You’re Cool, Essena O’Neill! We Love Your Newfound Voice + Self-Awareness.

When we initially had the idea for Be Your Own Muse over a year ago, one of our very first thoughts was that we wanted to create a place online where real authenticity and passion could be celebrated. Not in the cheerleader “ra ra ra we’re all so amazing” sense, but in a very real and tangible way which would allow us to expand our social networks by creating intentional, positive, and supportive relationships while simultaneously inciting our readers to start pursuing their own passions and goals. We realized that the best way for us to do that was through intimate, in-depth interviews with peers whom we admired where we could talk about their personal journey towards their very real idea of “success.” As a result of this exercise-in-friendship, we can now proudly declare that we have built a network of great relationships with women in Californiathe Bahamas, London, England, and even Australia.

Although both of us were regular users of apps like Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook, we both recognized that the majority of our experience with these platforms was causing unease and self-doubt. We immediately felt insecure if we weren’t getting enough of a response to a photo or an article we shared, and it was really taking a toll on how we felt about ourselves. At 24 and 25, that is a bit embarrassing to admit, but it’s nonetheless true. In fact, our shared revelation about social media’s detrimental effects on self-esteem resulted in one of our earliest personal essays on the site, which you can view here.

Going along with that, the established Be Your Own Muse ideal of success stands in stark contrast to what most of us are fed on a daily basis via social media. Social media’s version of success is blonde, tan, ridiculously thin, with perfectly clear skin and clad in skin-baring designer wears. Are these curated constructions of what it means to be a successful woman really your #goals? Is this realistic? Are these women actually accomplished or well-rounded? Not in the slightest. Or at least not visibly so, for what is deemed worthy of celebration on these outlets does not include those attributes. At Be Your Own Muse, we are all about celebrating what is under the skin, what really makes you want to get out of bed in the morning and take on the day, and most importantly, what makes you feel content and fulfilled with your place in this world.

Quick segway to what is currently blowing up in the media: Essena O’Neill, former Instagram celebrity, Youtube star, and all-around social media maven. This past week, Essena took a risk and spoke out in an online video she posted about a recent epiphany she had: that social media is fake, meaningless, and altogether utilized for the wrong reasons.

https://vimeo.com/144201237

Perhaps most poignant and relatable of her confessions were her edited captions on her previous Instagram posts revealing what was really going on behind the photo. On top of these edits, she deleted over 2000 of her posts after realizing that they served no real purpose except self-promotion and a desperate cry for validation and connection.

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Without a doubt, many of us have probably come to a similar conclusion, but to hear it from someone who had previously devoted their life and career to establishing themselves as “relevant” on social media really struck a chord in an altogether different and more powerful way.

Essena has decided to “quit social media” and instead encourage her followers towards lives of kindness, engagement, and authenticity through her movement dubbed “Let’s Be Gamechangers.” Her biggest recommendation? That we all go out of our way to revel in the present moment, whether that means introducing yourself to a stranger with a cute dog or merely sitting outside and taking in the day. In order to do this, she recommends signing off from social media for at least an entire week.

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Essena has made numerous pleas for a social media network that does not rely on numbers to reflect users engagement and one that incites its users to interact in a way devoid of filtering, and we hope for that one day, too. In fact, we are currently working towards it with this here lil project of ours. As Essena describes her ideal social media platform, we can’t help but notice similarities between our mindsets:

I wish to create a platform that acts to spread new age messages of conscious living, addiction to technology, conversations on transparency online, minimise the celebrity culture, promote veganism, plant based nutrition, environmental awareness, social issues, gender equality, controversial art. Release an interview series with individuals that are wanting to change the game they were told to play. ALSO, make the positive collaborative forum for individuals to talk about REAL WORLD stuff, connect over ideas not likes, followers or views.

The point is, I don’t have all the answers or solutions or ideas. But I do know this; I no longer want to spend hours and hours of my time scrolling, viewing and comparing myself to others. I want to do something, anything, something radical, something a little different. I want to use my imagination, my individual mind, my unique take on this world. I want to research more into stuff that truly matters. LET’S TALK ABOUT REAL STUFF AND REAL PEOPLE. LET’S BE GAME CHANGERS.

For now though, and we may be a teensy bit biased, but we think the Muses here are providing a fantastic and liberating alternative to this numbers-obsessed form of social validation. And Essena– we think you would fit right in! We’d love to explore these complex and crucial issues with you in a feature 🙂

Cheers to a healthier, more meaningful way to utilize social media! And my friends, let’s give a a hearty (albeit virtual) round of applause for the courageous, self-aware, and impassioned Essena O’Neill!

+ HAVE YOU HAD A SIMILAR REVELATION? SHOW ESSENA SOME LOVE ON LETSBEGAMECHANGERS.COM

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