Why I deleted Instagram

Whether it is a status update on Facebook or a news article on Buzzfeed, there is no denying that what is presented on online influences the way we think and the way we act.

When Instagram first gained popularity, I was one of the last people amongst my friends to join. One reason for my delayed entrance into this new social media craze was because I saw how obsessed my classmates got when it came to the number of followers they had or the number of likes they got on a post. I vowed to myself that if I joined Instagram, I would never become so obsessed with the superficial. I vowed to myself that I would use Instagram solely for the sake of sharing memorable experiences with those I cared about and with those who inspired me.

 

For most of the time I stuck to my vow, but other times I found myself being heavily conscious about my online status. How does she have so many followers?  Am I not popular? Do people not care? 

Everyone wants to feel validated, everyone wants to feel important. No matter how strong or confident I was in myself, it was only natural that I felt the occasional tang of jealousy and insecurity.

Beyond this, scrolling through Instagram also led to irritation. It was irritating to see unrealistic, distorted depictions of body image: friends who edited their photos to make their breasts look fuller or their biceps larger. It was irritating to read comments talking about how “hotttt” our bodies are or how “goals” our latest vacation was. And these behaviors that we adopted online would influence other parts of our lives; dinner with friends meant an opportunity to showcase our “active, fun social life” to our followers, and early morning hikes were to showcase our “sporty side”.

Of course, not all of Instagram is fake and superficial. And of course, I respect those who enjoy using the platform to share their lives to each other.

For me however, Instagram didn’t fulfill the purpose that I had set out for it to be. I realized that the irritation and insecurities I felt outweighed the pleasure. And for that reason, I deleted it. And apart from the cute puppy videos that I followed, I don’t miss it at all.

KonMari Folding Technique

Konmari suggests that the first category for tidying is clothes. After going through all of my clothes and determining what clothes I wanted to keep, I moved onto the best part, FOLDING!

I am a very lazy person, so folding clothes is my LEAST favorite thing to do. But honestly, this method is quite fun and the results are so awesome!

IMG_0684(T-shirts)

I’m able to see all the clothes that I love in one go, without having to rummage through to find what I am looking for. This really helps to see how many clothes you actually have and deters you from thinking you need to buy more.

IMG_0691

I strongly encourage this method of folding! Its really fun!

Tidying up – Rebound Effect

Sometimes I feel that no matter how much I tidy up my desk, it always returns to the original state of clutter.

One tip that I’ve learned to be rather helpful is to finish one task at a time. Nothing else can go on my desk unless I have finished the task at hand.

Working on math? Only math should be on the desk. Remove all other items. Once I’m done with math, I put the calculator and notebook away and move onto the next task.

I’ve noticed that this action helps to get rid of distractions and helps me focus.

 

 

Cons to the KonMari Method

Marie Kondo claims that after following her method of tidying, you will only be surrounded by the things you love and won’t ever feel overwhelmed with clutter.

After following her method during my room cleanings however, I realize that there are many items that I simply cannot throw away, but I don’t love either. For instance, there are books for school that only give me stress when I look at them BUT I can’t just simply give it away. There are certain items of stationary that I don’t use now, but I am sure to use in the near future. There are pieces of plastic bottles that I am collecting for a school project that take up so much room and frankly look like trash. The list goes on.

Although all these things may be considered “junk”, it’s necessary junk that I can’t simply just get rid of. I like to call it, “items that are waiting to fulfill their purpose”.

But I still struggle to figure out where I’m meant to put all of these items and how to make them stop cluttering my room. I feel that in this regard, Marie Kondo’s method might not be super practical.

Simple Life

Earlier this month, I shared incredibly touching and uplifting moments with the patients living in Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity in Kolkata. I worked at the women’s wing of Shanti-Dan, a home for sexually abused and mentally disabled women. It would become strikingly clear to me how flawed the common preconceived notion of “service” could be. Service is not about a privileged group of people magically transforming the lives of those who are under-privileged. In fact, in service there is no such thing as “under-privileged” or “privileged”.  There are no levels, no classes. Everyone can be helped, including the volunteers.

In my experience, I felt that I was being taught more by the patients rather than the other way around. They taught me to value the simple things; they brought happiness and a smile to my face in the simplest of ways.

In the mornings I would wave at each one of the patients as I made my way through the halls. They would all wave back. After laundry, we would then start out exercise routine. We sang nursery songs like, “If you’re happy and you know it” , and “Hokey Pokey”. In my regular, daily life I would never be so overjoyed singing and dancing to these songs as I was at Shanti Dan. I was happier in the crowded, cement rooms of the home than I am back in Hong Kong where I had all the riches of the world.

I realized that we don’t need so many things to keep ourselves happy. It’s the small things, the simple things that we can focus our attention on and feel satisfied.

With this in mind, I am working hard on my journey to declutter my life, so that I can value the simple things that may often get hidden or tangled up in everything else.

 

Incorporating Meditation in our Lives

I’ve spent the last few days cleaning my room. I’ve had to hold different items (books, clothes, makeup..etc) in my hand and judged whether I should keep it or let it go. In the process I’ve felt a closer connection to all the things I own, the possessions that each hold significance in my life.

After cleaning my closet, I felt a sense of clarity and satisfaction, similar to the feeling I get after meditating. The traditional method of meditation is to sit still with eyes closed. Folding my clothes and putting them into the wardrobe is very different to meditation but the results are rather similar. Tidying my room with no distractions (I only clean my room when there is no one else at home to disturb me or any music playing) offers me a chance to connect with the environment around me. It is the same in meditation. As we breathe in and out, we visualize what is around us and to become one with our surroundings.

I’ve realized that there are many ways to obtain a meditative experience without having to sit still. Ikebana for instance, is the Japanese art of flower arrangement. It’s a journey that leads to inner stillness, transcending the sensory beauty of the flowers themselves.

I’ve gained some of my greatest insights and understanding during the hours I’ve spent sitting on the floor folding clothes. The calmness I feel after has taught me the importance of always taking moments of the day to appreciate what is around us, to become more aware of the true state of our existence.

Benefits of a Gratitude Diary

There are so many nights where I lay awake, unable to sleep because I am stressed. Feeling stressed is a common, and it can affect our attitude towards life events. After reading the Huffington Post, “The Benefits of a Gratitude Journal and How to Maintain One” I decided to start a gratitude diary to help cope with my stress.

The article outlined several benefits to writing a gratitude diary:

1. Lower stress levels.

2. Feel calm at night.

3. Gain a new perspective of what is important to you and what you truly appreciate in your life.

4. By noting what you are grateful for, you will gain clarity on what you want to have more of in your life, and what you can cut from you life.

5. Helps you focus on what really matters.

6. Keeping a gratitude journal helps you learn more about yourself and become more self-aware.

7. Your gratitude journal is a safe zone for your eyes only, so you can write anything you feel without judgment.

8. On days when you feel blue, read back through your gratitude journal to readjust your attitude and remember that you have great people and things in your life.

After writing in my journal for almost a year now, I have gained many insights into what is important to me. The nights I go to bed the happiest is after I have written about the people who have great value to me. My optimistic boyfriend, my supportive parents and silly dog are only a few of these people (or creatures?). After seeing correlations between my level of happiness and my journal entries, I’ve realized just how important spending time with those I love is. I leave my diary next to my bed so that I am reminded every night to write in it. Sometimes I use different colored pens to make the entries colorful and full of energy.

18835443_754158971425125_787283686_n

 

When I first began my diary, I noticed that I sometimes made certain events of the day seem even greater and marvelous than they actually were. I think this is because I’ve been conditioned to unconsciously filter what I think when I put it onto paper. Over the weeks though, I’ve noticed my entries to be more honest and more accurate. There is no need to exaggerate my life to make it sound better. I’m satisfied by what it is.

KonMari Method and Life

I just finished reading “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo, and I am extremely excited to take on the feat of decluttering my room.

For my school senior project, we were asked to pick any activity that we are interested in and set goals for ourselves. In my pursuit to find happiness and feel at peace with myself, I believe decluttering my life both physically, spiritually, and emotionally is an extremely important step. For these reasons, I picked up Marie Kondo’s book when I was at the airport waiting for my flight.

One of the greatest takeaways from the book is this quote:

” To truly cherish the things that are important to you, you must first discard those that have outlived their purpose”

This philosophy not only applies to belongings, but also to people, relationships and life experiences. We often think that we should ignore those who we dislike, or regret past experiences that didn’t bring tangible results. But according to KonMari, the people you dislike also teach you  a precious lessons of who you do like. The same is true for experiences. I can’t count how many times I’ve scolded myself for supposedly “wasting time” or “making poor choices”. But in reality, all the experiences I’ve had in my life have taught me a valuable lesson. Procrastinating, for instance, gives me insight into my psyche; it proves to me what tasks motivate and satisfy me and what tasks don’t.

Instead or feeling guilty for throwing an item of clothing away, or for procrastinating, I must learn that everything had a purpose in my life one way or another. After I recognize the purpose, I can happily let it go and move on to the rest of my life.

Goals of the Year

Before I start my senior project of decluttering, it is important for me to set up goals for myself. To visualize the life I want to live.

  1. Put in my best effort into the college process.
  2. Spend more time with friends and family.
  3. Self-reflect

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: