When you start afresh and begin again, it is easier said than done. If you don’t know me already. I must remember to re-introduce myself, because Bios are often missed and on occasions let us face it, we all need a little nudge or a prompt to say Hello, or is that just me?
In a very busy world, and especially today with social media, it is easy to forget that to the new we are strangers.
I am one of the many recently appointed Ambassadors for Psychologies Magazine in 2018, who has the opportunity to offer and share their or should I say ‘my’ own experiences of my real-life-journey so far, since I have been onboard the Subscription-Psychologies-Train and putting myself out there with a few Lifestyle Life-Leaps. I had to apply for the role, it was a scary process and when I re-watch the vlog I sent in, I am often guilty of wondering why I was accepted. I am certainly pleased I was, and it has taken time to settle in and find my groove. As you may have read in my bio, I have been soul-searching my niche as the Writer, so what should I share here?
It feels quite the luxury and an honour to share a few words here on Life Labs, a little like attending a Spa, or going on a holiday to somewhere new. I have certainly felt out of my comfort zone. Weird, to feel so many bubbles, especially when I had been blogging my own writing for three years prior.
As with any new role there is always a good 3-6 months or more settling in spell to have to work through, creating new boundaries, generating a connection, trust, and feeling confident in the skills I might bring and share to a new role.
Thanks to the self-coaching worksheets, after a few months of looking at repeat patterns and signs, I am left with two themes. I have whittled them down to one, which is an umberella title: Lifestyle Choices.
It’s taken quite a few months to get comfortable with the process of sharing here online. I have never been a fan of the popular social media channels, but I do love the applications that matter to me. These last five years I have been practising and self-publishing for fun. I hadn’t considered I could have a career in it. I had thought that people who had a career as Writers were some special-alien-types. But in recent months, I have realised I am quite the special-alien-type.
I found this magazine, or maybe it found me, because many proverbs share ‘when you are seeking your passion, your passion is seeking you’. I had thought I was at an ‘eyes-wide-open’ point in my life. I had been practising a series of methods in my own Creative Writing Practice and journalling in trying to find my niche. Little had I realised, I had been observing my niche the whole time, with blinkers on, I just hadn’t seen it.
If you’re a reader of the magazine, you will already have heard of the word Narcissism, and I learned a lot about this in Renaissance Literature as a mature-undergraduate, not so much the scientific psychology of it, but the dangers of tunnel-vision. I could start to talk about ‘ego’, but I will leave that for the therapists to discuss, I can only talk about it on a literal level.
My first test as a new Ambassador, was facing a fear. My fear was Facebook.
I am not a fan of Facebook, for my own reasons. We are not always going to like every offer that comes our way and we have to be able to recognise that. Many people I talk to say they have a love/hate relationship with it, but if I had that in a marriage I would get a divorce? Or would I? Now that is a bigger question that sends me off onto a relationships topic which includes real people. I shall pause here and send you back in time.
I tried the Facebook platform about eight years ago, but it didn’t work out:
I jumped onto the social network band-wagon along with everyone else. However, I didn’t really use it, I just watched, and I watched, and I watched. I had never realised my family and friends were so talkative and so generous in their information sharing. It surprised me. I felt a little nosey. Why?
Well! If I didn’t know this information already, why hadn’t my family and friends been sharing this information with me when we met up? The days of sitting down to flick through a family album of photos, or a simple chat over a cuppa to tell me they were going to have chicken soup for their evening meal, ended.
It all felt a little odd, and a little surreal. I’ve worked in several roles in my past with strict boundaries such as data protection, rights and confidentiality, political correctness and safeguarding; when I saw so many of my friends and family been so revealing to fifty or more followers and friends, I felt the need to warn them.
My warnings fell on deaf ears.
“Stop over reacting!”
These were some of the responses I heard. They were sharing life stories that they didn’t share when face to face or in group environments. My warning clangers where chiming loudly.
I pulled out, I closed quite a lot down and rarely used Facebook after that, I unfollowed, and removed friends because I know who my friends and family are. I have a phone. I have email. I catch a plane or a train or a bus if I have to, for real life connection.
I never deleted the account though, just in case.
Quite a lot of my family and friends found my reaction odd. It was fine. They felt a little rejected. They weren’t. In recent years, they now know me as the friend or member of the family that they must call or physically visit, to find out how I am, and vice versa.
I recently reactivated the account for the Life Leap, but six months later. I had to admit, I still didn’t like the platform, and although I was hearing about some amazing people and connecting with others who had similar interests and passions; the whole ideology of what Facebook meant to me, never went away.
As I was a new recruit, I kept telling myself to push my limits. Yet, for whatever reason, my limitations were telling me to pull back. If I was going to achieve my own life-leap it wasn’t about leaping into places that I felt uncertain about. It was about leaping forward within well researched boundaries that made me feel secure. Safety is important when you are trying something new.
I often say to my children when they say: “Just try it?”
“If it feels safe, and you trust it, try it? But, always know when it doesn’t feel right, you can say you have tried, say goodbye and try something new.”
The advice seems to have helped my children in growing up, and maybe I should heed my own advice, I thought.
So, this is my Goodbye to all those wonderful connections that I recently met online via Facebook. I hope to hear or see you soon, by alternate means. One of my tiny steps to change was deactivating the account. Two weeks later. It is no longer about looking at the signs, but paying attention to patterns, too.
I am still here. I am still alive, and now that I have found my niche. I've chosen to change my profile image on here and share a picture of who I am. I will have to keep remembering to keep introducing myself when I take the time online to chat to others about not so simple Lifestyle Choices.
Thank you Psychologies Team.