Since the first day of Kindergarten, my dad has told me, “Be your own person, Liv.” While at first this went straight over my head (I mean, do you blame me? I was a five-year-old whose main concerns were what Disney princess nightgown she would sleep in that night, whether she could get someone to read with her before bed, and how she could become a firefighter ASAP), it eventually began to sink in as I grew up and witnessed firsthand the hunger inside of everyone to be accepted and praised. You can read more about my journey to accepting myself here… but for now I want to talk about how this pressure impacts a lot of us, including me, on spaces like Instagram.
Let me start by saying that I believe Instagram and social media in general have the power to change the world. There are social media accounts out there with huge numbers, their message and influence shaping minds across the globe. While many of these platforms are not necessarily used in the best way, more and more, platforms are becoming positive presences. Individuals are realizing the importance of truth and love, using their platforms to promote acceptance of all.
But, despite this change for the better, I find that it is still all too easy to get caught up in social media’s existence for approval. Likes, comments, shares, views… we become dependent upon these to determinate our likeability as a human.
There are times when I am extremely absorbed in the likes and attention I get on social media. I pride myself on my content: on its authenticity, the consideration I put behind each photo shoot and caption, the carefully crafted recipes… so you can imagine that it is tempting for me to feel disappointed if something doesn’t get a whole ton of likes or comments. Am I not likeable? Do people think I am full of it? Not relatable? Why am I even doing this in the first place if nobody wants to hear what I have to say?
In fact, sometimes I get so in my head about all of this that I find myself cooking up ways to get more likes, followers, the works. For example, you all know by now that I don’t have the best digestive system and that it is something I have struggled with for a long time now, both mentally and physically. I have plenty of photos on my phone documenting my stomach at various sizes, all of which I took to chronicle my progress with bloating and to share with my doctor. I start wondering whether I should begin sharing this and more. Maybe people will think I am more vulnerable this way. Maybe this will make others “like” me more.
But I have to remind myself that if I were to post these images, the action would be coming from this need for acceptance and for approval and not from a healthy place of support and authenticity. And numbers aren’t the point of my platform. While I want my platform to grow- I would love to organically engage with more and more individuals out there- this is not by any means why I started Straight to the Butze. I didn’t start this to be the most popular, to get discounts or free products. I mean, if that happens- great! I want to be someone whose opinion people trust and look towards. But these perks aren’t my main goal. I started this website to show up, to support, and to share.
So for now, I am going to keep on posting in my own way: recipes, blurbs here and there about my day to day life and emotions, and tons of images of me with ice cream. Does this mean I am any less authentic or open than others on Instagram? Maybe on the surface, but deep down? No, I don’t think so at all, and I hope you feel the same way.