Early this year I decided to make my Instagram account public. Up until that point it had simply been a place to connect with friends and family, a private SM space to share my perspectives and joys within a controlled and quiet corner of my world. While I encourage those who wish to have their account set to private, I started to get a real sense that in my privileged position, I had some responsibility to share.
The decision to ‘go public’ was centred around three main ideas that I believe will serve my clients and my community. In addition to this, it helps me ‘show up’ in a meaningful way everywhere I go – both in person and online.
In all the work I do as a therapist and counsellor for individuals, groups and couples, vulnerability is a key element. It is when we allow ourselves to be vulnerable that we start to understand our underlying motivations and responses; we begin to explore our ‘self’ better. When considering moving my account to public, I reflected on this concept of ‘needing vulnerability’ quite a lot.
How can I ask my clients to open up to me if I cannot open up parts of myself to them?
I see making my account public as a step toward a more open understanding of each other. My clients and my community can see and share in aspects of my life that they otherwise wouldn’t have experienced. My walks with my dog Rosie, my social activities, cute cat pics, my thoughts on deeper topics and my life in the Blue Mountains with my partner. I hope that in sharing these things I can help people feel more comfortable to share with me, knowing that I too am human with flaws and feelings.
Making socials meaningful
For many people, engaging with social media is an activity filled with anxiety and uncertainty. The pressure to share anything at all (let alone aesthetic pictures) can be too much. Social media, however, doesn’t have to be a place of anxiety or a place to perform but instead can be a place of real connection. When making my account public I saw an opportunity to encourage that connection through healthy sharing.
Social media can be a meaningful place for many reasons. Through my account, I aim to prompt reflection and self-development as well as show up with my offerings and experiences to share with others. What kind of content do you find meaningful and helpful on Instagram and other social platforms? I’d love to hear what helps you feel connected rather than isolated when engaging online!
Shaping shared values
What values are coming into my feed and what am I putting back out into the world? Being public on Instagram enables me to make space for shared values that everyone can appreciate, like openness, acceptance, wonder, connection and beauty. By fostering these values while building my community, I am enabling them to be shared by everyone.
Shared values are an integral aspect of all relationships, between individuals or within a larger community. Through shared values, we can find points of reference with which to connect, make decisions and live together; a harmonious, inclusive and tolerant society. I understand that the word ‘tolerance’ can be a trigger word for some, however, can’t help but think that as a society we need to see diversity not just as a concept for workplaces but a way of shaping, and being, in relationship with each other. I hope that I can build a space online where people come to feel and experience these values, ultimately leading them to a better understanding of themselves.
If you haven’t followed me on Instagram or Facebook yet, I’d love to connect with you there. As always, please get in touch if anything here resonates with you or you feel the need to talk it out.