To so many people, Joanna Gaines' life and Instagram are total #goals.
The mom of five has a bevy of businesses, the kind of publishing success most authors can only dream of, and her social media feeds make everything look easy and perfect.
But in the latest column for her magazine, Magnolia Journal, Gaines writes about how she's struggled with Instagram, and why she's eased up on the perfect posts in order to be more authentic online.
"It wasn't so very long ago that I had only a handful of followers on Instagram," Jo writes. "There wasn't any pressure to post anything at all, so whenever I did, it didn't really cross my mind whether or not people would 'like' it."
Indeed, that's how most of us start out using Instagram, but as Jo's follower count grew, so did the expectations she placed on herself. The standards for images that would make it onto her feed got higher, and so did her anxiety level.
"I could feel insecurity start to creep in, and posting a photo was no longer an act of enjoying the in-the-moments of life but rather a more calculated decision," she writes. "With every picture I found myself critiquing if there were messy backgrounds or blurry smiles. I think this is how we can end up losing sight of what it worthy of sharing and what is even more worthy than that—moments worth simply experiencing."
According to Jo, there is a "creepy allure to a place where we can present ourselves any way we choose," so she's choosing to be more authentic in what she posts, and is living in the real world instead of for the 'gram.
"It is so easy to let social media rob us of authentic moments," she explains, adding that she's making a real effort "to stop scrolling and put [her] phone away," especially when she starts to feel like she's comparing herself to others.
Jo's right about the downsides of social media, and how it can work against authentic human connection.
But it can also be a tool for authentic human connection in a world where so many of us are far from our loved ones. Social media can be our digital village, but only when we're real with each other.
It's great when people are willing to share those authentic moments (like when Jo shared her messy nursery with the world, or when Chrissy Teigen posted that pic in her mesh hospital undies) because it's those moments, not the perfect ones, that help us connect in this digital world and remind us that we are not alone in our imperfection.