Imagine having this gorgeous-looking Instagram feed and inspiring people with your cleverly thought-out captions and pretty images – and not feeling like crap.
Sounds like a dream, doesn’t it? Only, this dream feels more like a nightmare sometimes. You’re either jumping back and forth tweaking the hell out of every post, or you’re constantly second guessing yourself.
Some days you feel like a fraud, other days you wonder what on Earth you’re actually doing. Things feel more forced than you’d care to admit.
If you’re nodding your head to any of this, trust me – you’re not alone. We’ve all been there. It’s a bit of a growth journey honestly, and a lot of it has to do with finding the courage to be more ourselves online. Social media perfectionism is something I see happening a lot lately and I still struggle with it sometimes. #workinprogress
The Perfectionism “Shield”
As someone who grew up thinking that being perfect was this HUGE achievement, it’s taken me a while to start unlearning some pretty bad habits. Until very recently, I thought it was something awesome to strive for.
And then I came across Brené Brown and my world changed. I realised how much I’d been holding myself back out of fear. Fear to just be ME, fear to let the walls and masks down, fear to quit apologising for who I am.
“Perfectionism is the belief that if we live perfect, look perfect, and act perfect, we can minimize or avoid the pain of blame, judgement, and shame. It’s a shield. It’s a twenty-ton shield that we lug around thinking it will protect us when, in fact, it’s the thing that’s really preventing us from flight.” ~ Brené Brown
I actually got goosebumps when I first read this quote. So, where does perfectionism fit in with social media then, and why is it something we shouldn’t be striving for?
In short, it keeps us from moving forward and showing up as our true selves, which doesn’t exactly inspire genuine connection.
It keeps us small, and it keeps our tribe of like-minded people running for the hills. The same people who, by the way, want nothing more than to see the RAW and REAL you so they can resonate, feel connected, support and cheer you on.
So HOW do we switch this around?
How do we unlearn some of these bad habits and encourage more real, authentic connection? I’m sharing 3 simple tips that have been helping me create a lot more authentic connection on Instagram:
Embracing Social Media Imperfection
1) SWITCH THE “FEEL” FACTOR
One of the easiest ways to cut social media perfectionism is to switch your “feel” factor.
Before you post something, ask yourself this question: “Am I posting this to make me feel good, or am I posting this to make someone else feel good?”
For example, if you’re building a coaching business and you’re only posting selfies with meaningless captions like, “Slaying today like a BOSS!” or “Feeling cute!!!” – let’s be honest, that isn’t going to inspire genuine connection. Sure, you might feel empowered after posting that great-looking picture of yourself with a sassy caption – but, if you’re building a business, it can’t just be about you.
Now if on the other hand, you’re posting selfies (or other pics – I’m a huge fan of mixing it up!) with longer captions that revolve around an inspiring story or tips to help your audience with a pain point – or to motivate them, that’s GOLD.
When you switch your why to making someone else feel good, you’ll be amazed at how differently people respond to the message you’re putting out there. Try it, I promise you’ll notice a difference!
2) SHOW YOUR UNPOLISHED SEASONS
Do you ever scroll past a picture-perfect post with a caption that made you want to mute that person’s content immediately?
Some posts just feel SO put on and forced – and it really irks me!
I’d MUCH rather see someone’s behind the scenes Instagram story – about real life beyond the highlights – than some cutesy, fake-feeling post.
To me, that’s real connection.
That makes me want to know more about someone, check out their website, subscribe to their blog or newsletter and support them.
By the way, I’m not talking about sharing the super personal life stuff – social media is *not* the place for that, please! I’m talking about resonating with people in a way that makes them feel like you GET them. Daring to show your imperfections and unpolished seasons allows others to want to do the same.
That’s real connection.
3) OWN YOUR WEIRD
Let’s be honest; perfect is kind of boring.
Copying what everyone else is doing is boring. It’s predictable and forgettable.
You know what isn’t? Quirky. Weird. A little “out of the box.” As an INFJ and empath, I always thought there was something wrong with me.
I tried to hide who I was online for so long by imitating what other people were doing, because I guess it was easier and it felt “safer.”
You know what I realised though?
People tend to resonate with awkward. In fact, they gravitate towards it. I LOVE following out of the ordinary people. I feel like they’re owning their weird and wonderful, and I can relate to what they’re sharing.
I’m finally embracing that I’m an empath who likes to go deep and an ambitious introvert who doesn’t like to follow the pack. I own that, and I own that not everyone is going to like me, the choices I make, or the posts I put out there.
Owning who you are, liking who you are and being OKAY that not everyone else will… That’s where the connection magic happens.
So own your weird, quirky, awkward, imperfect self and wave goodbye to social media perfectionism.
Trust me, you’ll wonder what took you so long to do it!