Social Media for Humans

Trauma responses and social media with Vanessa Persephone Wells

May 06, 2022 Alexis Bushnell Season 2 Episode 10
Social Media for Humans
Trauma responses and social media with Vanessa Persephone Wells
Show Notes Transcript

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!

Vanessa's links.
Website: darkheartshealingarts.com
Instagram: www.instagram.com/darkheartshealingarts
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BlackHeartsHealingArts

Alexis' links.
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

Support the show
Hawke:

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.