Being aware of how things make us feel and being able to take a break from all the noise is refreshing.
This post is an echo of what I shared on the podcast this week. Feel free to listen here.
This past week I made the intentional decision to take a break from Instagram and completely deleted the app from my phone. I didn’t delete my account but I simply took it off my phone to give myself a mental break and to get some time back in my day. You see, I don’t know about your relationship with certain apps on your phone, but I know how much time or mental energy I was using to think up captions when I’d take a certain photo or think about the layout and my color palette that I’ve moved towards with the revamp of my website and ultimately I know how I’ve been feeling using the app recently.
I don’t know how often other people do this, but I know that I don’t do it enough. I don’t take the time for an emotional temperature check with how things are actually making me feel. My tendency is to keep checking things off my list and getting things done but not really allowing myself to feel or just be in the moment.
And I’ve recognized thanks to a number of things that I’ve been changing in my own life as I’m trying to be hyper aware of how things make me feel and allowing myself to feel those things r recognize the feeling....for example, I know I’m not the only one struggling with this as there are so many studies that talk about the correlation of the use of your smart phone and the increase in anxiety or depression as these tools that were created for good ultimately are making us feel worse in many ways.
And apps like Instagram in my case, or maybe Facebook or Twitter or Pinterest or even the news....though they can be informative and helpful in so many ways, they are double-sided.
You may or may not have seen the movie “Social Dilemma” in which creators of these apps and certain features like the “Like” button talk about the monster they unknowingly unleashed into humanity and that single “like” button causing severe issues specifically for younger users but it honestly affects all of us. Our psyches have been retrained and in the world of seeking immediate gratification we want the likes and the comments, etc.
So being completely transparent, as I tend to be on my podcast and blog, I had a moment this week when I thought you know what? I don’t like how I’m feeling after I’m scrolling Instagram. I don’t like that I’m feeling sad after I put my heart into a caption or share something vulnerable and people don’t like it by double-tapping. I feel sad or defeated after then looking at someone else’s account and comparing myself. I waste so much time scrolling Instagram between Zoom Meetings that it’s an unconscious habit but it’s constant noise and this need to share or be real with those around me despite a lack of response.
I don’t know if that is resonating with anybody today. And for you it may not be Instagram, there may be something else in your own life that you can let go of. And to be fair, I won’t let go of Instagram forever, at least not yet. As an entrepreneur, it really is a great platform and place to share the new projects I’m working on as it’s a great way to share content and episodes with listeners. It truly is an effective social marketing tool. And in my case, living abroad with no family members in a 1500km or nearly 1000 miles away, it’s a beautiful way to share photos of my family and our adventures living abroad. So I’m not saying all this to say I don’t appreciate the beautiful part of Instagram. I still do. And I love seeing what other people are up to.
As a late adopter of Instagram since I’d always used Facebook since moving to Spain in 2005, I remember being at a work conference with my friend Jess shortly after I’d finally joined the “gram” and she was scrolling her site and laughing and smiling at all the pictures on her feed and she said “I love Instagram. I don’t even read the captions all the time, but Dom if you post something, I’m going to like it because I love you and you’re my friend.” And that mentality is how I feel using Instagram as well. I know the algorithm is a hot topic between entrepreneurs all the time and people complaining that it doesn’t work for them or that it favors people using Reels non-stop right now, etc.
My core being believes that there is so much good in this world. There is enough love to go around all the time. And I may not see everything my friends post, especially now that I don’t have the app on my phone but I know that we’re here to support one another and so much of who I am is in empowering, loving and inspiring others.
And as yes, I’ve talked this out in therapy, as I do (it seriously is so helpful if you’ve never tried therapy. You get to talk and have someone listen and ask you the hard questions that we often don’t ask ourselves because we don’t want to see the “ugly parts” of our selves).
Anyways, as I was talking this out in therapy over the last few months, coming to terms with certain relationships and trying to understand why people do or don’t respond the same way I do as in I know they love me, they’ve seen my posts but never like them or don’t comment when I do on theirs, is OK. It’s accepting that just because we put something out there and just because we believe one way, we can accept that other people act or believe differently.
This may all sound trivial as I’m writing this out and this may not be applicable to everyone, but I have promised to myself and to this audience of women to be honest and genuine about what I’m learning throughout these days. There are times that I feel like giving up or letting go of these dreams as I hear negative or sarcastic comments or can see the rolling of the eyes of people in my life, being family or friends who don’t understand why I have a podcast or blog or am coaching other women along their journeys as these same people critiquing me have not taken the same risks in their own life.
Yet nearly every week, I get a DM or whatsapp message from a woman who listened to one of these episodes of "Embrace La Musica", whether it was the one about our first tough year of parenting, about my eating disorders, about being let go from a job, about raising kids and putting too much pressure on our kids, about struggling with family who have different political views than yours.....so many different episodes and so many woman reaching out and saying “Thank you” because they feel like someone understands their struggles. And that’s what keeps me going at the end of the day, or the end of the week as I prepare another episode like this week's or another blog post like this one.
So many of us struggle with placing our worth on other people’s approval of our decisions. Or we try to do everything in our power to avoid disappointing other people, like our parents, friends.....it could be anybody.
This has been something I’ve always struggled with and I talk it on so many episodes. I’m not sure if it’s my personality or Enneagram type, being a #3, an achiever, placing so much importance on achieving goals and trying to avoid failure or disappointment from others.
*Side note here, if you are totally into the Enneagrams like I am OR if you don’t know what I’m talking about when I say Enneagram, you are totally invited to join EEA next month. EEA is Expat Entrepreneur Alliance and is an amazing community of women, some living abroad here in Mexico and some living in the states.....all pursuing dreams and figuring out our passions. We have an author, an interior designer, a new mom, an artist, a few small business owners, a teacher and more in the group this month. I’m so inspired by these women and you don’t have to be living abroad or even consider yourself an entrepreneur, it’s literally a personal development membership community and we all inspire each other!!
And next month, our guest expert is an Enneagram Expert and Coach. She literally coaches people on how to live their best lives based on their Enneagram or personality. I’m so excited for it and would love to have you join us. Reach out to me or find out more at dominiquedynes.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
My amazing friend Emily shared an Instagram post with me a couple weeks ago that said “Don’t look to meet others expectations if they haven’t done what you want to do.” And I totally resonated thinking I don’t need to be seeking approval from people who haven’t done what I am doing or who haven’t walked this road. So many people who are successful and people I look what to in the women empowerment space or personal development space talk about the hard and sometimes lonely journey it is to get to where they are today.
It reminds me of one of my favorite Brene Brown quotes (seriously read her books if you haven’t yet) who says:
“If you’re not in the arena also getting your ass kicked, I’m not interested in your feedback.” - Brene Brown
Amen. We don’t need to be seeking to please others. We don’t need approval from people who aren’t also in the arena chasing their goals and making their dreams a reality. It’s easy to be sarcastic and condescending of someone trying something new. But that’s not what I feel like I’m called to do nor am I needing to listen to people who haven’t walked this road either.
Criticism always rocks us. It’s hard to hear people say something negative about our work. There are times and places for it for sure. I know if I’m doing a presentation for work or with the workshops I’ve done over the years, the negative line of feedback on the spreadsheet always screams louder than the several positive lines of feedback. That’s part of our human nature to doubt ourselves and hone in on the criticism.
But as I’m realizing and becoming hyper-aware of my own feelings, behaviors and thoughts about certain comments or lack of comments or recognition on a post for example, I realize that in so many ways the same people who aren’t supporting me in my dreams are the same people who aren’t stepping out of their comfort zones, taking risks or trying something new.
Just as I blogged about in March 2020 on my birthday, two weeks before our worlds were completely turned upside down, I talked about the idea that nobody else will make your dreams come true for you. Episode 2 of the podcast talks all about that and encourages all listeners to keep dreaming.
This past week I gave a webinar to the women en EEA all about time management and habits. I gave the women 5 areas or strategies to improve time management and how we can truly make the most of our time, our precious and fleeting time.
While prepping the webinar, I encouraged all women to track their time for a week. Legit, write down everything you’re doing to see how you are truly spending your time throughout the day. I’ve done this several times as a self-exercise to see where I can improve how I’m spending my time and days.
We know that all habits are formed in as little as 21 days. If we have made checking Instagram a habit between Zoom meetings, it quickly becomes a part of our every day. And soon we may be spending more time on the app than we care to realize.
Part of the webinar focused on our use of smart phones. As I've stated, social media is such a blessing and a way to connect people just as are our smart phones are a blessing in so many ways. I can’t imagine driving to a new location without my phone and Google Maps. I can’t imagine having to invent recipes completely from scratch if they aren’t in my cookbooks and I couldn’t just look substitutes up online. How would I listen to all my audio books without my phone? How would I talk to my mom every week if I didn’t have my phone or apps that I use everyday?
Yes, I repeat so much of our phones are a blessing. But just as there’s a negative side to social media and how it can make us feel. There’s a negative side to smart phone usage. In 2020, studies show that smart phone usage has gone up significantly. And it makes sense, in a world in which we are suddenly more isolated than ever before people are looking for connection on their phone.
One study shows that 20% of adults in 2020 stated they would rather go without shoes for a week than go without their phone. WHAT?!
75% of adults use their phones while using the toilet.
People unlock their cell phones an average of 150 times a day.
So many crazy stats that we can read about in 2020. Yet, if we truly look at how we are spending our time, how often are we using our phones mindlessly and ultimately wasting time rather than getting the most out of our time?
Some practical tips for smart phone usage that are helping me as I realize I want to be more present with my children. I want “less noise” from my phone.
I’ve turned off all notifications. (It's so liberating!)
I’ve put a limit on Facebook and Instagram (well technically I deleted Instagram for the time being, but when it’s on my phone, I limit the time)
At 9 pm, my phone goes to sleep, which means the screen goes gray and it’s no fun looking at a gray cell phone.
I put my phone on Airplane mode during the day if I need to get a project done or I’ll charge it in the other room.
Some of these things may seem extreme or even “too much” but I truly encourage you to look at how you’re spending your time. Track it if you need to, there’s so many free apps or websites (I know it’s ironic to mention an app after I just encouraged you to put your phone away - haha), but there time tracking apps or websites like Toggl, Clockify among others. You can also do as I did and track your time in a spreadsheet or simply write it down.
I encourage you to be hyper aware of how you’re feeling and how you’re spending your time. It’s made a big difference in my life to allow myself to “be” rather than needing to “do” things all the time. If you have goals or dreams you’re chasing or you’re working on making your reality, so many if not all the big dreams are a result of the tiny habits and ways we spend our day.
Changing a habit is hard yes, but it’s not impossible. We have the power to put the noise aside, get rid of the distractions and work on the bigger picture, whether you have the support of those around you or not. I encourage you this holiday season after a crazy year in which none of us could have predicted a Pandemic and all the side-effects it’s caused in our personal and professional lives to truly reflect on your year, on your goals, your habits and how you feel about it all.
That’s what I’m doing over here and as you know, being vulnerable about it all.
Thank you for being a part of Embrace La Música and for reading this blog, I’m excited for what’s to come.
If you’re interested in connecting or even some coaching on your personal goals when it comes to your dreams, please reach out. I love getting to work with other women as I help them see their potential as well as possibilities when it comes to their future and being their number one fan along the way.