11 is the magic number. On Instagram that is. Is our infatuation with this magic number is preventing us from truly engaging with the real world, and the people in it?
11 is the number of you likes you need on Instagram to see a number pop up below your picture. 4 on Facebook.
But what happens if you don't reach this number? Some people go so far as deleting something if it doesn’t get enough likes. Objectively speaking, many of us know this is irrational - even unhealthy - but why do so many of us still feel better when we get likes, views, impressions?
Have you ever removed yourself from a fun situation to take the perfect picture, delayed eating at a restaurant so you can Snap your Insta worthy plate or taken a dozen or more selfies hoping to achieve perfect lighting and the most flattering angle? How much of your life do you capture, and how much do you sweep under the rug?
I believe that many of us wasting precious energy sculpting a version of our life online and as a result forgetting to nurture our real, off line, life.
Humans are social creatures, and we crave belonging. The rise of social media has created space where we can shyly, anonymously and protectively seek external approval for our goals, likes, deepest fears and desires.
However, this validation comes at a price! Our obsession with likes on social media is causing low self esteem, poor body image and negative mental health
So, what can you do?
Spend one day a week off line and limit the time that you spend online on any given day, use newsfeed blockers and other apps to help you. Additionally, limit yourself to just one selfie instead of the usual dozen and practice compassion instead of self criticism if you see something you don't like.
Remember, a filter isn't real life and real life isn't filtered.
When you post something, focus on how it makes YOU feel, and never forget that even though you have 100's or even 1000's of followers or friends .... you could probably count on two hands the number of people that really matter.
Naturally, we seek the approval from the people around us. We want to be liked and to feel like we belong somewhere, anywhere. It's human nature to think about and occasionally feel concerned about what people think about us – but equally, it’s important to be comfortable in our own thoughts and feelings. To know that we are enough - that our thoughts, likes and beliefs are sufficient - and that we don’t need a heart or thumbs up to validate that.