Are you posting for education or validation?
Her highness- social media.
She has the power to bring us all closer together by creating a strong community. Enabling us to connect, share and grow alongside other passionate educators’. When you are allies with her highness you will find passion, belonging and a sense of unity as you manoeuvre through life.
However, every good ruler has an element of deception.
She can also be a dominant force who controls lives, exiles individuals and wreaks havoc on a person's mind, leaving many in an unconscious dream of solitary confinement.
For she has no walls, no boundaries and no limitations on what she is capable of, her reach is infinite and her grip can quickly strangle and suck the energy from you. If you find yourself on the wrong side of her, it’s a slippery slope that leads to the crumbling of your ego and withdrawal of your soul.
I urge you to consider your relationship with social media.
At the dawn of 2019 I spent an extensive period of time in isolation. I attended a Silent Meditation Retreat in the Balinese mountains, during the experience I engaged in deep reflection and introspection.
Amongst many realisations, one of the most moving was when I considered the role her highness- social media, was playing in my life.
In that moment, the question that bubbled to the surface was:
Am I posting for instant gratification and validation?
I began to go deeper, writing furiously in my notebook about the topic. It was a remarkable day that I would sit down with the ruler of all the lands and have an honest conversation about whether or not I believed she was being a good queen in my life.
The internal dialogue was interesting and it gave way to a number of emotions and sensations in my body as I inquired further. At the crux of all the investigating was a clear message.
At times, not all the time, I was posting because I was feeling lonely, disconnected and isolated. The hours a day spent creating, posting and checking content to make sure it was “engaging” was usually disguising the time I was spending comparing, judging and criticising others.
She was leading me down a slippery dark hole each time, that resulted in resentment. Being resentful is a warning sign or flashing beacon to tell me that I am not living in alignment with my values.
One of my core values is self-compassion and at this moment of introspect I asked myself was I being loving myself by getting enough sleep, exercising, eating well and staying connected.
When I am lying on my bed some days thinking of what I could possibly post to get a reaction or engage the community was actually a negative habit that was making me feel lonely and disconnected. Where did this come from and why had it taken root?
A number of limiting beliefs had formed thanks to my unhealthy relationship with her highness, the Queen of Social Media had again created a team of false dichotomy that was impacting me personally and my business. This was in contrast to loving myself first!
The first disturbing belief was that I had to be posting content all day everyday. Beneath this is the belief that “I am not enough” or “I am not doing enough” and “If I don’t do more this will cripple me and the business”... all absolutely false, but when you dive deeper, you realise this all stems from a feeling of lack, the poisonous behaviour released by scarcity, which rears its ugly head when we feel stressed or emotionally exhausted.
What do we tend to do more of when fatigued and stressed?
Scroll aimlessly through social media hoping the Queen gives that little hit of dopamine to make us feel good!
She drugs us!
I called her bluffed and asked, do I measure my self-worth using social media?
No! Time to make a change.
The second disturbance that quickly retreated once I looked it in the eye and told it the truth, hurting it as it coward and backed away was linked to resentment.
I know I am living outside my values when I am resentful.
Resentment is like the Queens, pissed off, annoying, selfish younger brother who believes he should have the power and rule the kingdom.
He shows up when he smells weakness and often chases what isn’t his. I don’t think so Jamie Lanister… you are only a one armed man! I will win this fight.
The only way to overcome resentment and stop him from blowing the door off the hinges is when we set clear boundaries, turning him into a faithful allie, who has courage and faith.
Courage and faith are also linked to another core value of mine… Spirituality.
At the time of this meeting with the Queen I am reading Dare to Lead by Brene Brown. She is currently going deep into living into your values.
Pittman says, “Spirituality is the deep human longing to experience the transcendent in ordinary life- it’s the expectation to experience the extraordinary in the ordinary, the miraculous in the mundane, and the sacred camouflaged in the profane”
Growing from the toxic environment resentment was creating in my psyche was the veil of disguise casting a shadow over courage.
I started Smile Teachers out of courage. Courage to step up, speak out and be vulnerable. Having the courage to stand out from the crowd. Living in courage so that I could spark positive change and make a difference to teachers, students and the world.
When under the spell of her highness, I become a victim and do not speak my truth. I relinquish my right to speak up and share my insights and knowledge.
Having let this begin to become a habit, I would often spend too much time contemplating whether or not to share content I felt would be beneficial. This was not living in my power.
This Queen I speak of is nothing but a mystical character, just as fictitious as social media itself. She does not exist in the physical world, but when we become unconsciously incompetent with our devices, she begins to impact our lives energetically.
I made a commitment to myself… to live in alignment with my values and to only use social media as a way to EDUCATE not VALIDATE!
My mission is to spark positive change and make people smile. To do this I need to live with courage and not be afraid to tread on a few toes, piss a few people off and to shift the mindsets of people of influence.
The space created by the Silent Retreat and clarity thanks to the work of Brene Brown, guided me to the realisation that social media is nothing but a tool for connecting geographically and educating exponentially.
From now on, I will be holding myself accountable, making sure I use social media and social media doesn't use me. Feel free to call me out on this at any stage. I will most likely listen, but respond silently.
Stop today and take some time to re-evaluate the role social media is playing in your life.
I witness too many teachers' spending hours a day, disappointingly, mostly during school time, posting about meaningless things that add no value to anybody except themselves. Kids need teachers' not influencers!
Here is a set of questions to help you get started:
1- Is using your teacher account during school in alignment with being present for the kids?
2- Does posting Instagram stories during class empower you or your students?
3- Are you posting to educate or validate?
4- Do you have a clearly defined set of 3-5 personal values and behaviours?
5- Is your social media usage congruent with your values?
If you don’t have a clearly defined set of personal values use this worksheet from our Self-love Retreat to define 3-5 personal values. Any more than this and it all becomes wishy washy and we don’t have anything that we really stick to on a daily basis.
Living into a values means that we do more than profess our values, we practice them.
We walk our talk.
Want to get really clear on boundaries and values in 2020?
The Happy Teacher Project starts Feb 2nd. Fill out the survey here.