Wife to my high school sweetheart, boy mama to sweet baby boy Macrae, and two fur babies Shiloh and Milo, a full time high school history teacher, and overall enthusiast for life. Avid podcast listener, iced coffee drinker, and organized chaos manager. My passion is to encourage and inspire. To cultivate an intentional life, a life full of joy and an abundance of grace.
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in complete and total honesty… i had a total love & hate relationship with social media before I entered into the blogging & business side of all the social channels….
i completely cringed at any and everyone who posted pictures of themselves in their outfit or went on live to try to sell who knows what life-changing product…
but… i should have remembered the lesson I learned as a young kid who LOVED her weekly trips to the library to pick out a new stack of books to read and the advice that every teacher, librarian, and parent said, “Don’t judge a book by its cover…” I know it’s cliche, but it is absolutely the TRUTH. Who are we to judge anyone or anything before really knowing the contents of the heart.
So here I am, twelve months later, fully involved and emerged into the blogging and business side world of the socials and I wish my heart had not been so critical and judgmental prior… NOW that I am here, however, I have been thinking about the power that social media has… and for those who are pursuing it to expand their blog or business or brand… well then you must commit to spending quality time on the Gram in order to expand and grow and that can definitely be a challenge
And even if your only purpose in absorbing minutes (lets be real, more like hours) of your day through “entertaining” yourself in social media related things, is just for sheer guilty pleasure.. that can also be incredibly toxic (or at least has the potential to become so if not approached delicately)
So my heart has been thinking and cultivating… and the result is a new list.. a list (don’t I love these kinds of things!) for anyone and everyone who finds themselves endlessly (or purposefully) scrolling through social media… the do’s and don’ts of social media.
Some of my favorite accounts to follow on the GRAM include gorgeous home interiors of beautiful farmhouses with the most breath-taking interiors (I am talking you @jamieodazier AND @rusticwildarrow) as well as the sweetest lifestyle bloggers who are always the most genuine and from the heart, yet have the absolute BEST style (shout out to @laurawgodfrey AND @loverlygrey). The accounts that are always having me smile, laugh, and forever engaged (like my sweet friend @simplydarlings.)
Then we have the travel inspiration accounts that have us drooling in a pit of desperation to experience the adventure that their pictures are living (love the feeds of @lexrucker AND @hannahjoycagas) and then of course the list of just the stunning and the creative… those who just seem to nail just about everything @shelby_barnes AND @autumnrainn.
My point: USE SOCIAL MEDIA AS AN INSPIRATION. Allow your feed to create a desire and a passion for something in your life. Whether that is to encourage you to take that trip, style your outfit in that way, love others unconditionally and uncontrollably. Allow the socials to be your inspiration behind your dreams and desires.
It can be easy though to look at your feed and to look at this person and that person and create a false expectation for yourself on what you should or shouldn’t be doing. Or how you should or shouldn’t be spending your money. Or where you should travel to or have for dinner or wear to work tomorrow. Plain and simple, social media is not an expectation. Don’t allow it to become a place where your status, your worth, your belonging is being determined by strangers on a screen.
My solution. Write down on a sheet of paper what defines you as a HUMAN. What makes YOU, YOU! What are the ingredients of your core? What is the composition of your heart? Allow those characteristics to serve as your medium of expectation.
One of the most surprising things that I have discovered in my amble amount of time spent growing and building my blog and insta has been the community of encouragement and endless love & support. Social media can be such an amazing avenue for encouragement. Especially for convenience sack. It is so simple and easy to reach out and connect with others. In only a few moments time you can type a phrase that has the complete ability to make someone’s entire day! And I LOVE that!!
In fact, some of my most memorable moments in this year of blogging has been when people have reached out to tell me that I have touched apart of their heart in someway. That is so incredibly encouraging. So, ABSOLUTELY, use your outlets of social media to encourage others. To tell someone when you appreciate what they are doing or when you think they have just absolutely crushed it. Let them know! Individually, we can all be the world’s worst critic, so speak life to your people (Even if they are just “your people” in terms of your favorite accounts on the socials.
Just how our words have the ability to make someone’s day, our words have the exact same magnitude of completely destroying one’s. This irks me so much! Y’all. DO NOT EVER use social media to tear others down. I don’t care who you think you are. Just don’t do it! No! You are not making a point. No you are not called to say that particular thing. Just be a nice human for goodness sake. Our words are so incredibly powerful. Seriously. So don’t for a second try to even think about saying destructive, cruel and inhumane things to those you see on your feed. It’s not right and it absolutely does not belong.
Love this SO much. Love being able to utilize social media to express interest and creativity. In fact, in my own personal journey through the blogging and social media world, I have watched as a whole new side of creativity in me has blossomed and it has been so incredibly fun!
So, YES! Absolutely, allow for social media to be a place to share your passions and embark on your callings. I strongly believe that the passions and dreams we have in our hearts, we’re birthed for a purpose and that purpose is for ourselves to go on our journey of seeking it out. So absolutely, let others in on the process. Share your dreams and you’re passions.
When people express what they are passionate about, it cultivates empathy in the hearts of those around and empathy has the capacity to invoke a ripple effect of change and kindness instantaneously. So, YES! Share what makes your heart thrive!
If you only read one paragraph of this entire post, then please let it be this one right here! You are MORE than a number, you are MORE than a follower, YOU are MORE than your insta handle. You are a HUMAN. You have a PURPOSE. And that PURPOSE is for real life interaction and ACTION.
Yes, social media is fun and all, and I absolutely completely get it, for many it is a way of making an income, growing a business, and supporting a family, so I am not trying to take away from those things! ALL I am saying is make sure you are completely and confidently one-hundred percent certain of who you are aside from it all!
Because the gram could shut down tomorrow! And then POOF.. your handle/your feed it is all gone! Therefore, allow your identity to be rooted in who YOU ARE as a person. A person walking in grace. A person walking in freedom. A person created to be just as you are, with a purpose that is absolutely significant.
Community is a necessity for life. This life was not meant to be walked alone. Sometimes alone can seem easier, but our hearts were designed for interaction and relationships. We need it! And, I absolutely LOVE how social media allows for a place for a community to be cultivated and to grow.
Just be sure that your community is centered around growth, centered around love, and centered around encouragement. Allow your community to propel you further, not force you back, or allow you become someone you are not!
We all do it! We try not to, but we do! Daily, hourly, on the minute. We are always looking at others and the world around us and viewing it through the filter called comparison. And what an UGLY filter that is. This happened to me today. I had just received the dropbox of pictures from our blogging event in downtown Woodstock from this past weekend and I was looking at the group photos and all of these lies hit me, words and thoughts of how my hair wasn’t pretty enough or too frizzy, thoughts of “I don’t look how a blogger/influencer” should look… just all of these stupid, false lies overwhelmed my head.
That is exactly the kind of trap that comparison will keep your heart in. And that trap is full of lies, insecurities, doubts, and fears. It is an identity crisis. SO instead.. when the comparison starts to creep in, remind yourself WHO YOU ARE! Remind yourself of YOUR WORTH. Because comparison strips us away from our joy. And we are nothing if we lose that!
This one is more specific to the creatives out there. In actuality, the more I think about it, you don’t have to have your own business to be a creative or to have your brand. We all have a brand whether we want to admit it or not. Our brand – is us. Simple as that who we are as an individual. What we like, what we dislike. What gets us going? What motivates us and drives us?
One hundred percent – ALLOW yourself to use your social medias to drive your brand creation. Allow yourself to use your feeds and the socials to authenticate your space. Make it you. Be bold, be brave. Allow your digital world to create a space that looks like you. That feels like you. Be your whole self, the authentically, whole you.
Because that is the you that the world needs. And that is the you that social media needs to see!
Finally, last and most importantly… Don’t allow social media to be your worth. Don’t allow it to define you. You are more than how many followers you have. You are more than an engagement rate. More than any number of likes/comments/shares. You are more than views. You are more than an algorithm wants you to think you can be.
You are MORE. Your life has a PURPOSE. Your living is meaningful. You are worthy of this life you have been called to live.
Haley ~ gracefulandfree
I got back into using social media early this year and needed to hear a few of these, as it’s easy to get caught up in numbers.