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Love Your Reality More Than Your Instagram Account

For most of us, our lives are a whole lot more public than they were a decade ago because of our digital connections. We all know privacy isn’t much of an option anymore— at least, not if you’re trying to live in 2014. If you don’t have some sort of online presence, whether it be a professional profile on LinkedIn, a Facebook page or an Instagram account, you’re a few steps behind the rest of us.

To be honest, though, social media has always been a personal struggle. As someone who is trying to build an audience for both my broadcast and blog work, it’s imperative I stay involved online. I genuinely care about those of you who follow my work, and so I enjoy sharing my personal world with you. Everything from wedding day memories, to travel excursions, to moving day experiences are posted here and beyond. After all, my goal is to inspire you to live your best life, and that inspiration comes through my own experiences.

However, the digital world is time-consuming. Between tweeting, instagramming, facebooking and google plus-ing, a lot of my day is spent sharing parts of my life, or looking at someone else’s. I would be lying if I said I’ve never told someone to “hold that thought” while I finish a tweet, or to “wait up” until I’m done editing a photo. Parts of my day, everyday, are dedicated to social media.

Remember to define yourself by your actions, rather than by the photos you post. Immerse yourself in new sights, rather than merely photographing them.

Of course, we all typically only share the stuff we like— the most flattering shots with the right lighting and clever caption. At least, that’s what I do. I’m just being honest. And honesty is important when we’re talking about social media, because we’re looking at more people and more experiences and more material things than ever before.

I watched this video on social interactions last night, which ironically, went viral because of social media. The message is simple: spend less time in your virtual world, and more time in your real world. The video implies we’re all missing out on beautiful, rare moments because we’re looking down.

This is where the personal struggle comes in. Quite frankly, many of my dreams wouldn’t be possible without social media. I work for a digital news company. I share my writing with you through this digital platform, which only reaches people through digital social spaces. So yes— I spend time looking down, because it’s a means of fulfilling my dreams.

However, even as lines continue to blur between what’s personal and public, I’ve promised myself to keep some space between the two. Yes, this may mean some missed career opportunities on my end because of my unwillingness to budge on how much time I’ll give to virtual outlets. Perhaps there are some bloggers and social media lovers who can better balance it all. But I want to be present. So, I’ll often leave my phone behind for date night, or I’ll put it away while playing tag with my niece. I’m grateful for the moments and memories that belong solely to me and a few significant others.

And so, after all of this discussion, here is my takeaway: remain active online, but love your reality more than your Instagram account. Remember to define yourself by your actions, rather than by the photos you post. Immerse yourself in new sights, rather than merely photographing them. Bury yourself in a child’s laughter, rather than simply reaching for your camera to capture it. And when you graduate, get engaged or welcome a little one to your family— don’t let your mind immediately wander to how you’ll share the news with the world. Just enjoy it. Be part of the bliss, rather than just behind the lens of it.