What is Validation? Is it bad? Good? A band aid for low self esteem, maybe? Does it mean I am broken for wanting it?
Could it be none of these things and all of these things?
Needing validation is scientifically part of our brain chemistry as human beings. Validation is the name it takes, but underneath that is satisfying a need for acceptance from society. A subconscious need to have people in our corner. By that logic it is completely normal and okay to do what you need to in order to get it and feel that safety.
The collective norms are the base line by which we gauge our worth. We may not be able to identify that consciously, but through comparing group think and our own thoughts we determine where we need to land to be agreeable or "good enough." Going against the crowd sends a signal through our body, this heightened sense of danger. Fear that if we don't fit in we will be rejected, alone and ultimately not survive. Obviously the fear of being hunted by a literal predator isn't realistic in our day but the same DNA exists. The same reasoning and logic are present.
It is very much a biological and primal response. We need a tribe, a village, human connection. On an even deeper level our souls seek out the connection to other souls. Humans are social creators by nature. So then why should we avoid the hunger and measures we take to gain that validation? It's always going to be part of our biology to some degree.
I believe it is good to find it in the right places, for the right reasons.
I say, become friends with it. Sit with it. Inquire of it.
Right now in this social climate with so much access to media, we are dependent upon the story views, likes and comments to fill the instinctual need to be accepted but what are we actually feeling? Are we actually creating a safer space for ourselves by relying mainly on social media?
I have gone to war with myself on this topic. When I truly make space to question my motives online, I quickly realize it's in the spirit of scarcity. I am needing people to see what I am doing, the fun thing I just did or the expensive meal I just ate and ultimately I am operating from a place of ego. That ego is driving the fear that no-one cares because I haven't gotten recognition online. I am irrelevant because I didn't post something today. Hell, even this blog post was born from thoughts like that. I see and hear all that others have to say and I question my own worth. I doubt my own purpose or importance. How are those thoughts safe? How am I filling the primal need to create allies and connections?
I know I'm not the only person who has this battle around their role or place in the social media pecking order. I know I am not the only person with something I feel called to share.
So where do we find balance between sharing a message of expansion and compassion while also keeping our safety sourcing in the best place for our growth.
When I say Safety Sourcing I am referring to the places we rely on to fill that need for acceptance and "survival." The sources in which we seek for the assurance that we are doing okay; that we will survive.
I find that prioritizing my safety sourcing brings me back to real, true places of independence and safety. Number one being myself. My sovereignty as an energetic, soul/spirit being. My ability to go within to find stability and answers I need to create the life I am intuitively drawn to.
Other healthy, safety sourcing for me comes from authentic, face to face conversation with people who listen to hear and not just tp respond. Opening up and allowing tears and laughter with the souls that understand me and really see me. NOT JUST ONLINE FOLLOWERS, although that is where some of those relationships start.
I look to spiritual practices, sex, high vibrational foods, movement and comedy. Things you enjoy can be these sources for you. There is a safety in doing the things you enjoy and allowing people into your REAL life.
I hope this post helped someone today. I struuuuugle with this whole modern day issue but when I examine why, I find out new and glorious things about the power I have over it.
Sourcing safety online is like eating an entire cake, you get a lot all at once, you feel full for an hour or two but there was hardly any real value in it and you'll have sugar cravings for days after or even eternally of you don't curb the craving. I feel like that pattern is the real issue.
I would challenge you to a social media detox in order to find sustainable safety sourcing. Real and emotionally dense sources to make you feel accepted and worthy just as you are today. Rely on the real connections in your life that bring tangible joy and a steady foundation. You are safe and within you is the inner knowing to find the security you are searching for.
Love and Light, my friends!
Today I Learned something that may not make sense to some. This lesson was right for me and changed my perspective in a very needed time. I also picked up a trick or two on how to not take it personal if someone doesn't understand me. I will do my best to explain todays lesson and I hope it is taken with intent to understand.
What I learned today is how to not lose my mind! What a lesson right? I must be extra special to claim to know this long sought after secret to peace and joy in this life! Ooohh, aawww!
What is not a secret is what's going on in the world. I am probably one of the most "grey area" people in terms of my convictions. I can agree and see points of view from every corner of the room. I can respect opinions and discern truth from pretense with little to no feathers ruffled. And yet, this current issue in the media has weighed oh so heavy. I am sure you all have felt the universal blues of negativity sweep the collective attention of America the past few weeks. It is everywhere!!! I am not here to share my personal opinion on that. What I want to share today is how I went from visibly effected by it all and struggling in my relationship to connect, to then feeling relieved and joyful again with one epiphany.
This meme on facebook:
If this doesn't put a smile on your face, you must not be alive or you never heard the phrase "Going to Hell in a Hand Basket."
This should be funny to anyone right now of almost any age, any background, any geographical indifference or stand in opinion and here is why:
WE ARE ALL JUST ALONG FOR THE RIDE! (I don't mean the ride to hell in said hand basket, but the ride of life.)
I know we all want to feel like we can move mountains, and we can in regards to our own lives and our own success but you guys, it is not our place nor even a possibility to change anyone. We have no power or responsibility to convince anyone one way or another. Think about how small you are in the existence of human life, in the grandest measure of the universe. (I mean for this to sound hopeful so if you are feeling extra sensitive about your impact here, keep reading! You need this the most!)
Consider the true influence you have and how anxiety, anger and resentment serves NO ONE! What we should do is realize our humble reality that we aren't special enough to "Change the World." There! I said it! You can Change YOUR World with focus on change within you and that is all. Once we accept that, then we can find peace with what is happening out there within ourselves! I for one am still confused about responding to unfair violence with unfair violence but here is my response to that response: The reactions of others is their choice and if I am dwelling on things I cannot control, they aren't changed and I am left suffering. No progress there.
Through time and through many many eras of the world, humankind has been at war. We have disagreed since day one and every day since. That is just the freedom of thought and speech and physical ability of over 108 billion humans to be born since the beginning. We were made to think and act for ourselves by design. Is it all daisies? Of course not! People can get ugly! People are reactive to the things around them. It is not always positive or constructive but that is just the way it is and will forever be. In a way, we are always headed toward "Hell in a Hand Basket," if you choose to perceive it that way. If you let yourself get wrapped up in the things that feed the fear it seems that you will feel you have a permanent seat in that hell ridden hand basket.
The culture of society, as a whole, is flawed in thinking that we need to all believe the same way and act the same way and wrap up our paradigms from life experiences into one package. Then we all need to deliver that package one certain way. That will never happen. Period. It is one of the deepest truths of existence. There will always be this dichotomy on the earth.
This truth is nothing to feel sad about though! This is a truth that should set you free! This realization has sat very well with me because now I get to move forward. I don't have to be a slave to the things that are really out of my realm of control, again, by design.
I am not saying you have no control over anything in life. Once you release the need to control your community, your friends on facebook, the outrageous behavior of strangers in the news - that is when you get your power back. You get to control you at that point! You get to decide what you will and will not consume for you! You are not beholden to anyone to do or say anything that does not serve your higher purpose. I know I sound preachy and I only mean this bluntly to stand out in your mind! I talk to myself in this firm voice quite often so the message will set in, for good! If you don't get exclusive about where your energy goes, you are doing yourself a disservice.
So I had a chuckle about the perceived hand basket (because come on, it's so clever) and I removed myself from the social pressures two days ago. The tension in my home and in my heart released. For days I was on edge. I was way too consumed by instagram and the unsettling news clips. I chose not to comment my opinion online more that I did comment. (Still guilty of a few "Hear, Hears" to some things I agreed with.)
** Side Note**
Go Figure, those comments only brought more animosity from STRANGERS! I let some people I didn't know call me "sis" and a "disgusting person" all in the same response to me liking a simple post. How is that moving the needle toward love? My head was on fire with anger and annoyance. I chose not to indulge further as my personal opinions aren't up for debate. I was being talked to as if I haven't done my own research, as if I haven't asked myself truly, what is right and wrong here and how do I feel deep down. I am a good person and I know my actions toward others reflect that. So for me to feel the need to have a Facebook fight with a literal stranger did not feel like a productive response. Yes, I was steaming!
I was also tired of not having my usual happy self around anymore. That was when I changed my approach to this mindset. I gave myself permission to feel validated in my opinions regardless of the push back. I turned off my phone and I spent some face to face, uninterrupted time with the man that brings me true joy. We laughed and got deep and connected and I was reminded how much MY real life deserves my attention.
I like to imagine if I lived in the mountains, with no internet or cell service, I wouldn't have a clue as to what hideousness is going on. Some may say my lack of desire to make noise and speak out is selfish and ignorant. Here is what I have to say to that, "sis"...
I am not God. I am not here to "make noise" that contributes to negativity disguised as positivity. It is not my job to try and save people from themselves.
I want to make it clear that I am all about helping those in need, those who want to change, those who want to be educated or enlightened. I want to make a career out of healing others but I will not sacrifice my progress in life to appeal to the masses with essentially no true change from it. If I am robbed of my happiness today over a video clip online of someone who is obviously deep within their own belief, then that loss of joy is on me and me alone.
The main reason the photo above made such a difference for me is because the humor is a welcome relief in this time and even though it is hilarious, there was something deeper behind it for me.
The more profound meaning is in the truth that this world will keep turning through the tragedy. We will live on and move from media scandal to media scandal for the rest of our lives. Is the world coming to an end? No one knows! That is why we need to make the most of our personal sovereign existence.
If we expect people and media and the world to be a certain way it most likely will not be what we think we signed up for. It cannot meet your expectations. So if the world is ending and you were promised a hand basket experience, well then, you have to create your own!
Maybe this lesson seems cold and as if I don't care for change and it's every man for himself. Well let me clear that up and say I absolutely do care about change! However, the whole world can't change, at least not while we are focusing on everything but our own power. Truth is, it is every man for himself in regards to what we can control.
I feel liberated and empowered by my clear understanding of my role and my place in this crazy world. I am not special. I will not be the one that moves social and economical mountains but I can move the mountains in my life that mean something to me and build a legacy true to me. That is my goal! That is where we can find happiness.
I also know this was not as heart warming on the surface but I would challenge you to unplug, release your urge to control external factors and find that control within. You can create the world peace you desire in your world and decide what legacy you want to leave behind.
Again, thank you for being here. I appreciate all my readers and support they give.
Love and Light!
What I Learned Today is one of the toughest lessons to take action on and I know it will be familiar to many of my readers. Today I was organizing my thoughts for this post and I was listening to a great podcast where I was learning so much and was getting so excited to share. (which I will soon.)
But then... guess who paid me an unwelcome visit? It was a full house this afternoon.
Fear came to visit!
Imposter Syndrome dropped by!
Doubt overstayed its welcome!
Embarrassment is still sitting next to me on the couch!
Worrying about what people think even knocked and I answered!
And worst of all my visitors was the old Shannell, the quitter.
I wanted to quit! Already! How lame is that you guys? I knew this feeling was inevitable but come on, give me a week of courage at least! Writing is my dream and it makes me happy and I am letting myself feel like this isn't right for me? I felt so motivated to do this for months and actually took action yesterday, and yet 24 hours later I will convince myself it doesn't matter anymore? I will consider shutting it down?
I don't think so! Today I learned what it takes! I am kicking them all out right now, I am moving and not leaving a forwarding address! I will be living a life where they can't find me! But how?
It is so common for everyone to feel this way and it is just plain silliness!
No more of it! (Lots of exclamation points on this one!)
I know anyone who has ever done anything ever has had this battle. We all learned to walk and talk, read, use google, kiss someone, cook and function in life. Until we did those things for the first time, we feared we wouldn't succeed. Luckily, many of these things happened before we bought into the idea that we aren't good enough to potty in a big girl potty or we don't deserve to tie our shoes. See how funny it is to think that if we let this cloud of self doubt in as toddlers some of us would still be in diapers. It is no different now to keep trying until you get it right, whether it's a business, weight loss, a relationship; all these things are scary at first. Everything is new until it isn't. So yeah, I feel so inadequate to share any of my own thoughts, feelings or experiences but guess what? That is a lie! I am coming from a place of good intention. I have genuine desire to develop a skill in writing and find my own healing through my words. Why in this world would I ever doubt that it is a worthy endeavor? Let me just put it this way, I really want to become potty trained!(Metaphorically of course:) I won't ever be out of pull-ups if I don't try!
So when I say I want to quit, it is not because I don't love to write and explore my potential in this space, it's because of this thing we all do. We let self doubt trickle into our self image, our work, relationships, finances and there are a million other not so generic things I can add to that list. I am speaking to men and women. WE ALL HAVE A RIGHT TO BE HERE! We all should feel like whatever form of expression feeds our souls is always good enough. Will I reach a million readers, probably not, but even if the only reader is myself during editing, well then that should fulfill me. It will if I am truly doing this for the right reasons. You will know if your reasons are sincere if what you are pursuing is the calling of your soul. I need to be true to my inner fire regardless of audience size or outer approval.
So back to the lesson. I think what hit me today was how necessary it is for me to build a BIG GIANT WALL around my why. Why I love to write, why I am doing this particular blog and why I will hold my ground when challenged about it. There is such power in having a foundation to support your dreams. My dream is to be a moving writer. Period. My dream is not to have a million readers or a million friends or even the approval from anyone to do it. My dream is to create a place for my expression, a canvas to say what I want and need to say, how I want and need to say it.
So then why post it if all I want to do it write?
I asked myself this question a thousand times as I considered a new blog. I battled with my desire to share it publicly because to me, that meant I just wanted attention or notoriety, but I worked through my fear of being disingenuous and finally chose to share it.
The conclusion I came to is this; I am a strong advocate of sharing your journey, always have been. I think God or the Universe or whatever higher power you believe in lays way for individual trials in our lives to strengthen us, for us to then go help strengthen others through our experience. I have been moved and shifted permanently through the stories and over-comings of those around me. I know if they worried about not opening up about their lives, so many would have missed out on the lesson they had to share. It is HUGE to be an example to those searching for hope.
There is power in vulnerability and the key to human connection is allowing the barriers to be broken down. I am here to do just that. Not every post will be about me, I promise. I want to share big ideas and cultures from around the world to help open up doors to paths you may not have seen before.
I watch so many dreamers in so many different spaces take action and I know for sure they face the same "second day terror" I am feeling today. Part of what makes action on this lesson so difficult is accepting that the fear will return day after day, week after week. The difference between a successful person and an unsuccessful one is the ability to overcome that little devil in you saying you have nothing to offer. The lesson here is to give the finger to anything or anyone that isn't cheering you on. I have been lucky to have very close examples of people overcoming their own doubts and finding true joy in success on the other side of it. I have great people helping potty train me. Okay that is the last potty metaphor, for today. I think it gets my point across - haha!
So this was not the post I planned to write but I promised myself I would be open to change and honor what needs to be said. This is what spoke to me today.
If you get anything out of what I have said, let it be this:
You are here for a reason and it's not to just fill a seat. You need to stand tall on that seat and scream at the top of your lungs that you are here, you deserve to reach for the stars and you're not going anywhere but up!
Don't let yourself quit on the second day!!!
Thank you for joining me! I hope you learned something like I did or at least enjoyed a review.
See you tomorrow for another daily lesson.
What I Learned Today was about Self-Care! Yay! Fun Subject!
I have some free time on my hands you guys. Plenty of it! I remember the time I would run to a quick manicure on my lunch break, living on a prayer that there wouldn't be anyone else waiting so I could get right in. I had a job! When you work in the corporate world you are being paid to fill your seat from nine to five. I was lucky to work for an awesome boss before my most recent remote position. Even then though, there was work to be done and my time was the company's. Now guess who my boss is? Yeah, it's me! I can already say I have no leadership ability. I will say, it has been a good realization how much mental discipline I need to develop considering I don't plan to return to the structure of a corporate job. I am already challenging myself to wake-up within an hour of my alarm, if I can do that then I will call it a win for now. Just Kidding! I don't even set an alarm anymore, unemployed remember? Unemployed and living my best life!
Really though, I have been been given the gift of time. The time we all wish we had to touch up our roots, pluck our caterpillar eyebrows or take one of these magical baths we see on snapchat stories. I have that time now!! I am "beholden" ('fancy word' inside joke at my house) to NOONE. I'm not making two dimes to rub together in this freedom but it is freedom none the less.
So what I learned today, or what I have known for a while but am finally admitting out loud is that this "self-care" movement is ALL WRONG!
Now hold on, before you decide I can't sit with you, read on.
The whole purpose of Self-care is to do something that makes you feel better Ladies! Better!
I am going to get blunt with it here, a drive through Swig and a bag of Cheetos feels good temporarily so it is disguised as effective self-care but let me explain what that is training your mind to say. "Hey I am feeling down today, my body is sluggish and my mood is bleh. The easiest fix is a soda run! Yes, okay! Problem solved!" then once the photo is posted and the likes roll in your trendy self-care practice is being noticed. You feel that momentary validation. That's it then! Consider your self cared for, right?
What about an hour down the road?
Did your body come out of the sluggishness? Did your brain fog lift and bring a smile to your face? Was true self-love felt?
I am guilty here! I may not drink soda but I way over indulge in something else, you guessed it, Netflix and Hulu and T.V. shows that are temporary feel goods. The entertainment is just that, entertainment. Once the episode is over, who is sitting right there staring you in the face? Yourself! The things that were dragging you down an hour ago are still there. James Fraser couldn't rid you of the Monday blues, could he? No judgement here, we've all tried that remedy, haven't we Lassy? (If you have no clue what I am talking about, I am referencing Outlander, a great historical romance series)
The ugly truth is this, and this is what I learned today: The harder thing to do IS THE SELF-CARE. Avoiding the best things for us because they take more effort is the opposite of self-care and self-love. Just give it some thought. I know when I am feeling in a brain fog, Hulu only clouds it more! I need to get up, get out and show my body and mind some true attention.
I have found that meditation is a damn chore! I started meditating intermittently about a year ago and it was sporadic for most of that time. Each time I went to do what all these motivational people talk about, I found myself resenting it. I was so irritable because it is not easy. It takes mental work. This whole winter I was in a funk. Working from home took its toll on me and I would have days where all I did that day was log in to my lap top. I felt the Monday blues all week. I felt alone in that until this global virus. Now that most of us have experienced what being home all day, everyday feels like there has never been a greater need for REAL, genuine Self-Care. Once I put in the time and discipline to get comfortable with myself, I enjoyed meditating and quieting my mind. I can promise anyone who hasn't tried it, meditation is not overrated. It can be very healing!
My personal practice is what my body needs, it is what my heart and soul express to me. It is different and sincere each day. I cannot tell anyone how or what their best self-care practice is but I can say this with confidence, If it makes you feel worse once the social hype is over, then you need to find what makes you feel better. Try true Self-Care and develop true Self-Love.
I believe true Self-care can be something to brag about and we should praise each other for honoring the practice but if you want to transform yourself and your perception of yourself, there has to be deeper meaning in your efforts for self-love than others seeing you do it. Find what small steps you want to take for you and replace your easy self-care with practices that will really change the way you feel and look at yourself.
I hope we all know our worth and feel deserving of the best self-care that serves our highest being.
Love and Light!
What I Learned Today
Welcome to the blog celebrating daily lessons.
If you know anything about me, you know I love to write! I have written a couple blogs over the years ranging from humorous college life to a bit more heavy with my adoptions and birth mother journey. I loved the lighthearted vibe with my blog in college called "ever feel like..." It's dead and gone now but it launched me into this love for blogging. My adoption blog is a part of my website here at Ms. Reclaim. I will always be updating my open adoption stories as we all journey through life together but I have known for a long time I wanted to write about more than that season of my life.
So now I get to grace you with my words once again in a broad platform meant to express my creative side while I share What I Learned Today. You know what they say, "you learn something new everyday!" I am here to prove that!
What lead me to the conclusion that I should do this was a month of doing basically NOTHING since being laid off. This pandemic (so tired of using the word) actually effected me. I was laid off a month ago today and I am exhausted from all the nothing I have been up to. I say that with an LOL in my head but truthfully all I have to show for the last 30 days is whiplash from trying to find my purpose in life. I am almost 30 people! There has to be a secret trapped door or something for people of my age where we get to just drop into our calling in life, like a cheat code or some advancement badge for almost figuring it out. Aren't we all about participation ribbons for uselessness disguised as effort these days? I mean, come on! I have spent so much time looking busy here, did I not fool the universe into hand delivering me a six figure instagram business and a spot with the New York Times Best Sellers? BOOOO!
Okay enough of that. Perhaps my lack of direction in my late 20's is due to the distraction of acting like I am still in my early 20's. (insert shrugging girl emoji here) What are ya gonna do?
We all know there is a time in life where you are forced to pivot and it is scary as hell. I am talking about the unspoken knowing that we have to face the music at some point and choose happiness or slavery to the things that don't ignite our fire. I didn't choose it, but I am there. The universe is forcing its will on me, and I am grateful! I can't lie, when my former boss beat around that "company restructuring" bush I felt a bit of excitement. Yes, my previous job as a corporate and field recruiter was a cushy remote position making more money than I ever really thought I would. (I dropped out of college so hold your judgments!) It was all the good stuff without having to deal with commutes, waiting in the stall to avoid that certain co-worker and pretending to be listening in face-to-face meetings (I just had to pretend on zoom but still get paid the same.) It was the dream! The real American Dream! (I mean that with only some due respect, given what is going on the past week.) We can talk more on that later. Opinions.. huh! What are they good for? Absolutely nothing am I right? Who cares, I am here to shove mine down your throat anyway.
So back to the relief I felt creep in as I was one of the positions being eliminated due to restructuring and response to the global Pandemic.
I was now faced with a decision. Do I go back to the career path I was building on for the last four years? A path that felt okay and had its fun moments? I mean, I didn't hate it. I was even not terrible at it. Was that enough to stay the course?
Do I make my move. Do I change my fate and finally follow my passions?
I chose to leap! I wasn't kidding about doing a lot of nothing the past month but I have had a plan this whole time. I am in school to become a Certified BodyTalk Practitioner. I explain more about this in the MiODI (stands for Mind and Body) tab of my website but in a nutshell I am fascinated by the body's natural ability to heal and control our life narrative, so I am going to help others grow through the healing it provides. I have found that when we let go of what we think we need and just allow our mind and soul to speak through the body, we are able to act in the best way for our best life and make real change!
More on that later as well, I could go on and on. I will be in training for eight to ten months so it will definitely be a journey of ongoing lessons.
So this blog, which was originally an idea for a podcast, begins! I tried recording my introduction like nine times but you guys, I just barely got comfortable speaking to my google companion or whatever it's called. Let's take it one explosive expression at a time here. One day, I do think there could be a more meaningful delivery through a podcast. If you would rather listen than read, let me know and I will Grow into it! (Since that is what I am here to do isn't it?, to grow? blah blah) Kidding! Growth is super important in finding real joy in life!
I just want to let my readers know, what I am sharing is for both entertainment and hopefully your own development so don't take my sassy jokes too seriously. I know we are all looking for that reason to post a passive quote about insensitive people and how we overcame their ignorant comment. Maybe let's just pass on that for today and find a little truth in the humor, chuckle and move forward. We are here to lighten hearts and bring a breathe of fresh air! When I say we, I mean us as a community of online partakers. Please feel included here! EVERYONE is welcome to learn a daily lesson. Let's WILT together, if you will.
In conclusion, I love life and I love it because of the dynamic beings we are and can become from gathering knowledge. We can never be over educated and I look forward to speaking with new people, reading new content and exploring new ideas as I pursue learning one new thing a day. I will be sharing it here for anyone also seeking a daily lesson. My interests are multi-faceted so we will be dipping our toes in history, religion, beauty, health, humor, parenting, relationships, pop culture and so much more! If you can experience it in your daily life, we will touch on it here! I am very excited and I would LOVE to hear what topics interest you or an area you want to expand others knowledge on. Use me as a platform to spread awareness and daily survival tips! Heaven knows we could use them in these times!
Thank You again for being here and joining me in What I learned Today!