When we live in a generation of Instagram models and social media stars (no matter the domain), you begin to develop a mindset that if you put in a significant amount of effort, you could one day be discovered as well. Maybe it works out and maybe it doesn’t, but the story that people tend to brush aside is the impact this has on your mental health and well-being.

At the end of April, I decided to take a two-week break off social media, particularly Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram — the three apps that millennials use the most. At this point, I had been overextending myself with trying to create a strong online presence in order to gain more traffic for my blog. Here are some of the epiphanies that came up during my time off social media:

Constant Inner Existential Crises

The digital world has been succeeding in making its way into our real, physical world gradually, yet effectively. Over time, it can be difficult to decipher what world we’re really trying to live for. Do I want to go to this new café so I can take aesthetically-pleasing photos for my Instagram or do I want to go because I can spend time with my friends? If you’re beginning to make decisions based on how your life choices would impact your online selves, then you may be on the edge of an existential crisis.

The More You See, The More You Feel Influenced to Do

We all experience the feeling of being left out or forgotten, but somehow it strikes even harder when we realize we're missing out through snaps and photos. This easily brings up questions like "Why was I not invited? Do they still want to hang out with me?" and all of the negative unknown that takes over your mind.

Social media tends to make you feel like you’re not doing anything with your life, just because you aren’t showing it. We’re the generation of sharing every single moment of the day, and frankly, when you’re too busy trying to take the perfect shot, you can really miss out on what’s going on in front of you.

I’m Not Perfect, Therefore I’m Not Worth It

This lesson is one that brought me to my lowest points. Everyone wants to be desired, but who we see online makes it difficult for ourselves to work on what matters most: self-love and acceptance. We drown in our flaws, while we choose to focus on everyone else.

As we look at ourselves in the mirror, we don’t see what amazing qualities we have. Instead, we see what we don’t. Your worth isn’t defined by the number of likes, comments, or followers you have on social media. Your worth can only be defined by you.

It just isn’t possible to always be happy and have yourself together every day. No one looks that good, yet we strive for the impossible. It’s so hard to embrace yourself when you’re constantly surrounded by highlights of people’s lives when you’re viewing everything from a subjective point of view.

Most of these realizations came up when I initially started to consider taking a break off social media. We’re so deeply rooted in the virtual world that most of our actions, including our inner thoughts, are made through our subconscious. Sometimes, you just have to take a step back, have a talk with yourself, and find out what really matters to you. As for me, I realized that most people don’t care and don’t need to know about my daily life, real world experiences without my phone glued to me are more fulfilling, and most importantly, I realized that I am more than my online presence.