by Avery Thatcher
I have a confession to make.
To be honest so far I’ve been playing it safe. Sharing carefully crafted vulnerable stories is a safe space for me.
In this episode, though, I’m going to share my opinion on something that might be a bit controversial. And that scares the shit out of me. My inner people pleaser who doesn’t like to rock the boat is not a fan of what I’m about to talk about – but I’m going to do it scared, because that’s what I do.
Whenever I’m feeling this way and need a courage boost, I listen to the song called Brave by Sara Barellies. Not only does it remind me of the importance of speaking up, but also the importance of understanding the impact of my words.
The truth is, words are powerful and I think we’ve kind of forgotten that online.
The social media algorithms show us more of what we like to see – which leaves us in a bubble not learning about other viewpoints or experiences.
It even happened to me! I got sucked into a corner of the internet that calls itself “conspirituality” where it challenges and shines light on some unhelpful or even blatantly wrong information some spiritual and health influencers are sharing. I lost my ability to be objective for a little bit, and saw certain people are harmful, dangerous, or just flat out wrong.
But the truth always was that this was just my perspective.
Thankfully I had a good friend call me out on it and help me get unstuck, but it was wild how quickly I lost the ability to objectively see the whole conversation.
And that’s where I think social media really gets us in trouble.
I keep seeing evidence of where social media pits “us” against “them” and removes all of the nuance from the conversation. It’s like we’ve completely removed the option to say “it depends” or to allow the other person to explain themselves or learn another way of thinking.
There are so many examples of this: pro-lockdown vs not during the height of the pandemic, to vaccinate or not to vaccinate, pro-life or pro-choice, for one political party or against everything they stand for.
To be honest it’s exhausting and it hurts my heart to see us so divided on so many things when really deep down at our core we’re all the same: we’re living beings that just want to feel love, acceptance, safety, and to belong.
Why can’t we have the conversation start with I’m pro choice – but…
I mean, I did get the COVID 19 vaccine and I’m up to date on my boosters, but…
I was incredibly uncomfortable with how quickly the vaccine was rolled out even though logically I know that it was because the entire world threw buckets of money at it to get this virus taken care of as fast as possible. I knew getting the vaccine was the right thing for me to to protect myself and help support my colleagues in the ICU’s across the world who were completely overwhelmed by patients dying of COVID.
I was also outraged when hospital staff and other workers in other fields could lose their job if they chose to not get vaccinated. Or when restaurants were only open to people who were up to date on their vaccinations. It just seemed like such a huge violation of privacy to me to make people prove their vaccination status.
That being said, do I believe the lockdowns were an infringement on rights and freedoms – not entirely. It’s easy for me to say I was okay with it because I already worked for myself from home and all of my business was virtual so nothing really changed for me. That and my partner’s job adapted to be online so nothing really changed for him either except for the fact that his commute was no longer a 30 minute drive, but a 30 second commute from upstairs to downstairs.
On social media, though, the vast majority of people were either for or against lockdown measures, for or against vaccines with no room for conversation. If you tried to start that discussion in the comments of those posts you were often swarmed with people defending the post.
I think part of why some of us are so scared to share our thoughts and opinions is because of this shift in our culture where you could say one wrong thing and get “canceled” for it. I think that we’re slowly losing our ability to sit with our triggers, look at them, learn from them, and decide if they are serving or sabotaging.
Cancel culture and this divide created in part by social media is rooted in perfectionism, which is nearly always sabotaging.
This is one of the reasons why I’ve started this podcast and blog, to give me a space to talk about the nuance and show people how to access that inner stillness within the chaos around us.
This keyboard confident cancel culture is what has held me back for years from sharing more of myself on social media and on my previous podcasts, because I just felt much more comfortable teaching strategies and keeping my life private. It’s just so much easier in my mind to defend research and strategies than it is to defend myself to strangers on the internet. It’s just not where I wanted to spend my energy.
But, that also means that I’m not sharing those things with you and I think that connecting with you and sharing more of me, what I’m thinking, what I do, what makes me happy, what I’m tired of and what I’m speaking up against – I think that needs to be a part of our connection. Whoa is it ever scary to be saying this right now…
So I take a deep breath and find that bravery once again because I really believe it’s from this space of inner stillness that we can see the whole truth and can be fully authentic with our words. In Sanskrit the word we’d use is Satya which means objective truth.
When we feel triggered by something, it’s not necessarily the time to walk away or go no contact – but rather pause and reflect to figure out why that was triggered in you. It’s time to reflect and ask yourself if your emotional reaction was actually valid, or just a pattern or instinctual response.
My work is centered around helping people learn how to sit in their discomfort and ask themselves why they’re there in the first place? Is the emotion their feeling a sabotaging reaction or a serving response?
Because, as I’m sure you know, there’s a big difference.
So the next time you feel triggered, I invite you to take a. deep breath or two and then ask yourself “are my words in response to this going to serve or sabotage?”
This little/not-so-little question can really change the world. Do you agree?
Combining ancient Vedic wisdom through the Jnana Yoga Path with modern science, this account shares daily strategies on how to find stillness and calm within the chaos of our fast-paced modern world.
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