A conversation on Worthiness, Creativity and Social Media with Stacy Gugliemi
Since I haven't posted in a long while, I thought I would re-enter this space with some thoughts on a topic that is very near and dear to my heart. Worthiness. You might be wondering what worthiness has to do with design, and my answer to that would be, well, everything. Self-worth is the starting point for creativity, and the end point for being able to put all the fruits (that's why I put a picture of a fruit bowl on this post) of that creativity out into the world.
Brene Brown (if you don't know her go and google her, you will be so happy you did) says that at the bottom of all of our anxiety, creative or otherwise, is the feeling that we are not good enough. Not feeling good enough seems to come up more and more as we seek validation from the entire planet via social media. As we continue to seek acceptance from our virtual communities we might be risking accepting ourselves as we are, not as other people would like to see us presented online. In my quest to understand our relationships with self-worth, creativity and the role social media plays, I turned to my good friend, and beautiful soul, Stacy Gugliemi for some wisdom and insight.
Stacy has been on a life-long journey of self-discovery. She is an integrated Wellness Therapist, and is trained in nutrition, ayurvedic health, yoga, meditation and massage. She is a wellness superstar and lives her life to the fullest (in Costa Rica right now). I don't think there is a day that she doesn't greet with full intention. I met Stacy through my extended family, and I knew almost immediately that she was going to be a great guide, healer and friend.
As we dove into our conversation on self-worth, we started by talking about self-doubt and the need to clear out doubt in order to create more space for manifestation and creativity. But, how do we clear out doubt? One way Stacy suggests is to create a stream of consciousness inquiry about what we say to ourselves about ourselves. No filter, write it all down. If our internal dialogue is a blame/shame/fear dialogue, or a dialogue void of self-worth, it shifts our sense of self-worth outward. In this way, our sense of self can mar how we believe others perceive us, which stifles the creative process. We then asked the questions, what role does social media play in the creative process, and can social media really provide a solution to this outward perception of ourselves? The answer is, yes and no.
According to Stacy the course of action for eliminating a blame/shame/fear inner dialogue is to create a family or tribe that is loving and supportive of your ideas, a place of trust where we feel secure in our creativity. In this way social media can give us a taste of that secure place when we get likes, or positive reinforcement about our content. It feels great to get those likes and comments, but the reason it feels great is the same reason eating bad food feels great, or drinking a martini, or buying those shoes you've been eyeing. It sends dopamine to our brains and makes us feel really, really good. Unfortunately, it only lasts temporarily. Even worse this temporary warm and fuzzy is highly addictive, which is why the dopamine hit keeps us going back for more. The good news is that we can most certainly meet members of our tribe on social media, just like online dating social media provides a well of like minded people for us to potentially socialize with and create meaningful relationships.
Where the no comes in is when we use social media as a means to validate our creativity and self-worth. Stacy says that just as dopamine rushes into our system when we use social media it can also enforce negative hormonal moods that reinforce feelings of shame. I think we can all relate to this when we put something out that receives less likes or gets less comments than other content. We can question our decision to share that little piece of ourselves, and self-doubt starts rearing it's ugly head.
Brene Brown reinforces this idea with her admission that people must earn their right to your vulnerability. The question is, how many people can earn the right to our vulnerability? Brene Brown says it's a very, very small number, a handful of people at most. But, leadership Guru and Columbia professor Simon Sinek says that there is a metric to how many people a person can connect with in a tribe. The number is based on anthropologist Robin Dunbar's theory, who claims that the maximum number of people a person can maintain stable relationships with is 150. And if we go by Dunbar's number of 150 in our tribe, then the numbers on social media just don't work on a meaningful level. Let's face it, 150 followers is not a social media presence, so the notion of "building your tribe on social media" can be confusing. On the positive side, can these realizations lead us on a path of self-discovery and self-worth that we can then share on social media without dropping our own self-worth into the bucket? Well, according to Stacy that all comes down to integrity.
During our conversation, I asked Stacy at what point in her life did she embark on her journey of self-discovery? Her answer was brilliant and so beautiful. She said that although she was always naturally curious and inquisitive, it was when she realized that she had to fully connect with herself in order to fully connect with others, and that when she was not practicing self-connection she was not in her own integrity. I love that, in your own integrity.
When you are not in your integrity, if you move your inner ideas outward you will always be in fear of the results of sharing those ideas with others. When we create true connection to ourselves and in turn to others, it is then that we can transition from a transient/hormonal (dopamine) hit on social media to an actual needs based fulfillment. One of our deepest primal needs is to be seen and to be truly accepted. When we learn to soften into ourselves and trust that we can lean in and hear ourselves completely with total empathy and forgiveness, then we can experience true connection with others, on social media or otherwise.
As I am learning this and building a brand that is close to my heart, I am also learning to know when I need to connect with myself more than my social media account, and how that affects self-worth and creativity. The small tribe that we all need to truly feel accepted will be there and ready to support our creative endeavors. So, check in with yourself and remember to stay in your integrity, and then be ready to share your creativity with the world because we want to share it with you.