Did you miss yesterday’s blog on creativity as a cleansing practice? If so, check it out here.
For day 12 I want to talk about cleansing your contact lists, friends lists, social media and other media input.
In our discussion on setting boundaries, we talked a little bit about ending relationships or no longer engaging with people in certain capacities as a form of cleansing for your soul. This is an extension of that conversation but we’re going to talk a little bit more about other influences in your life.
Our brains are constantly taking in information even when we are sitting around not doing much. So everything from the people that we hang out with, the environments we spend our time in, the pages we follow on social media to the things we watch on TV or listen to on the radio have an effect on us.
You may have heard the saying ‘you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with’. This basically just means we take on some of the traits of the people we spend the most time around so if they are negative, rude, and unmotivated we are more likely to take on some of those traits and behaviors as well. But when was the last time you thought about the people you follow on social media or the music you listen to or even the shows you watch and the effect they might have on you?
Are there people in your life or on your social media that are constantly complaining, living outside of their means, or even just always posting or discussing other people and drama? Do you often end your workday by sitting and watching drama on TV or having drinks with friends? Do you often find yourself listening to music but when you pay attention to the lyrics it really isn’t something that matches your morals? Are you someone who likes to be well informed so you spend a lot of time listening to and watching the news? Do you often read silly magazine articles with little to no substance?
Now don’t get me wrong, it is completely okay to indulge. If you love ratchet music and dramatic television then love your music and shows but also recognize that sometimes you may need to remove them from your life for a period of time to reset.
Here’s my experience…I don’t watch much TV and I don’t even listen to the radio a whole lot but I do spend a significant amount of time on social media. Social media is often where I get my news and information about what’s going on in the world as well as in my own community. As a woman of color in this current political and social environment it has been increasingly difficult for me to be on social media and see what is going on in the world. While I felt the need to be informed and saw the importance of it I also became drained and tired from the constant disregard for black lives and women’s bodily autonomy. I found myself upset and angry at times and other times frustrated and stuck. Eventually, I gave myself permission to disconnect. I stopped following some individuals who constantly posted about racism and sexism especially those who did so in very angry and hateful ways without offering solution or support. I stopped myself from checking social media during times when I knew someone had just been accused of sexual assault or rape or another black person had been murdered. I watched TV, sometimes mindless TV but often documentaries to allow me to still feel informed. I even made a special effort to not engage with people who I knew wouldn’t understand and spent more time engaging with those who I knew got how I was feeling.
This is just one example. Maybe there is nothing draining about the things that you listen to or the people that you indulge with and that’s okay too. I will simply challenge you to really take a look at what you are getting from these people, environments or behaviors.
Here’s how to do it: Take some time over the next week or so and pay close attention to the people you spend the most time around, the places you go the most often, the people and pages you follow on social media, the music you listen to, and the shows you watch. Notice how you feel when you’re engaging with these people or things. Be honest with yourself about whether it has a good influence on you.
Does it fire up your creativity? Or is it simply just distracting you? Is it possible that these people or activities are stopping you from doing something you want or should be doing? Are you filling your time with things or people that make you feel down? Have you found yourself mindlessly watching TV or drinking with your friends as a distraction from doing something more productive? Do you feel drained, frustrated, or even just unproductive when you’re done? Or are these things filling you up?
I talk a lot about creating rituals for yourself, however, sometimes our rituals become habits that are more of a distraction than a benefit. If it isn’t filling you up or it’s more of a distraction from something then give yourself a break. It doesn’t have to be forever but just long enough to allow you to reset and find your balance.
Take some time to identify a more productive, encouraging and uplifting replacement and indulge in that instead. You might be surprised to see what new ideas, thoughts, or feelings come up for you.
What is one behavior you feel you may need to disconnect from for a while? What do you hope might change when you do? Let’s chat about it in the Actualize Your Healing Facebook group.
In Perfect Love,