“If we don’t challenge each other to use our platforms for better than our niches or what our quote-un-quote brand is, what are we doing as influencers? If we can’t activate our audiences at the time it’s important or needed, then what do we have these platforms for?” Luvie Ajani
Three years ago today, I birthed the InspireLoveServe blog. I’m a firm believer that as we learn we need to teach, that sharing is caring and that our stories help to heal ourselves, others as well as the collective healing of humanity. Here it is three years later and 165+ blogs written… Cheers!
So why did I start blogging? I started blogging because lived experiences- our own and that of others- provide us with learning and growth opportunities and a level of wisdom that can be used to guide us throughout the darkest and most trying times of our lives….through the highest of highs, the lowest of lows and everything in between. These experiences show us what is possible when we tap into our inner fortitude, strength, exercise our resilience muscle and take accountability for our life-long learning, growth and overall contribution.
As we have witnessed in this digital age we’re living, social media platforms of all kinds have the ability to influence and accelerate our learning, growth, activism and contribution in unimaginable ways. While social media often gets a bad rap, especially from people who aren’t even on it or haven’t taken the time to explore it, I believe the benefits outweigh the pitfalls. In my humble opinion, the key is to “curate” our social media profiles in a way so that what shows up in our feeds and who we choose to friend and follow are voices, leaders and change-makers who are adding to our growth factor and to the human collective. The times we are living have shown us all the empowering, as well as the disempowering, impact social media has on us. So why not opt for empowerment and upliftment…our own and others?
Whether we realize it or not, we are all influencers in life. However, it’s my belief that we must be accountable for the energy we choose to put out there- not only in all our personal and professional relationships and spaces- but on social media as well. I think we can agree that we all have a great impact on people’s lives whether intentionally or unintentionally, consciously or unconsciously. The energy we put out there is either constructive or destructive, positive or negative, influential or ineffectual, wouldn’t you agree?
I’ve often said that our influence is exponential. Now, more than ever, we are all being called to teach, coach, write, speak out, advocate, and lead. Regardless of our positions, careers and roles we play, we all have leadership abilities that can be used to unite not to divide, to love not to perpetuate fear, to praise not to demean or devalue, and to impact and encourage others in positive and unimaginable ways. Our voices can influence others in all areas of life and can especially influence our circle of friends, family, friends of friends, friends of friends of friends, friends of friends of friends of friends….you get it…..exponentially!
Successful and admired leaders from all walks of life have the exceptional ability of being able to connect with the human experience – with one’s humanity. I think this is primarily due to the fact that effective and successful leaders have solid, unshakable core values, beliefs, morals and a social consciousness that enable them to do so. And sprinkle in a little sense of humor, and viola! News flash here: we all have this ability! All we need to do is tap into it, develop it, refine it and put it to good use.
Given the historical times we are living, the political and social unrest in our country, and the hatred and vitriol we are witnessing right before our very eyes on TV, in our communities and splashed across headlines, don’t you think it’s high time we all “checked” ourselves? And by checking ourselves I mean taking a deep dive into the roles we individually play as part of the collective and how we are contributing to it. It’s called accountability…wink, wink!
Do we show ourselves love, compassion, understanding and empathy? If we do, then we have the ability to extend that to all our fellow humans because it is a choice we make. If we don’t treat ourselves with love, compassion, understanding and empathy- which is also a choice- then chances are that we are not capable of extending those same qualities to others and are most likely adding to the states and narratives of fear, division, separation, depression, loneliness, anger and hatred (just to name a few) that we are seeing in today’s society and splashed across all media outlets. All of it is an assault on our nervous system and, as a result, it is bringing up traumas of all kinds in people. Some of these traumas may be historical, generational, ancestral, shock or developmental. And make no mistake about it, trauma is at the root of all violence….both outward and inward!
Traumatic events that we experience throughout our lives are overwhelming to us physically and/or emotionally. This causes the nervous system to jump into high alert and bringing our mind and body back into balance is affected. If trauma is not addressed and dealt with, it will remain trapped in our body and will cause disturbances at the biological, physiological, emotional, mental or behavioral levels. Unresolved trauma impacts our ability to self-regulate- causing us to respond impulsively and emotionally- and affects our ability to process information. Our brains get compromised by overwhelming amounts of cortisol, thereby causing fragmented memory and compromising social awareness and organizational ability. In a nutshell, the traumatized brain will act as it is cognitively impaired.
If you are interested in reading up on trauma, I highly recommend the following two books:
- The Body Keeps Score by Bessel Van Der Kolk, M.D.
- Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma by Peter A, Levine
So back to the subtle art of checking ourselves. By checking ourselves I also mean to check in with our body and its sensations throughout the day and upon interacting with others (something we are always being called to do on our yoga mats):
- Be the witness
- Observe the feelings that are a result of our thoughts.
- What emotions were elicited by these thoughts?
- What are these thoughts revealing?
Another way we can check ourselves, and one that was mentioned on various energy forecasts I was recently watching, is to listen to the story and the narratives behind the fear and divide we are seeing in our country. We are being encouraged to ask ourselves the following:
- Why are people trying to create fear, anger and hate?
- Do I want to believe this narrative?
- Do I want to be a part of this narrative?
- How does this narrative make me feel?
- Is there another narrative I can choose?
And, lastly, some of my own questions:
- What is my leadership style?
- Do I hold myself in love, compassion, understanding and empathy? Why/why not?
- How do I influence those around me?
- How do I leave people feeling after I interact with them?
- How am I using my social media platform?
- What energy am I putting out in the world via my social media platform?
- Am I using my social media platform to influence, educate, inspire, uplift, advocate, entertain, raise awareness or to add to those fear, division, hate and separation narratives?
- Do I choose to act or react in challenging situations?
- What self-regulation tools can I use to keep me from reacting negatively?
- What added value do I bring to the lives of those around me?
- What are ways I can start/continue to be of service and contribution?
- In what ways can I invest in myself and continue my personal and professional growth so that I can further be of influence?
Darlings, we are all part of a human family and part of history in the making!. What kind of human being are you? What kinds of human beings do you surround yourself with? Are there any personal traumas in your mind/body that need addressing?
I sincerely hope that you can relate to the content in this blog on some level and want to thank you for taking the time to read it. On this 3rd Blogaversary, I want to thank you if you are an avid supporter and always read my blog. Thank you if you occasionally drop in to read it. Thank you if you care enough to share when you feel called to do so. Thank you for taking the time to share some of your comments with me. Thank you for being inspired to do your own work. Thank you if what you’ve read in this blog causes you to pause, reflect and become more conscious and intentional with how you use your own social media platform.
May we continue to move forward in love and with intention, curiosity, clarity, unity and hearts and minds wide open! JTC