Essena Oneill, thank you for reminding me that I can’t leave my happiness up to things I don’t have control over.

(this post is more about attributing your own worth to things outside of you postpones happiness rather than the ‘war on social media’)

Since Essena Oneill made that video about social media and deleted all her accounts, I’ve heard a lot of people saying things like:

“no shit Instagram isn’t real life”

“she was doing it just for attention”


A lot of people really do want to be social media famous. It seems like a fun and glamorous way to support yourself and Essena clearly laid down why this shouldn’t be #goals (here where the social media isn’t real life comes in). Her story was specific to social media, how she built her life around it and attributed her value to how many followers she had, how many likes she got, etc. This concept can ruin a person (Essena talks about how she was depressed, didn’t actually go places and do things, and how she basically lived in this delusional internet world). But in a larger sense, she’s talking about how people often leave their self worth/value/happiness up to things that are out of their control.

When you are unhappy/unfulfilled, it’s much easier to say, “I’ll be happy when I do ___” or “I’ll be happy when I get ___”. It is easy to blame your lack of ‘achievements’ for your unhappiness and much harder to figure out why you feel this way. Essena wanted to be Instagram famous. She told herself that she would be happy when she got half a million followers or when she got ten thousand likes. When she did reach this level of fame that she had wanted for so long, she found that she wasn’t happy at all and this realization forced her to re-evaluate and be real with herself and examine why she felt so unfulfilled.

This is something that I find myself doing consistently.  I convince myself that I will be happy when I reach these completely unattainable standards I have set for myself. I convince myself that I’m not producing work fast enough, or growing fast enough, becoming a better artist fast enough etc. It’s really self-sabotage because when you keep doing this you’re constantly telling yourself that your unhappiness is situational, when it is probably is rooted in something much larger inside of you. And this is cycle with no end because you can always look further up and up and up. You’re also leaving your happiness up to something that you don’t have control over/can’t get to.

Happiness takes effort. Don’t wait to be happy. You feel?

Alan Watts who is an amazing philosopher explains this a lot better that I just did (seriously watch these and enjoy the cheesy pics):


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