If that name doesn’t ring a bell, don’t worry. I didn’t know who the blazes this girl was either.
BUT: For the past several days, her name and her story have been absolutely exploding all over my social media feeds: “Social Media Star Quits Instagram, Revealing it’s a Sham.” “‘Dream Life’ Not So Dreamy.” “Leaving Behind the Likes” blah blah blah The headlines were quite literally inescapable.
So I clicked.
Long story short, this Australian “Instagram Model” ((that’s a thing apparently)) is “quitting” social media because she was tired of projecting her life as a dream, and feeling that her worth was tied to her “likes” and “followers.” Bluntly put, she “was miserable.” ((Her words, not mine!))
And even though, –I’ll say what everyone is thinking– this may just be a publicity stunt, I actually found myself thinking about her story…and surprise, surprise…how it relates to recovery.
You see, my heart was moved by her story. She was finding her worth in her “status”on social media — how many “likes” she got, how many “followers” she had. And she kept striving for perfection in all of her posts to grow that “worth.”
And the more I thought about it…that was exactly my life in my anorexia. I was finding my worth in perfection: In attaining the “perfect body.” The “perfect” grades, boyfriend, social position, extracurriculars, personality, etc. At my core, I honest-to-God believed that the only way I deserved or was worthy of love was by obtaining perfection.
And I found myself on a treadmill at high speed, that I just couldn’t get off of – both literally and figuratively.
And I have a slight inkling that I’m not alone in that feeling.
Maybe you’re not dealing with an eating disorder, but the underlying theme is the same. People find their worth or validation in so many places that continually fall short and leave them feeling low. Climbing the corporate ladder, finding validation in material things (hello retail therapy?–guilty!), striving for the “perfect” marriage, or “perfect” relationship, or conversely: putting up with an abusive relationship because you find your worth tied to that twisted validation. Cars, clothes, shoes, technological gadgets, different “country club memberships,” validation from the beds of random strangers, the bottom of a bottle, the hardest workout, or you name it – all are things we seek to find our worth and value in.
Every. Single. Person, whether they want to admit it or not, in some way, shape or form, has a way to define their worth. Has a way to validate their existence. Ranging from “likes” on Instagram, to anorexia.
All of those things leave us short. They will never truly make us feel validated or make us feel worthy. Because at the end of the day, there is really only one thing that can validate us and show us our worth.
And that one thing: is Jesus.
Pause button for a sec: Friends: those feelings are from quitting Instagram. Imagine the intensity of those feelings if you were to let go of the “false validators” in our own lives. Imagine the feeling we’d get by resting in the peace of knowing that our worth is not defined by anything we did or didn’t do, but rather, simply by the fact that we are immensely loved by God.
If only that were blowing up our news feeds.
So I just invite you to take an inventory of your heart: Honestly, where do you find your worth and value? Is it through the eyes of someone else, through the lens of an eating disorder or other addiction?
And if so, just consider this: