wellness

'I intentionally follow people who trigger me on Instagram. Here's why.'

I remember reading a scathing article in Vanity Fair about Byron Bay influencer Courtney Adamo a couple of years ago and feeling kind of smug. 

The story took Courtney and her 'murfer' friends apart, insinuating that their sun-drenched lifestyle (secretly coveted by so many) was fake. 

It painted a picture of her as stressed and money-hungry – a far cry from the images she carefully curated. 

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The author’s clear intention of taking Courtney down, and my own satisfaction about it, made me uncomfortable and curious. 

Why did I want Courtney’s life to be a charade? This question led me to get real with myself and dig deeper into my own thoughts and beliefs. 

The things I discovered about myself changed both the direction of my life and the way I’ve since dealt with people who trigger me on social media. 

Fact is, I was envious of Courtney. It’s easy to see this in retrospect, though was hard to admit to myself at the time. 

Back then, I was a stay-at-home mum, struggling under the weight of anxiety, overwhelm and my own perfectionistic ideas of what motherhood should look like. 

Our home was chaotic, the kids were often defiant, and my husband and I were arguing constantly. 

In stark contrast, Courtney’s white-washed images of radiant blond children playing with wooden blocks, her glowing skin and flawless body after five kids highlighted my failures. 

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The habit of scrolling through her images was almost masochistic, reminding me of the order, health, harmony and connectedness I deeply longed for but could never have.

Envy led me to identify what I really wanted in life, and to go after it. 

After reading that Vanity Fair article and noticing my own reaction to it, I decided to pinpoint exactly what aspects of Courtney’s life I yearned for and why I believed I couldn’t have them. 

I did this by looking at each of her triggering images and asking myself what they represented to me. 

Family harmony, nature and slow living emerged as themes that resonated with my values. 

I then took an inventory of how much of my time was going towards these values, and how I could lean into them more.

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This also led me to explore why I believed I couldn’t achieve what Courtney’s images represented – particularly the aspect of family harmony. 

Painful beliefs emerged, like 'I’m just not organised/warm/good enough to create this for my family. I’m too much of a mess.'

And as I became aware of these beliefs, I saw opportunities to change them and prove to myself that I deserved to have the things I deeply desired. 

I began actively looking for evidence of the things Courtney’s images represented in my own life, focusing on what was going right for me. 

I collected evidence of family harmony and started prioritising micro adventures in nature. I began to focus more on connecting with my kids than on what other people thought about my parenting. 

One night I sat at the dinner table with tears in my eyes as we all laughed together and shared stories from the day. 

It was the first dinner we’d survived without an argument. Ever. 

As my vision of family harmony gathered momentum, I supported it by developing systems that made life run smoother for us. 

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And I have Courtney to thank for it, as her images (real or otherwise) evoked my strong desire and caused me to act on it. 

I no longer stay envious of other women I can now say that I don’t marinate in envy of other women who are killing it on social media (or in life), nor do I take pleasure in reading articles that take them down. 

Instead, I ask what their success is triggering in me and work on that. 

When I’ve done the work on myself, I’m then freed up to celebrate their success and the fact that they are alerting me to my deepest desires and pointing me toward my next set of exciting goals. 

Ultimately, I’m happy for these women. Their images strike a resonance for a reason: they speak to my deepest longings.

I don’t seek out accounts that aren’t in alignment with my values, for example, those that are solely focused on beauty or fashion. Because I don’t care enough about that stuff and these accounts simply makes me think that I want things I don’t actually want, if you know what I mean? 

Instead, I look for accounts with beautiful images that reflect people living my values of family harmony, adventure, nature, connection and inner work in different ways that inspire me. 

And instead of telling myself why I can’t have what they have or that their lives are fake or unrealistic, I collate the aspects of their images and lives that I desire for myself. 

It’s kind of like using social media as a vision board. I see their images of hiking, laughing around a dinner table or meditating and think, that’s for me too! 

This feels so much better than wallowing in nasty thoughts. When mindless scrolling becomes mindful. This experience has led me to use social media intentionally, creating my own mindfulness practice around it. 

Now, I set a time limit to scrolling, and habitually notice triggers as they arise, dealing with them in my journal by questioning the beliefs that lie below them. 

I’m then freed up to focus on what I want and take small actions towards it, ultimately freeing me to champion other women and support myself to grow and thrive. 

Geordie Bull is a journalist and transformational coach who writes about women’s wellness, motherhood and transformation for Australian magazines. Geordie has been an avid reader of self-development books since she was eight years old and loves to do the inner work of priming her mindset to create a beautiful life for herself and her family.

Geordie lives on a bush property near Crescent Head with her husband, two kids, dogs and lots of chooks. You can find more from Geordie here: www.geordiebull.com.au

Feature Image: Supplied.