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February 17, 2016

Instagram & the Age of Validation: How to Rebel.

"Girls on Tour," Gary Knight, Flickr

“When you are born into a world in which you don’t fit in, it is because you were born to create a new one.”

The words splashed on the screen of my 128GB rose gold iPhone 6s. I smiled at the photo and double-tapped it. A red heart popped up on the screen, and I kept mindlessly scrolling through my Instagram feed.

Another friend from college getting married, another girl I know clubbing until three a.m. and oh, look, a photo of a Corgi.

My eyes shot up and darted around the room. How much time had passed? How many minutes of my precious life had I wasted being obsessed with another’s?

How had I, a practitioner of mindfulness, fallen into the black hole of Instagram?

Technology has ruined us—ruined actually getting to know people. No, that’s not true. Technology has done some amazing things for our world.

Social media and “swipe right” dating apps have ruined us.

Remember the good old days ,when we went on dates and got coffee with friends to get to know someone? We asked questions about their childhood and what made them tick. Now, we go on social media and stalk the Facebook profile of their crush from third grade.

Remember when we used to invest time, energy and love into relationships? Before there was always a younger, more attractive, more blonde within a one-mile radius on that dating app that rules our lives? Remember when texting was rare, and just for making plans?

Quite frankly, I do not wish to be a part of it anymore.

It always boils down to this: Why have we stopped asking questions?

Why don’t we do the soul-searching and ask ourselves why we feel the need to spend three hours swiping right on Tinder? Why do we need others to give us validation? Why do we let our food get cold while we try to get the perfect picture for Instagram? Our parents and grandparents didn’t waste precious film on food.

Most of all, why do you think I am weird because I don’t need Instagram likes, Tinder matches or my phone blowing up to feel good about myself?

Why is it such an act of rebellion to love ourselves?

Why are you so offended by my self-confidence?

Rebel with me. Delete all the apps. Email your friends. Write them letters. Talk to people face-to-face.

Here are 10 things on which to spend that extra 10 minutes you will now have in your life:

1. Yourself—whatever you need.

2. Meditate.

3. De-clutter your closet.

4. Stretch or do some yoga.

5. Cook something new.

6. Read a book or magazine article.

7. Slowly drink that cup of coffee.

8. Call an old friend, or your parents.

9. Make a new friend.

10. Make a list of all the things you love about your life.

Then resist the urge to Instagram all the cool sh*t you just did!

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Relephant Read:

Essena O’Neill: An Instagram Star Learns a Life Lesson the Hard Way.

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Author: Olivia Morrigan

Editor: Toby Israel

Image: Gary Knight/Flickr

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Olivia Morrigan