What is the biggest Instagram lesson you’ll ever learn? It’s deeper than you might think.
I remember it so clearly.
I was browsing through Instagram late at night, my eyes glued to the beautiful homes and spaces in my feed.
Then suddenly, out of nowhere, I felt my throat being to burn and my eyes stinging with wet liquid.
Where were these distressed feelings coming from?
I was usually decently good with not comparing my home to other’s homes on Instagram.
I’d always had a lot of visions and dreams for our own home and that evening, for whatever reason, I felt like those dreams would never see the light of day.
Worst of all, I felt like even if I had the means to do some of the projects, they wouldn’t turn out or look half as good as what I was seeing on social media.
What I began to realize
I began to understand that the heart of decorating lies beyond creating a stylish space and how “good at it” you are. That’s certainly part of the process, but it’s even more so in the feeling of creativity it invokes.
The desire for that outlet, to share the joy of creating with the world.
I remember seeing the hashtag #communityovercompetition and it hit me. This really was its own little community, and in the interior decor world it’s all about supporting one another (which I’m a huge advocate of as well).
You will find endless amounts of inspiration and support, women cheering each other on, asking questions and always willing to offer advice or a helping hand. My eyes had been opened and it was so refreshing.
It wasn’t about comparison anymore.
I started to see things from a new perspective. Instead of comparing and feeling down about myself or my home, I took what I was seeing as inspiration.
I started saving images in a healthy way.
I spent time commenting on other’s posts and slowly things began to shift.
Slowly things started happening, and I know my new mindset played a part in it.
Decor Newbies Unite
In May of 2017 I saw a post from Home With Kelly who was starting a program for decor newbies.
The application was simple, plus it was free at the time.
I had 500 followers (the minimum required to do the program) and by the end of the course I had gained some incredible knowledge.
1000 Followers Giveaway
My goal on Instagram for 2017 was to reach 1000 followers. I exceeded it by the middle of the year and put on my first ever giveaway.
It felt so surreal! Me, have a giveaway? What was happening in the world?!
First Hashtag Feature
The interior decor world has hashtags just like in any other niche.
However, they also have hashtags for specific days for which you can share your photos, serving as a “contest” of sorts.
These hashtags are run by groups of women (you can find ours at #WhiteSpacesWeLove and #OurHappilyEverHome) who choose a feature every week.
The winner gets to cohost with the group the following week. It’s a lot of fun, a great way to meet more accounts and gain exposure.
I remember when I got my first feature – I thought I’d won the lottery! It was so fun and exciting.
Brand Rep Opportunity
Forward a few months later, and a good friend of mine had tagged me in a post where an influencer was looking for a home decor brand rep for her products.
I deeply appreciated the thought and her letting me know, but I wasn’t sure if I would be cut out for the job.
How much did I really know about decorating? My home wasn’t anything fancy compared to what was out there. (Can you hear the fear doing all the talking?)
Then I remembered that evening.
I thought back to that moment earlier in the year, sitting there with tears welling in my eyes.
Remembering the vow I had made to never allow myself to feel small, to compare and brush off my home and decor skills.
I remembered that I’d made progress on my mindset and I shouldn’t let fear dictate my decisions. That I shouldn’t indulge in the comparison because that never does any good.
I began to look at everything on Instagram as inspiration
Which I’d done beforehand as well, but not always in a pure way where I didn’t make it about myself and my “lack.”
This time it was different. It was a conscious decision.
I was saying “no more feeling down, no more envy or self-pity.” Just inspiration and working with what you have.
So I applied to be a brand rep after all, and a few weeks later I had a message from the small shop owner.
She had been looking for one brand rep, but she’d fallen in love with three accounts. Somehow, someway, I ended up being one of those accounts.
My mind was blown. Blown.
It’s almost like I was being rewarded for my new perspective. Like, “hey, you stopped comparing your home and just did your own thing – keep up the good work.”
Of course I’m exaggerating, but you get the drift, right?
Mindset is so big. Way bigger than people realize. Than I had realized.
If you have something you’re thinking about, something you’re working toward and just feel stuck or like you’re not good enough, take a step back.
It may not be Instagram for you, but whatever it is, do not let comparison dictate what you’re going to do or how far you’re going to go.
That is the biggest lesson I learned my first year on Instagram.
Don’t compare, just be inspired.
And use what you have to inspire others.
Think of how much bigger your dreams would be, how much more you would contribute if each one of us thought this way.
I’m not saying that you’ll never again have a moment where you won’t give in to it. Comparison is in some way innate and inevitable. But it’s how we handle it that matters.
Let’s not stew on it or indulge it. Let’s use it to motivate ourselves.
You never know who could be sending you a message in your future, wanting to work with you or speak with you simply for being yourself and doing your best with what you’ve been given.
That’s honestly the biggest Instagram lesson you’ll ever learn. To appreciate what you’re seeing and be inspired rather than compare and go down that rabbit hole.
This week I was browsing through Instagram late at night, my eyes glued to the beautiful homes and spaces in my feed.
Except this time, my throat didn’t burn up nor did my eyes well up.
This time, I marveled at what I was seeing. I didn’t let comparison have a say. I chose to be inspired and to inspire others.
A lesson well learned, all thanks to Instagram.