How to Feel Empowered by Your Instagram With The Help of ‘Hashtag Authentic’

Hashtag Authentic by Sara Tasker

Is Instagram getting you down?

Every time you tap that colorful little purple, pink, and yellowish icon on your screen, are you left feeling blue?

Finding yourself experiencing a slew of negative emotions that your brain wasn’t prepared to battle? Insecurity, FOMO, comparisonitis, and feelings of complete and total inadequacy?

Instagram has become notorious for acting as an incubator for every negative human emotion in the book, and has probably even created a few that had never existed before and are totally unique to our time.

Were humans even built to withstand this kind of information overload, this ability to see into other people’s lives? And not only that, but to see, almost exclusively, only the most beautiful portions of those lives? The perfectly curated, brilliantly color-saturated, meticulously Facetuned snapshots that make that person’s world seem like utter perfection? And therefore makes ours seem like utter shit?

And then on top of all this, we’re expected to answer to a mysterious algorithm in our attempts to measure up to the onslaught of perfection in which Instagram drenches us! Once we are finally able to create and post the perfect photo of our own, it gets eaten alive by what I call the Instabeast - the unpredictable, opaque, algorithmic nature of Instagram that decides the fates of our posts and our presence on Instagram as a whole.

And the Instabeast is a temperamental one.


But what if I told you that, despite all this, Instagram is… actually an extremely empowering place? (Haha, *record scratch*, right?)

Instagram is a creatively charged and richly diverse slice of the internet, a breeding ground for inspiring thoughts and ideas, a writer’s paradise, a megaphone for the voices of the marginalized, a forum where women gather together and raise each other up (shout out to the interiors community on IG), a portal to parts of the world and pieces of lives you would never see otherwise.

Yep, I said it. Instagram is an empowering place, beast or no. In some cases it can even be a life changing place.

And you have the ability to activate a sense of empowerment from your Instagram experience, to reframe your mindset and banish the negativity that Instagram has the tendency to catalyze.

Instagram can make a beautiful, enriching, and profound impact on your life. You are capable of using Instagram as a conduit of inspiration, creative fulfillment, and self-confidence.

And guess what? There is now a book that will help you tap into the empowering and creatively enriching aspects of Instagram. Enter Hashtag Authentic, a new book by Instagram goddess Sara Tasker, aka @me_and_orla.

A beautiful piece of art in its own right, Hashtag Authentic (full disclosure - that’s an affiliate link!) is a powerful manifesto on how to approach Instagram with a healthy mindset, with artistic integrity, and yes, with authenticity.

The book is like a warm cup of tea on a Sunday morning, a hug from an old friend, a pep talk from a wise mentor.

A thorough dive into the pages of Hashtag Authentic will give you a renewed sense of purpose and confidence when it comes to the way you approach your Instagram account. Upon reading it, you will emerge as an Instagram artist, rather than a mere user.

And aside from its valuable content, the book makes a beautiful addition to any coffee table. As I said before, Hashtag Authentic is a piece of art itself, and even the photos inside alone will leave you feeling inspired.

If it’s not apparent already, I am a devoted Sara Tasker fan girl. I’m an avid listener of both her podcasts - Hashtag Authentic and Letters from a Hopeful Creative - and an enthusiastic subscriber to her entire ideology on Instagram as an artistic forum and the relatively new role creativity plays on the internet.

From her defense of “book selfies” (please read that blog post of hers if you want a good “hell yes!” read) to her empathetic advice on talking to the camera on Instagram Stories, Sara Tasker is a true champion of creatives, and particularly of creatives who want to use Instagram as one of their canvases.

To Sara Tasker, creativity and artistic expression are not sacred, exclusive things reserved only for a privileged few, to be viewed in select, walled-off arenas.

No, now there is an artistic democracy in which we can all participate, and that is Instagram.

But like all things in art and democracy, Instagram has its pain points, and we need to properly arm ourselves in order to cope and to thrive. That’s what Hashtag Authentic does for its readers - it equips us with the confidence, audacity, and simply the permission to show up on Instagram and flourish.

I think Sara Tasker may in the process of slowly building a wave of confident Insta-artists who will carve out their own space on the platform and do so unapologetically.

To help you feel more confident about claiming your creative space on Instagram, I’ve assembled 17 of the most empowering moments from Hashtag Authentic in this post.

Whenever the Insta blues get you down, I encourage you to take a moment, channel your inner Sara Tasker, and keep the following moments from her book in mind. And better yet, buy the book and use it as your Insta security blanket - there for you whenever you need comfort and reassurance amidst your Instagram woes.

And remember: you are worthy of taking up space on Instagram and beyond. Your voice matters, and your story is meant to be told. That’s what my hashtag #interiorfairytale is all about. (Click here to read more #interiorfairytale!)

If I haven’t convinced you that your story, creativity, and artistry is worthy of being shared with the world, Sara Tasker surely will.

hashtag authentic by sara tasker coffee table book decor.jpg

17 Empowering Moments from Hashtag Authentic:

1. When you feel like your story doesn’t matter, isn’t worth telling on Instagram:

We all have a story to tell. In human history, there have been too few voices with little diversity. Women, people of colour, people with disabilities, the LGBTQ community and a great many others have found themselves rendered invisible through a lack of representation in art and books and publishing. The internet, and platforms like Instagram, gives everyone the chance to own their voice for the first time in human history. I believe this is a big part of the reason why the mainstream media will so often deride bloggers and YouTubers and Instagram stars. We’re not playing by the old rule book and we’re not telling the stories that have always been told.
— Hashtag Authentic, Page 13

2. When you feel like you’re drowning in the Instagram noise and say to yourself “no one cares about my voice here because there are so many louder, better voices out there”:

Instagram isn’t oversaturated - it’s not saturated enough. We need more people, more diversity, more perspectives. We need a cacophony of voices so that 100 years from now, the history books (or holo books, or whatever we have then) will have no choice but to mention us, and have room for us all.
— Hashtag Authentic, Page 14

3. When you feel like taking photos for Instagram is pointless:

Train your mind and your eyes to look for the precious in your everyday life. What do you want to remember, twenty years from now? What would go into a time capsule of your daily life, today?

And then, reach for your camera, or your smartphone, or whatever’s around. The plan is not to be perfect. It’s not to keep every photo forever. Instead, it’s an experiment - in gratitude, in noticing, in being present.
— Hashtag Authentic, Page 21

4. When you feel insecure for styling a photo for Instagram and coming across as “staged” or “inauthentic”:

The funny thing about photographing moments is, sometimes they don’t entirely speak for themselves. Sometimes we, as photographers, have to add in the missing elements, style the scene, and think about what it is we’re trying to say. Just like the street photographer moves the empty Coke can out of the scene, or the wedding photographer cues in the confetti when she’s ready for the shot, we have to be willing to be a part of our picture, and shape reality to match our ideas.
— Hashtag Authentic, Page 26

5. When you’re worried that people just might now “get you”:

Lean into whatever makes you different, and unique. As multi-Grammy nominated, 12-million-album-selling singer Tori Amos puts it: ‘I know I’m an acquired taste - I’m anchovies. And not everybody wants those hairy little things.’

Everyone likes Margherita pizza well enough, but not in the same way that some people love anchovy pizza. Trust that in being yourself, you’ll attract your true audience - and with over 800 million users currently on Instagram (and growing fast), that there’s plenty enough to go round for everyone.
— Hashtag Authentic, Page 41

6. When you feel like a bad photographer who isn’t worthy of posting on Instagram:

Photography traditionally comes with a whole host of rules - and light governs a long list of these. Thankfully, rules are made to be broken, and as a creative photographer you get to do whatever you find visually interesting. Shoot directly into the light. Let sun flares and artifacts - the coloured patterns and orbs that can appear as a result - paint themselves across your scene. Underexpose, overexpose, highlight the wrong parts of things. Worst case scenario, you learn that something just doesn’t work. Best case? You create something beautiful, creative, and uniquely your own.
— Hashtag Authentic, Page 72

7. When you feel insecure about posting a photo of yourself:

The third and final reason I encourage everyone to take photographs of themselves is because it can be so healing and empowering. Perhaps you’ve always been told you’re not special, or that exploring your appearance is vanity and shameful.

... When we take pictures of ourselves, by ourselves and for ourselves, magic can start to happen. ...Over time, we can reprogramme the way we see ourselves and the story we tell in our heads when it comes to ourselves, our image and photography. And best of all, we can gently dip our toes into sharing that image of ourselves with a wider world, and access the incredible healing power of acceptance and love from the Instagram community.
— Hashtag Authentic, Page 86

8. When you can’t seem to stop comparing yourself to others and it’s paralyzing your creativity:

Our creative practice can be the most wonderful tool in stressful or difficult times, but if we’re going to enjoy it, we have to let go of the voice of perfection, of how we think it should be. We have to tune out what everyone else is doing, and dig into the magic of our own story to tell.
— Hashtag Authentic, Page 113

9. When you catch yourself wondering if it’s silly to be posting so many photos of your interior decor:

It’s common for interior design to be regarded as silly or trivial, yet our living spaces can have a tremendous impact on how we live and feel in the day to day. Styling a beautiful shelf, arranging a wall of magazine clippings and prints or picking a simple bunch of flowers for the kitchen table can all impact on mindset, mood and motivation in small but significant ways.

It isn’t silly to care about the small things around us and the details of our home. Sometimes they’re our best defense for resilience in a difficult, painful and too often ugly world.
— Hashtag Authentic, Page 135

10. When you need to be reminded that your interior decor is more than just a pretty sight; it a meditative, fulfilling act that keeps you from taking your surroundings for granted:

Photography and Instagram gives us the perfect excuse to get involved in our interiors and play around as often as we would like. So often we fill our homes with lovely things only to promptly ignore them from that day on. Whether it’s reworking a shelf to get the perfect #shelfie, or bringing seasonal finds in from outdoors to join in with #stylingtheseasons, spending time enjoying our interiors instead of just reluctantly cleaning them once a week came as a revelation to me!
— Hashtag Authentic, Page 135

11. When you feel like you’re not worthy of showing up on Instagram just as you are:

The internet is a huge human soup of diversity, and by showing up and sharing our real, gorgeous, imperfect selves, we can all help to increase the representation of every body, and celebrate our style and individuality along the way.
— Hashtag Authentic, Page 139

12. When feel an Instagram identity crisis coming on:

Your Instagram gallery is... a hand-curated exhibition of your life in pictures and video. As the curator and designer of this gallery, you get to choose how it’s presented to the world.

What is your exhibition about? How to you want it to make people feel?
— Hashtag Authentic, Page 157

13. When you feel like everyone else is ahead of you and has it figured out, while you’re trailing behind:

You’re not in competition and it isn’t a race. Think of your creative journey as a winding path or a toboggan run down a mountainside. It doesn’t matter how fast you get to the end: you’re the only one on your path, and the finish line will still be waiting for you.
— Hashtag Authentic, Page 157

14. When you feel the haterade:

Whenever we get jealous, bitter, resentful or scornful, it’s really a sign that there’s something amiss in our own private world, that we’re usually trying quite desperately to ignore. If there are people in your life who make you feel this way, check whether they deserve and really need to be there. If they don’t, gently let them go.
— Hashtag Authentic, Page 158

15. When you catch yourself measuring your self-worth by your follower count:

The other big number people get stuck upon is their follower count. It’s easy to see why: since the early days of MySpace and Facebook, people have been judging their popularity - and that of others - by how many friends or followers they have. But this isn’t Pokemon and we don’t need to ‘catch ‘em all’. A small, engaged community can be twice as valuable and powerful as a larger, more generic one.
— Hashtag Authentic, Page 175

16. When someone unfollows you:

Don’t take any unfollows to heart. Anyone who doesn’t like or get our work is not someone we should want to keep around. I see it as a little like panning for gold: you scoop in the dirt, give it a shake. We’re only interested in collecting those glittering nuggets of golden brilliance. Everything else is just noise, and is welcome to fall through the cracks.
— Hashtag Authentic, Page 176

17. When you feel like everyone else’s lives are perfect just because their Instagram presence makes them appear that way:

Remember it isn’t real life. Even the most authentic, behind-the-scenes of Instagrammers are only ever sharing about 1 per cent of their life. Social media shows the edited highlights of our lives, and for most of us, that will mean the more fun and interesting bits. Yes, sometimes we also share the not-so-fun, but even then it is done carefully, with the things we feel able to share. Don’t compare your real life to someone else’s highlight reel.
— Hashtag Authentic, Page 188

I hope you walk away from this post with a renewed sense of why you choose to grace Instagram with your presence. Because that really is what you’re doing every time you post - you are gracing the Instagram world with something that it would otherwise be missing: you.

What is your greatest Instagram related struggle? Tell me in the comments!


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Hey there! I’m Steffi, creator of Moda Misfit - a style blog that aims to inspire you to embrace who you are and express your creative self through home decor & fashion. We're all Moda Misfits here!

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