more time i spend in front of screens, the worse it gets. 

like most people with smart phones, i would say that i’m addicted to social media. or at least have been at different points. i can’t be in an elevator or waiting room without constantly scrolling through these portraits of posed lives. we’re all putting our best foot forward and there’s nothing wrong with that. i think the problem is when we forget that people are people which means they suffer too. even if it doesn’t look like it on their page.

i find myself comparing amounts of followers and likes and retweets and i can feel my self-worth taking hits all day long. these painful punches knock me to my knees and for what? for this false sense of success and security in numbers. 

but i’m working on it. 

i spent the summer seeing an incredible therapist who helped me work through a lot of the relentless dark thoughts that have always seemed to just be a part of ‘who i am’. turns out this isn’t the case. i defined my values and gifts and the things that fulfill and bring me joy. turns out those things are ‘who i am’ and not my self-esteem that day or any culmination of compliments or insults. i am much, much more than that. 

i am the sky, and the dark thoughts or days pass through like storm clouds, but those storm clouds don’t make the sky anything less than the sky. the 'i'm not good enough' thoughts can float by and i am still me, strong, and with gifts to share. 

my self esteem and identity have been linked to social approval for too long. so earlier this year i started to slowly attempt to tame this beast. in the world that we’re in, unfortunately, in certain career paths, a social media presence is crucial for success. so as much as, on my worst days, i’ve wanted to just delete everything and go dark, i don’t believe i have this option. and then i remember the lovely things about it, like all of the kind people and their words and the friends i’ve made. so i decided to work on having a healthier relationship with it. 

if i start noticing myself allowing the numbers and comparisons to crush my spirit, or if i’m noticing that it’s difficult or impossible to be present in the moment, i’ll delete the apps - even if just for a day or two. the first day i did this was painful. i kept opening my phone and going for the ghost of the instagram or snapchat apps and feeling uncomfortable that i may be missing something important. the second day was easier and i began to nice a sense of relief. 
i wasn’t looking at my experiences through a lens of what other people may want to see. i realized how much this was robbing me of truly living in the moment. i’m able to be in a beautiful moment, and not feel the need to take photos to impress other people. i can just be there and feel it all. so i guess what i'm trying to say is,

i'm working on it.

as i've been trying to find the balance of a healthy relationship with the internet, i found myself backing off more and more. i haven't written on here in what feels like ages, and i've been quieter in the day-to-day elements of social media. i'm taking time to find joy outside of other peoples' approval. it has, and will be, an ongoing battle. i care so deeply for people, i want to help, i want to love, and i want to be loved. i'm working on balancing those wants with a healthy sense of identity. 

i so appreciate your patience through this process. i would love to hear any stories or experiences working on this relationship with social media. it can be such a beautiful, connecting tool that awakens us to so many things going on in the world. but never let it rob you of joy and fulfilling experiences or relationships right in front of you. 

xo,

Ashley



Listening to:




PS

first round of tour dates are here! jesse and i will be doing an instagram livestream today (friday 12/1)  at 6pm eastern :) hope to see you there!

3 comments:

  1. we missed you! take your time, look after yourself, love.

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  2. I am a parent that is trying to help her 16 year old with the same issues that you are having. My daughter is extremely intelligent, a gifted musician, beautiful in so many ways, and a thoughtful person however she cannot see it. She compares EVERYTHING to what she sees on social media. Do you have any advice for me, as her mom, to help her through it. We are having a hard time to find a therapist she is comfortable with. I want her to see what me and a lot others see. I want her healthy.

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  3. Thank you for sharing this. It means a lot . Love you Ashley

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