I realized today that I never feel my feet. Not in a “I have a medical condition and should see a doctor” way. More like, all of my energy lives in the top half of my body-- in my chest, my arms, hands, and most especially in my head.
What does that even mean? Well, for me, it means I’ve spent years doing yoga, and meditating, and “practicing mindfulness” but I’ve never truly grounded myself. We have several internal tools to help us navigate the days-- feeling, moving, speaking, thinking, etc. Thinking has gotten me far and has been a powerful tool. But in my own case, it is far overutilized and should take a back seat to physical or emotional feeling from time to time. I am so attached to my thoughts, I almost find comfort in them. It’s like being on a hamster wheel of never ending thinking.
I often wonder about the correlation between my overactive brain and how much technology I consume, or at least-- how the things I consume influence my path of thinking. Don’t get me wrong, the technological advances in the last 30 years alone are like a supernova that has changed the way we live indelibly. Buuuuut, it’s also a way for us to be all up in other people’s business. We’re able to see what everyone is doing, what they have, where they are, which airline and class they’ve checked into (what?)... I’m already exhausted. Social media has become a place to pose and post the most polished moments of our lives, leading us to believe that the window dressings we are shown are accurate representations of what life is supposed to be. It also means that we may feel compelled to replicate that behavior in order to stay relevant.
On another note, those of us trying to use tools like Instagram for business platforms face a new wave of challenges: How many personal trainers have to sexualize their content to get likes, views, or shares? How frustrating is it that the pictures I post of face or body get more likes than landscapes or other images, regardless of the quality of content? I could go on a rant about this, but I digress.
It’s almost ingrained in us to use other people’s successes, feelings, actions, belongings, etc. as a measuring stick for your own. It’s the age old adage “keeping up with the Jones’”. We see what someone else has, and we think we should have it, too. We see where someone has recently vacationed, and suddenly we’re feeling bad about ourselves because we’ve not in the Maldives. Minding your business these days is damn near impossible because everyone’s business (your own included) is so readily available and perhaps expectedly so, especially if you’re using social media as a personal or professional platform. The highlight reel of social media can make you feel like crap and can enable the journey down the rabbit hole of comparisons and self doubt. And when you have the superpower of overthinking-- WOW, you can really go far.
Unless you’re willing to go off the grid entirely, or you’ve already found peace with your technological consumption (I applaud you!), I’d encourage you to develop an awareness of how you process energy and where that energy comes from. In other words, 1) Find the right tools to connect with yourself more genuinely to understand what you need, and 2) find ways to disconnect from the symptomatic byproducts (jealousy, comparisons, etc) of social media while still being an active participant. In many ways, finding the solution to one can engender success in the other.
Referring back to my first statement about “feeling my feet,” I think about where my energy comes from and how to grow deeper roots with myself. I get energy from other people (hello, extrovert), but also from physical activity where I can tap into what’s happening with my body. Sometimes, my thinking superpower derails both of these, stealing my mind away from the things that benefit them the most. Once I am aware of it, I can work to change that habit. With this fortified view, I can also encounter things like social media from a different perspective. By knowing what I need and what makes me tick, I am (a bit) less swayed by what I consume. Moreover, I am able to more mindfully consume (similar to how we think about what we feed our bodies) the information around me. Take some time to think about your relationship with the things you consume, what you need, and how you process.