The act of following someone on social media today is as mindless as driving to work. We do it without even realizing. On Instagram, we click “follow” for someone we know, or someone we wish to know better or see more of. Suddenly, we find ourselves engrossed in hundreds or even thousands of peoples lives each day. We become “influenced” by them. We may buy products with their discount code in support of their businesses.
I’ve tried to research when the first instance of “following” began on social media. Was it as early as Friendster or MySpace, or as late as Twitter? For the first time in probably ever, Google did not come through. All I could find was information on how to get more followers on social media *face palm*. While I cannot find anything on this, it honestly doesn’t even matter. Following people is so 2010s! So early 2000s! As 2020 creeps up on us, we need to leave that following nonsense in the 2010s.
We need to be following ourselves instead of following other people.
Yeah, I said it. As we enter into this new decade, let’s focus our energy inward. Why? Because frankly, we’ve allowed other people’s happenings to destroy our happiness. Because we’ve spent WAY too much time keeping up with the Kardashians rather than our own affairs. We’ve spent too much energy comparing the seemingly glamorous lives of our peers to our lives, using them as a benchmark that does not even exist outside of a photo or video. It’s time to be selfish and really get to know ourselves without the noise of who we follow clouding our judgement. Let’s subscribe to ourselves and the channels of our minds instead of our favorite YouTubers.
You may be thinking: Melina, WTF? I don’t want to quit Instagram or social media in 2020 and I don’t want to shun the people I admire! And to that I say: you don’t have to. This is more about turning down the volume on outside noise and turning up the volume on inside harmony. To live our days with more consciousness and intention. I’m definitely not 100% perfect at this (in my opinion, it’s a lifelong process), but I’ve figured out some ways to reduce the noise.
Here are some ways you can start following yourself in 2020:
- Journaling. Journaling allows you to get to know yourself better and to problem solve for yourself. I would recommend starting a journaling practice at least weekly. Check in with yourself to see what’s going on up there in your mind. Write down your thoughts, dreams and aspirations. You’ll quickly find what serves you and what does not.
- Trust your gut and inner voice. You know when someone asks you to do something or go somewhere and you feel deep inside that you should say “no thanks“? Go with that each and every time. Your gut is your compass. It’ll tell you each and every time which direction to go so as long as you listen to it, you can’t get lost.
- Create more than you consume. We consume a hell of a lot of content every single day whether it’s on social media or not. If we keep consuming without creating, we become big blobs of random bits of content with nothing to show for it. Eventually, our brains will melt into oblivion. Okay, I’m being dramatic, but guys, we were made to create. Find what lights you up and bring more of it into this world.
- Cultivate and implement a morning routine. No one wants to wake up a minute earlier, much less an hour earlier. But, we should do it anyway because having time to yourself in the mornings to start the day the way YOU want to is probably the single most valuable favor you can do for yourself. Waking up to chaos and cortisol is not. Plus, you can now eliminate the “I don’t have time to do x, y, and z” from your arsenal of excuses to not get things done. You’re welcome!
- Spend time with yourself (yes, alone and get off your phone!). As an introvert, I have no problem being alone. I do, however, know a lot of people that cannot stand the thought of spending time alone. Spending time alone with yourself is important. This doesn’t even have to be like taking yourself out on a date in public. Oftentimes, for me it looks like deciding to stay in and do some reading or writing. The important thing here is to be in solitude, alone with your thoughts and dreams so that you can pay attention to what they are and begin to solve problems and make your dreams a reality. The more you process the things inside of your mind, the less scary and overwhelming they become.
- Spend less time on your phone. Pretty much everyone with a smartphone is guilty. Notifications, emails, text messages, social media, Netflix, etc. Smartphones really are time suckers. Time that we could be spending more productively. If we continue to concern ourselves with what’s happening on our phones we’ll never find the time for ourselves. Put your phone down and find things to do in the physical world that you enjoy. Soon, you’ll forget all about your phone. Also, don’t let your phone be the first thing you spend time with in the morning–let that be YOU.
- Stop judging yourself. Nobody is perfect. We all have our ups, downs and faults. In order to allow ourselves to heal and move forward in our interests, we must stop judging ourselves. Stop talking down to yourself by telling yourself that you’re lazy, unworthy, stupid, etc. because you made one or two mistakes in a day. Welcome to being human. Following other people can also be a terrible opportunity for us to judge ourselves for not having the lives and possessions that everyone else seemingly has. Everyone is faking it, so pat yourself on the back for what you’ve been able to do rather than beat yourself up for what you haven’t been able to do. You are amazing!!
- Show up for yourself. Need to eat healthier? Then eat healthier. Need to save money. Save money. Need to improve your mental health? Look into ways that you can improve your mental health. Need to clean your apartment? Clean! Don’t ignore what you need just because the things you need to do are difficult or you just don’t want to do them. You spend so much time and energy tending to other people’s needs and showing up for them, why not do the same for yourself on a consistent basis? The hardest part about doing anything is starting. Less thinking, more starting.
- Entertain your interests. The holy grail. For the longest time, I ignored my yearning to be outside in nature. Because, society told me (read: subliminally indicated to me) that as a black woman, I should avoid (read: fear) the outdoors and the elements. I also ignored my desire to express myself through writing for years because I “wAs a mAtH AnD ScIeNcE mAjOr.” Nonsense. Now, if I want to go hiking or write a book, I will. Who cares? I’ve been interested in travel for as long as I can remember. When I could not afford to do so, I still entertained the idea. I would look at the World Map constantly and I would research places I wanted to visit and read endless articles on air travel. We cannot help what we feel drawn to. Do what makes you happy.
The bottom line: Follow YOU. Subscribe to YOU. Do YOU. Own YOU.
Have a very happy and healthy New Year!