The week leading up to our 2017 Thomson Family Vacation I had been (and am still) working on a big launch of a new program. I am also preparing for a Facebook Live I will be doing on Tuesday that walks people through my e-book Stuck to Start: 5 Steps to get from where you are to where you want to be. I did a pretty good job at writing posts and creating content that reflected my core messaging that being a Type E Woman (Everything for Everybody) is not permanent and there are ways to get past the prison created by this stress condition. I scheduled posts for my social media outlets and let my In Her Element Facebook group know that I was going to unplug and would be signing off for the week. I planned to give 100% of myself to my family and my time off and… Guess what?
In the dark of the first morning of vacation (I still get up around 5am everyday to write in my journal and meditate…”morning me-time” is non-negotiable) my sleepy self, who forgot that I had decided to unplug, easily and unconsciously slipped back to my habit of clearing email and checking my social media notifications while the coffee brewed.
I justified the hell out of this behaviour, even though it didn’t align with my purist desire to unplug and go “no-tech” during my family down time. Once I broke my own “rule”…les jeux sont faits…the game was up! I accepted defeat, however I did not resume my full digital practice. I did minimize my activity and focused on being fully present for my children during each of our many adventures. I also succumbed to the ol’ “Well if he’s doing it then I can do it too.” I wouldn’t go so far as to say that I blamed my husband; I simply used the idea of seeing him on his phone (doing anything not necessarily social media) as a justification for my inability to commit and unplug fully.
As I write this I want to believe that I am not beating myself up for not being able to break a fully ingrained habit with a one-time decision. I know that my most voracious icky habits, still after years, require daily decisions to do or not do, as the case may be. I have many times found myself on the wrong side of a habit that I desperately wanted to change and in those moments said to myself…
“Okay…I’m an intricate human and permanent change takes time. Be gentle and patient, consistent and persistent Dionne, everything is coming together.”
I know this to be true because as I reflect on a number of new great habits that are now unconscious I literally have to fight to remember what I used to do…be gentle and patient, consistent and persistent.
The one thing I have noticed during my years of consciously trying to change my unconscious is that the habits that seem more prolific and sticky are often the ones that are serving another purpose (unbeknownst to me). They are feeding another need, desire or belief that isn’t clear on the surface. This ulterior motive or reason is often (for me) attached to a limiting belief or decision that I made at an extremely different time in my life, perhaps even when I was a kid. Sometimes my habits that seem hard to break are the ones that were ingrained in me even before I did them.
They are behaviors that I am exhibiting now that I learned from one or many sources (role models) I had in my younger years. Because remember…
Many of the behaviors we exhibit now are representations of behaviors we initially observed as children and our interpretation of these behaviors are based on our once child-like understanding of the world. When we decided that the behaviour was appropriate and served us we also decided not to question its value, or leave it open for interpretation at a later date.
So is that to say that my incessant social media notification checking is something I picked up from parents and other influential adults when I was young, before social media even existed? Yes! The behaviour of looking to outside sources for validation is and has (for my entire lifetime) been rampantly modeled and demonstrated by the media, society and adults everywhere, to young people (girls especially) as the primary means of knowing who you are and if you are accepted.
And in case you didn’t already know…
Social Acceptance is at the crux of female psychology as our most powerful driver.
So perhaps I won’t get too mired down in the fact that I was not able to successfully obliterate a generations-old habit with one lofty (well-meaning) decision.
Now, after thinking on its primary reason or purpose…
That as a woman, who has been exposed to the idea that I must look outside myself for purpose, validation and acceptance, my efforts and energy would be better served if I focused on re-training myself to love and accept my Self and find purpose and validation from within.
In doing so, I bet that my NEED to check social media notifications will naturally start to slip away and when I decide (again) to either go low-tech or no-tech I will find it much easier to break free of my bad habit and effortlessly build a new habit fueled by self-love and self-acceptance. Sounds like a win-win to me!
But what about the external pressure on women and young girls that I don’t “control”…media and society as a whole?
Do I simply let that go on and hope that my girls wake up when they’re 40 years old? NO! As a parent I can practice every day to model self-love and self-acceptance (remembering that I have 2 little mimics watching me) and as a consumer I have the power and choice as to where I put my currencies (time, money and energy). Again knowing that I am modelling behaviour for my children (along with changing my own behaviors).
I can also choose to speak about this decision, (process), because I know that not only are they mimicking what I am doing, they are using my words (and how I feel about those words) to create a foundation for their perception of the experience. They again are not interpreting they are absorbing, so I wield the power to literally form the basis for how they not only see the world but also themselves.
The words we choose to use, the thoughts we choose to think make up the foundation of our perception and it stands to reason that if our children (all children we influence) mimic our behaviors, which include the words we use, we are having an enormous impact on their perception, future generations and the world as a whole
Whoa that’s BIG … thinking about the power of our own thinking!
So I didn’t 100% unplug from the digital world during the 2017 Thomson Family Vacation…however, I now feel more tuned in to my own world and the impact I am having on the next generation. Sounds like time well spent to me!
Wishing you a relaxing and enlightened vacation,
where you unplug from others and plug into your Self!
All good things are rooted in love, laughter and learning!