How does social media activate trauma response in those of us with co-dependency and abuse histories? Vanessa Persephone Wells (she/they) explains what's going on and what we can do to take care of ourselves and manage those responses.
Vanessa is a psychic medium, empathic coach, solitary eclectic secular witch, energy worker, and founder of Dark Hearts Healing Arts. They offer Shadow Work and Self-Worth Witchery for deep feelers, intense thinkers, and witchy creatives who are done living in survival mode and want to live, contribute, and create in a way that feels affirming, rewarding, and real.
Their mission is to support you in cultivating deeper self-connection, authentic self-expression, and confidence in your ability to craft a life you love, so you can freely and fully be YOU!
I hang out on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/alexisbushnell/
Find me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SocialMediaForHumans
Join the club to learn more about ethical and effective social media marketing: https://socialmediaforhumans.club/
Voice over by Hawke Wood: https://www.spotlight.com/3490-9081-8844
Hello and welcome to Social Media for Humans, the podcast that empowers you to do social differently. Your host, Alexis Bushnell, and her guests discuss their experience of social media as business owners, users and, ultimately, humans. With insights and advice to help you find an effective and ethical strategy that works for you, grab yourself a drink and join the conversation.Alexis:
hello hello! I am here with lovely Vanessa so do introduce yourself, tell us who you are what you do.Vanessa:
Hello, I am Vanessa Persephone Wells, I'm an oracle card reader and intuitive coach. I specifically work through the model of shadow work to help people connect with and build on their self-worth, yeah, in a nutshell. Alexis: Very good, I think this is something that comes up, well I don't want to say it comes up with social media, because I think a lot of people don't realise it's coming up, but I do think it is something that is sort of bubbling under the surface when people have issues with social media, so I guess first of all, how do you sort of see that, the stuff that you're working with, impacted by social media? Vanessa: I feel like social media has become a stressor, right? For a while it was just sort of this like fun toy, and then that toy developed into a tool, right, and it went from something that was easy breezy lemon squeezy to having meaning and like, having significance, and having weight, and the more it shifted into being a tool it depersonalised the experience and it became about like messaging, you know? And that is neutral, that doesn't have to be good or bad, just depending on the ways in which that's getting used and to what ends, right, the means and the ends of it and so now we have this comparativism epidemic that happens and we have this urge of control right? We have to control our feed, we have to control our content, we have to control how we represent ourselves with filters and this that, and we have to have all the right hashtags, and we have to caption it right, we have to get the timing right of when we post it to make sure people see it. All of a sudden it becomes stressful and so when we're already operating at this high threshold of anxiety just because life, just because the state of the world right now, many of us, I wouldn't say all of us, but what many of us came to as a tool to sort of ameliorate that anxiety and that heaviness has now become like a pivotal focal point of that and I think many of us are still trying to kind of hold on to the way it was, right? The fun and the carefreeness of it and we don't realise that we're actually, you know, experience this friction of how the tool is being demanded to be used and how we're being curated to use it through the way everyone else is using it. I know for me, I started to fall out of love with, I fell out of love with Facebook a while ago because of the energy there and the conversations that were being had, right? It was kind of like going to an obligatory holiday dinner with family members that you know you don't see eye to eye with and you're just gonna be like I'm just gonna have to tolerate all this all this crap, I'm just going to sit here and take it and just drink my wine and wait for dessert to come so I can leave, right? That was Facebook and it's like, okay I don't actually have to engage with this, I don't have to put myself in that space, I get to choose to leave that space and now Instagram is starting to become that for me, personally, but I know for a lot of people too, that a lot of people dropping out of the space because there's just so much like shit to deal with, you know? The fake accounts and this and that, whatever, and people are just tired of it and I don't want to do it anymore. And TikTok also has its own own brand of trauma instigation that I'm gonna touch on. So when I looked at this for myself I really felt it tied into my codependency conditioning and the trauma that I have around that and the adaptive behaviours that I've had around that that I've worked so diligently to comprehend and also like work through and learn how to manage, if not transform, right. And so once I kind of spotted that, I took like the zoom out approach and I was like, well this can't just be me, I'm not the only person in the world and I started to listen to how clients that I work with were experiencing things and just people that I know that have the same kind of wiring, and it started to become apparent that okay, there's actually a relationship dynamic between the user and the platform, regardless of how we're engaging with other users, we're actually in a relationship with Instagram or TikTok, or whatever and it's a bit of a one-sided relationship because we actually don't have that much influence over the behaviour of the other in this relationship, and how that really echoes a lot of that codependency conditioning where we feel responsible for trying to change, or adjust, or remedy a dynamic where ultimately we don't have power over the other but yet we feel like well what if I do this, well what if I do that well, what if I change this, will it work better if I fix that, well what if I change, what do I need to do differently? And keep putting all that onus back on the self instead of taking a bit of a neutral approach and saying like, is this working? Flat out, as it is, is this working for me? It's not? Okay, is it something I'm doing that I'm not happy with that's contributing to this? Right like so it's that self-inventory of like am I doing something that I'm not happy with, or am I doing something that's unhealthy for this dynamic that I'm ready to look at and be like, oh I can do this differently? Or am I trying to change something that's outside my sphere of influence, right? Am I trying to have power where I am ultimately powerless? So that really opened up a host of questions and one of those questions is, when you're a content consumer you can just walk away, when you're a content creator, when you're using social media to leverage your service or product, to promote your business or your art or, you know, however you're using it, as a marketing tool, that relationship becomes a lot harder to walk away from because your survival is dependent on being there in that space, and that echoes a lot of abuse dynamics and a lot of trauma dynamics for people. I don't think people realise that that's happening to them, much in the same way that when you're in any sort of dynamic like that it's really hard to see it from the inside.Alexis:
I think it's really telling as well the way you see, you say that we are in relationships with the platforms themselves and I think it that is really telling when people say "I hate Instagram. I hate Facebook." And for me the platform is like, I'm not a fan of Facebook, it's not my favourite platform but I love Facebook groups and I think it's really, for me when people say things like "I hate insert network here" it's very like everything, everything about it and there's no kind of understanding of maybe it is the people you're following, maybe it's how you're using the platform, maybe it is. Because what we don't realise I think is that, especially when we first start on a platform, there is a tendency to follow the the big people on that platform in our industry, the people who are largely not using it especially ethically, who are buying into that FOMO and pushing a certain lifestyle and doing those things, and so our experience of a platform becomes that, and I notice this so much when I see like other people's Instagram accounts especially, and I watch them as they're scrolling their feed and their Instagram feed is just a whole different world to mine, like it is an entirely different experience. And so I find it really interesting that you say we don't have the power and I think to a degree we don't, you know, if Instagram wants to bring in Reels, if they want to kill hashtags, if they want to change this or delete that or whatever, we don't have the power. But I think we have more power than a lot of people realise to change things and, while you might not be able to like, you can't guarantee that your post is going to do well even if you check all the boxes, but you can adjust your experience on the platform to align with who you are and what you want from it.Vanessa:
Sure like there's that discernment piece of what can I actually influence and effect, and what can't I, right? Choosing who you follow, and that's something that so from the content consumer point of view you know, I'm gonna use my example of I am very passionate about animal rescue so of course I'm gonna follow all the animal rescue things because I want to support them because it matters to me, because that's something that I want to include in my experience right? And then every time I'm scrolling it's like sad doggy thing, sad doggy thing, sad doggy thing, and because I have a very low threshold to tolerate suffering I'm just like, while I want to be supportive, I'm also being highly activated and so there becomes that choice of like, okay this is something I have control over, right? I can either hide the accounts, I don't unfollow them but I can hide the accounts that are a little more graphic or a little bit more triggering in that way, I can unfollow ones if I want to, and I can train the algorithm to give me more of what I like, so in that respect absolutely, what we don't have power over is how that algorithm is coded and how that works, how much preference is given to certain accounts or ad space or things like that. And where Instagram has a little bit, probably because it's been around longer, has more of that curation when it comes to just like your feed, something like TikTok I find far more jarring in that way because that For You Page all of a sudden, you see like the TikToks that are like "somehow I ended up on this side of TikTok" and it's like. You know every once in a while you're just like, "how did I get that on here?" And it's such exposure culture and like documentation culture that a lot of times you get something and you're, like I was not prepared for that, I feel really derailed and dysregulated now, and that could just be a factor of catch up because they haven't been around as long so their accuracy of curation may or may not be there, I don't really know, but for sure we can curate our experience and say "hey, I want to see more of this, I'm engaging with this," where that catches is when we're not clear about how we are training the algorithm for ourselves. And so for people who do have this embedded conditioning or wiring to take responsibility for things, to fix, there is going to be a gravitation towards social issues that are really dire or things that are, yes very very important, and so that like somatic and unconscious psyche pull to like, "I need to know more about this, I need to know what's going on, I need to know what's going on, I need to get involved, I need to cross post, I need to comment, I need to like, I need to do all these things to support the cause," right at what point is it supporting the cause and at what point is it inundating your own feed with stuff that's stressing you out? Where it's like one person alone can't solve all the issue but that sort of reaffirms that feeling of helplessness when it's like, all this stuff is going wrong, all this stuff is going wrong and I'm just seeing more of everything that's bad, and there's that disconnect from solution, there's that disconnect from where things are progressing or where there is some resolution or just some lightness, and that's not to be bypassing about it but it's about balance, right? Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez did a TikTok or maybe an Instagram, I don't know, and she was like kind of pointing that out in the way she's she said, "if it feels like nothing is working, if it feels like everything is awful, that's because they want you to feel that way. They want you to feel like things aren't working, they want you to feel helpless, they don't want you to see where we are making change and where we are making progress when it comes to like unionising workers and things like that." So her message was about encouragement against cynicism and like, don't just buy what's right in front of you, seek out also the sources that are talking about the good things that are happening and finding that balance. So it's yes, we can be discerning if we know what internal program we're working with and need to balance and calibrate, right?Alexis:
I think that the key really is that we do have control over what we see to a degree but we have to be conscious of that, and we have to be consistently aware when we're using social media that the algorithms are designed to keep you on the platform, and stuff that keeps you on the platform is stuff that makes you keep doom scrolling, it's stuff that makes you feel "I have to share another post, I have to find more information, I have to leave this comment to disagree with this person." That's the content that keeps people engaged and, as much as like we think we want to that to see more positive news, to see good stuff, to see happy stories, largely people don't engage with that content, they don't share that stuff because there isn't an urgency with it, it's not "something bad is happening, I need to change it, I need to help," it's just "oh, that's nice." That's where it ends and I think there is this, especially in the spiritual community, there is this sort of desire for oh, we want social media to look like this but a complete disconnect as to our own role in that, and I do think being aware is really the key because if you can notice early enough on that "okay, I noticed my mind is speeding up, I am trying to find more information, I feel more frantic, I feel like argh, argh, I need to get more information," then we need to step away. Like that's when you go "I'm out, I'm out." Whether that's for a couple of hours, whether that's for several weeks or months. I think it is being aware, like you say, of what sets us off and what triggers us and what is at our core going to do that, and allowing ourselves to protect ourselves from that as well. Because there is also this issue of "if I don't follow those accounts then I don't care about it. If I don't like those posts then I don't care about those things," and that's just not at all how it works. In fact generally quite the opposite.Vanessa:
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Right so it's that thing like am I supporting the cause? It comes back to your point really of like how are we consciously using this tool, and a lot of times we go to social media for the unconsciousness of it, it's a tool of disassociation, just like I'm going to zone out, but we have to remember that it is a source of information and so are you just going to walk into any old classroom if it's not something that your values align with, that you're interested in, that is working towards making you a better person and making the world a better person, whatever your view of that is? Or you're just going to walk in sit down and absorb information regardless of what it means and its consequences and contributions? So social media is kind of the same deal and we have a responsibility to ourselves to consciously engage with the things that not only work for us but work for the greater progress and and collective well-being right. Is there one way to do that? Nope, right. It's a highly personalised experience and so that's where it's like, that self connection of like you were saying how am I feeling as I'm doing this, right? Am I feeling better about myself? Am I feeling better about things? Not that we have to feel good all the time, that's obviously not the truth, but am I actually putting myself in a place of harm, am I harming myself? Am I activating my anxiety? Am I making myself more depressed? We don't need help with that right now, we can get there all on our own just by existing in the current framework of life and recognising that that's hard, like living is a little hard right now and, or a lot of hard, so being like yes following accounts and increasing engagement for those accounts is supportive in a way, but does it equate having an impact? Does it equate contribution to the cause that you care about? Are there other ways that you can show up that aren't so inundating and flooding to the somatic systems, to the nervous system, to the psyche that will actually give you that sense of contribution that you're after without the hyper stimulation of curated doom scrolling messaging right.Alexis:
And I think as people who are sort of very empathic, I also think it can help to consider when we're re-sharing those things, when we're in that place and we're re-sharing everything, posting stuff to stories, posting stuff to our own Facebook feeds and groups and Twitter and everywhere, actually what we're doing is just spreading our own stuff and triggering other people. Everything we are consuming we are then pushing out to everybody that is following us and we are helping other people to get into that same state and get into that same "oh my god I need more information, I need to share this information, I need to like this post and comment on this post and have a go at this person," and that's probably not what we're intending, you know, we're doing it thinking this is going to make a difference, this is the important information that we need to put out there, but actually there might be other ways that you can curate that information for your audience in a way that isn't going to activate them like that. So I do think as well by, sort of, slowing ourselves down and being like just more conscious in what we are sharing and how we're engaging on social media, we also help to protect our own communities by not pushing that out there for them as well.Vanessa:
Yeah yeah, there's a lot of shock content out there and also you know, working within the framework of brevity context goes out the window, right? So you know, so much of personal growth or spiritual direction or social advocacy has been reduced to these bite-sized little tidbits that do work to nail that chemistry, right. So whether it's dopamine hit or whatever other chemicals, you know, adrenaline, right, just like from that anxiety point of view of like "Huh! This is urgent, this matters." Which you pointed out is a lot more addictive in our current climate, especially than the Upworthy posts where it's like dopamine hit, oxytocin hit, where you're like "oh that's so nice, that's wonderful," you know, so that adrenaline kick gets a lot more traction you know. And I forgot where I was going with that. I lost my lost my train of thought there. Alexis: That's okay, if it comes back I can cut it in. But yeah, so from that place of like the content consumer that's where we have that thing. When it comes to being the content creator, then same set of of issues and variables, different needs and demands, right, so that's where that feeling of failing a lot of times kicks in and that feeling of what can I do, what do I need to change in order to make this work? And because we don't have control over who engages, how they engage, right, but we do try to control the variables of when do I post, do I post long form or short form, which hashtags, do I do video, do I do you know text quote Insta quote kind of stuff, like experimenting with all this different formatting. And the thing is that things change, right. Instagram or whatever the platform is are going to always change and mix up their their stuff because they're keeping up with their own trends and they're keeping up with their own demands and such and they're evolving with just culture. So when it feels like oh no, I don't know what I need to do, now we're back in that sort of seat of what can I fix, what do I do, where do I have power, where do I don't, what can I, what can I adjust, and it can feel like a scramble, and the difference is there's less of that "I'm not going to do this anymore," because that then impacts visibility which impacts the purchase power of people or your relevancy, and once you fall out of the feed it's that much harder to get back into the feed, and it becomes these questions and it's not that they're insurmountable but it can feel like that sense of flailing and failing because you're just trying to make it work, make it work, make it work. And like it just might be that it's not working for you right now or anymore, and that's like okay, well what do we do? Alexis: Yeah and that is something that when I'm working with people I do find that they are often in that state of either "I'm just rubbish at social media, I can't do it, I don't. And that tends to come from a place of they just don't know how it works, they don't know the sort of core principles, not the specific ins and outs of every single platform and everything, but just the core of what social media platforms are aiming for, and I find that a lot of the time once people have that grounding they can run everything past that and go "okay this post didn't do very well, oh it was probably because" and it removes some of that "oh it's just that I don't know how to use hashtags, it's just that I am really bad at writing captions, it's just that I take bad photos," and it removes some of that self-blame. It's again, it's when people don't realise that they are wired to take that responsibility on instead of having that sort of objective thing of like, oh there's two forces here, there's what I'm putting out right, and then there's what happens after that and I don't have control over that but I can learn from it, I can take information from it, and it doesn't all have to be about it's my fault, I'm bad at this, I'm doing everything wrong, right? When we don't recognise that we have that rhetoric going on in our heads or that we're pre-conditioned to receive an experience like that, then we lose that capacity and that self-agency to heal it, right, to remedy it, to be like oh okay, this one post did that, or this series of posts did bad, what metrics can I take away and be like all right, can I try something totally different, am I not willing to try something totally different, what are my boundaries around content creation, just as it was like what are my boundaries around content consumption. It becomes that that self exploration of what am I willing to take on and what am I willing to put out and what am I not, and it comes back to that consciousness that you're talking about that we have to remember to be intentional about how we're engaging with ourselves first and foremost and then with others because it is a social platform and what we put out does get consumed and received.Alexis:
I would wager that a lot of people don't even notice that they are having that response when they are on social media, they don't notice that they are being activated let alone what they are being activated by. What can people do if they are worried, if they maybe feel like "I hate social media" or "I hate this platform," or "I'm really rubbish at social media," what are some steps they can take that might give them an insight into what's actually going on?Vanessa:
A place to start I think, it's a couple things, I think a place to start is with the self and like just that self inventory of like, what am I actually feeling? Right, just take that time and that space to connect what am I enjoying about this? What am I not enjoying about this? What is working for me and what's not working for me or my business, however you're using it, right. Like being willing, even if you're not yet able to, but being willing to take that reflective inventory of what's actually happening here, because when we can be in that place of neutrality and observation, which I'm not saying is easy to be in, but if in those moments when we can get there, when we're a little more regulated and we can get there and be like, okay so what's actually happening here? We can see a little bit more contrast between "everything is horrible and I suck" and here are the moments that didn't meet my own expectations, what were those expectations based on, how closely did I execute my expectations through my content, right? Like that's where we can look at ourselves and be like okay, what do I have influence over? And then also looking at you know, okay but there's nothing I can do about who's receiving it. There comes that point where we have to relinquish a little bit of control, and that's not all on you, and that can alleviate pressure right, you can take a little bit of pressure off yourself to be like I can't control what happens after this. But it is like any relationship, if you're putting out and putting out and putting out in the way that feels authentic and aligned to you and you're not getting back, you're not getting back, you're not getting back, then either the community that follows you isn't in alignment with your values or your service or the platform isn't, and that's where we then begin the process of deciding and grieving change, right. Exploring, the same way you would do with a job that you no longer like, where you're like I need to leave this job, I'm going to start researching other options, other availability but it comes down to also again those boundaries of what do I need what are my needs? What do I need from whatever medium or platform that I'm creating content for and putting it out there? Because you might find that you're trying to get blog results or ebook results from TikTok, and it's like well those are completely different formats and you actually might be better suited, it might be more soothing and nourishing for you to write long format content. Maybe you need to be on Medium. Yes it's smaller, yes it's totally different and and whatever, but if it's gonna keep you in a more regulated state of content creation and you're gonna feel like you're doing better work for yourself, maybe that's more worth it than likes or whatever feedback you're getting from the thing that's causing you stress. So it comes back to that self-assessment of what are my boundaries and what are my needs? How am I crafting expectations based off of those things and can the outlet that I'm engaging with actually reciprocate the energy and effort that I'm putting in?Alexis:
Yeah and one question that I get asked so much is which social network do I need to be on? Which platform do I need to be on? My answer is just always, well, which do you enjoy? And people are stunned that that is my response. They're expecting like "well you need to be on Instagram because it has the most people, most active users," or "you need to be on TikTok because it's growing the fastest," or whatever and it doesn't matter. Like none of that matters if you hate being on the platform, if you hate creating the style of content that does well for you on that platform and so it is so so much better for you to say, right, well I already spend a lot of time in specific Facebook groups and I really enjoy spending time there, my community is there, so I'm just going to be on Facebook and do Facebook groups. Like, that is an effective social media marketing strategy. If your people are there and you enjoy spending time there, just do that, don't set yourself up to be completely overwhelmed all the time and to constantly feel like I hate this, I'm rubbish at this, I really don't want to be doing this, this is just awful and I hate everything, because you don't need to do that to get results. And also if you feel like that you're not going to see the results anyway.Vanessa:
Exactly like what kind of what kind of motivation and inspiration do you have to create content if you're going into it being like, this is gonna suck, this isn't gonna pay off. And it's a reminder that our emotional needs matter in our work and so feeling good in what we're doing matters, it deserves a priority, it doesn't have to be the top priority all the time, like sometimes in our work we have to do things that we don't want to do or that we don't like, but those should be few and far between and not traumatising, right, not activating, and not putting ourselves in this place of like self-deprecation. So yeah, it's like exercise you know, "what type of exercise should I do?" The one that you will do. It doesn't matter if it's yoga, doesn't matter if it's going to the gym, doesn't matter if it's mixed martial arts and kickboxing, like whatever one you're actually gonna do consistently because it feels good and you enjoy it, that's where you start, and you can always optimise something that exists when it has a good foundation but if you're working from a broken foundation it's so hard to build on. So you're totally right, pinpointing what you enjoy is key because you're also going to connect with people that are like-minded and that share values, and those are going to want to be your people. So it like sounds so simple and yet it's not easy so many times.Alexis:
Yeah and I think that is one of the things, isn't it? When you say it people go "oh yeah, that makes sense," but people don't think about it because we are, again, like so caught up in this constant feed of information where it's like these are the stats for this social network, these are the top performing posts, this is what you need to be doing on this network, this is the upcoming thing, you have to be XYZ, and if that's all we're seeing it's incredibly difficult to take a step back and go do I like this? Is creating tonnes of short form video content something that I actually am going to enjoy and want to do, or am I going to be sat there every single time I need to make one of these short form videos thinking I hate everything, I have no ideas, this is just the worst.Vanessa:
And we also like, as we're looking to other people right, we can't see that this is what they love to do, right? They're like, but they love doing short form video, they love doing Reels and TikToks, it lights them up, they have fun with it. Like we don't see that beyond the finished product so when we're looking to other people for ideas and inspiration and influence of how to be successful, we're looking at well they do things that are this long and they do stuff that we take reference from, like the physical material stuff and we don't actually step back to attribute like, I wonder how they feel when they're doing this. I wonder what motivates them to do it. It's like oh they're good at it, they enjoy it, and that's what allows all the other pieces to kind of fall into place.Alexis:
Yeah yeah and I think sort of the other side of that is when, especially like when Reels came out and quote "everybody's doing Reels now," and I was thinking that no they're not, but you're seeing more Reels in your feed because Instagram is pushing Reels. They are prioritising reels in your feed so you are seeing more stuff from the people who are doing Reels. There are still tonnes of people out there who aren't and they're still doing well on the platform, and I think this is something we can really easily forget is, again, the things that we don't control are influencing what we see, like that is what is deciding what is actually appearing in our feeds, and that is what is informing how we think we need to be on the platform, and this idea that everybody is doing this, everybody is doing that, is just not true. There are people who aren't on social media and are still running successful businesses, there are people who create really long form content and do really really well with it because there are people out there who want that, and sure maybe you're not going to reach the majority of people in the world who are on social media but you don't have to be for everybody. It's totally okay to recognise these are my people and I'm going to create content for them and I don't care if it's 0.001% of social media users because they're my people, and that's fine. Vanessa: Yeah it comes back to that style of relating, if you have a platform, an algorithm, that's like we want people to do things more like this so we're going to inundate the feed and create this illusion that this is what's happening, right. If there's a relating style within you that's like "oh I need to do what they want me to do, they want me to be more like this so I have to now change myself," right, that's where this co-dependency wiring comes in, I have to change myself to be more like this in order to belong, in order to be relevant, in order to be liked and popular. And that's not bad, I'm not saying that's bad or worth judgment or shame, it's something to recognise because if that doesn't feel good, if that's contributing to again your anxiety, your depression, your self-image being inhibited or compromised, if you feel like "I'm not enough and I'm failing and I'm not good because I can't do what is being dictated to me," there's a cause for pause right there. Like oh, okay, is this true? Do I have to do this? Do I have to change the way that I like doing things in order to fit? And it also comes back to, is it more important to relate to the everyone, liked and accepted in this big old pool of things, or is it more valuable to be impactful to this meaningful group of people? And that's a judgment call for everybody, it depends on what your objective is and what your reach is, right? But it's worth understanding and evaluating so that again you can create realistic expectations for yourself, understand your needs and create a relationship and a content strategy that actually nourishes and supports, as opposed to pressure, pressure, stress, failing, not working. Yeah yeah, and that is so true because another thing is very much this idea that just having to be doing all the things, just I have to be XYZ and I have to post seven days a week and I have to post to Stories and I have to do Reels and I have to do a podcast and I have to write a blog and I have to do a newsletter and I have to do all these things and I'm just like why? Whoa! Can we just have a think about like why? Which of those things is actually important to you? Because the other thing is not all of those things are important for all businesses, and again it comes back to who your audience is and who you are and I think a lot of basically this conversation is just you need to check in with you and start with you.Vanessa:
Yeah yeah and that is I think something that has been trained out of a lot of us, that it doesn't start with us, that we come second or third or fourth or whatever, especially if you have co-dependency conditioning, that's your default is what they need comes first and then I respond, reflect and adjust to that. And that's where it's important to recognise that if that is part of your experience and conditioning that you're starting on a back foot when it comes to relating, there's a little bit of catch-up, or a little bit of extra intentionality and consciousness that has to be brought to the dynamic and to your content consumption and creation because otherwise you're going to put yourself back in a situation that doesn't feel good, even if in your relationships you're working towards healthier dynamics and relating, you might be over here just feeding that old dragon kind of thing, and being like oh but I still have it going on and that means if it's activated over here it's gonna eventually ripple out into other things, so how can I just come back to centre and come back to me and what I want and what's good for me and what I need and the new tools that I have for relating and apply that to this template that kind of predisposes me towards old ways. Alexis: yeah definitely. If people are not sure if they are activated by things, if they have those co-dependent traits, what are some things they can look out for that they might be able to notice so that they can decide right, okay I need to do some work on this, I need to reach out to somebody, I need to change how I'm using social media, whatever? I think one of the the big tells is that feeling of helplessness, it's that feeling of like "no matter what I do I can't get it right, no matter what I do it doesn't work," and that will feel true and, objectively, will also not be entirely true, but the fact that it feels true is a real clear sign of like okay wait, I'm not in the healthiest relating dynamic to this right now so pause, let me remove myself from that environment and see how I feel, let me put this down for an hour, for a day, for a week, whatever it is until I can feel like re-centred, right. We get outside of that threshold of tolerance and it's like "oh urgh," you know, and when we can get back to this place of like, okay I feel like I can meet this in a regulated and responsible way, I can pick it up, I can look at it, I can not feel an excessive emotional charge around it, but it's when we're feeling supercharged, particularly around helplessness, insecurity and then self-deprecation or that self-blame, right, like "what am I doing wrong? What am I missing? What don't I understand?" When it becomes that like we really turn that responsibility all on us, like we feel like we're carrying most of that weight, that's a good clue of like I am dipping into an unhealthy relating dynamic here and I can't change that piece right now so I need to just step away and give myself some space to recalibrate. And that's where we go do self-nourishing things, we do self-soothing things, we get ourselves back into a state of self-connection and somatic regulation. So I say that would be the first clue, the second clue is also compulsiveness, right, we can't put it down and we keep, we have to fidget and I'm going to delete the post and delete all the hashtags and I'll repost it at a different time and see if it works better and then I'll do that again, or we keep trying to repeat the same thing and expecting it to yield a different result. So it becomes that template of if I just keep showing up and if I just love them harder, eventually they'll notice me, eventually they'll see my value, and it's like maybe, maybe not baby, I don't know.Alexis:
Yeah and if they don't that's their problem. Vanessa: Yeah and there's nothing you do about it, you can't make make somebody, or even a not somebody, you can't make a something like bend to your will like that. Yes it's what you need but maybe that's not what your community needs, maybe that's not what your followers need, maybe that's not what the platform needs right now, and your needs matter, that doesn't mean your needs are wrong, it means that those needs need to be met elsewhere or in a completely different way. And so it's not about eschewing your needs and being like "oh I guess I need to do things this way now, even though that freaks me out or it's a limitation for me," it's no, okay, my needs matter, this is my need and how can I get that met? Can I get that met here in this way, if not where where else can I experiment, where else can I try? Yeah. That has been so useful I am sure there are many people listening who are thinking "oh yeah, that is me, I definitely have this problem." If they are thinking that and they would like to work with you and sort that stuff out, where can they find you? Vanessa: They can find me at Dark Hearts Healing Arts either on Instagram or just dot com and I offer one on one, all my work is one on one right now so it's intimate, it's private, it's online so it's easy breezy and yeah, it's a really sacred space that we work in to really connect with those deeper and more pained parts of ourselves that kind of take the wheel without necessarily our permission sometimes and lead us into places where you don't want to hang out in. I will pop the links in the show notes so people can find you super easily. This has honestly been so interesting and really really helpful and supportive for people so thank you so much for being here.Vanessa:
Thank you for having me and for having this conversation with me.Hawke:
If you want more regular reminders to find your own way to use social media, follow Alexis on your social platform of choice, all the links will be in the show notes. Until next time, be a human.