Is it really possible to be honest about your opinions and without being judgmental? Could it be possible that we are inherently judgmental? When you think about it, being totally non-judgmental about things is impossible unless we live in a homogenous society, which we don’t. That is why sometimes it can be triggering to hear someone call you out for being judgmental when as far as you are concerned, you were merely being honest and that it isn’t possible to separate the two totally. Listen to this conversation and find out what provoked these thoughts in Whitney Lauritsen and Jason Wrobel. Plus, hear their thoughts on some of the more toxic aspects of social media influencer culture.
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Can You Be Honest Without Being Judgmental (And Does It Matter)?
We are doing our first video recorded episode in a very long time. We haven’t done one since March. I believe when we did our live episode on COVID, which is an interesting episode to look back on. It’s actually not available on the player. We put it up on Facebook Live and maybe YouTube. We are talking about all these different perspectives on COVID. It shows how ignorant we were back then in terms of making a decision. We are experimenting with a new feature in the program that we use to record this show. We’d love your feedback to see if you want to see us record more often. We’re not sure how the quality is going to come out yet. We’re also trying to do this casually and represent like what we look like when we’re recording these episodes.
Jason and I both have backgrounds in being on camera. One thing that has continued to stress us out over many years is trying to get the camera ready. Jason was like, “Do we have to get the camera ready?” I said, “No. I want us to feel free. I want this to be just our show that happens to be recorded. I’m going to look however I’m going to look.” I wish more people would do that, frankly. That leads me to a good starting point for this episode. A subject matter that is an interesting thing to explore because Jason doesn’t even know that I’m going to bring this up yet. It’s cool now that I can see your facial expressions because you’re so expressive. I have no idea how the layout of these videos are going to be if there are two separate tracks.
At least I can see your facial expression and other people can see how you reacting to things. I’m curious to see your physical reaction as I’m reading this out loud for the first time because I don’t think you saw this. We received a new review on Apple Podcasts, which is lovely. We are grateful for when they come in. This one reminded me that I’m very used to getting positive feedback through the reviews. I read this immediately like, “This is great.” It started off positive and then it came into some constructive criticism, feedback or opinion? It feels to me a more borderline opinion. The title is Real, Honest, but Judgy. “I love that the two are closely connected and feel comfortable being vulnerable to the world.” I read that line and I was like, “Great.”
“They give great advice and talk about deeply personal issues alongside with health and eating correctly,” which I will say I’m not a huge fan of the word correct in terms of eating. It’s always interesting to see how other people phrase them. I don’t like the word correct because I don’t want people to feel like there’s a version of eating that’s incorrect. That can be damaging for our mental health. What they’re getting at is that we talk about food and health. It then switches to some of the feedback/opinions.
“However, I do feel that in times I can come off as too judgmental on others, which goes against the way that they preach or salesy. One time they talked about how people who start off with the conversation, I’m going to get vulnerable. Aren’t being vulnerable, but are instead trying to gain clout.” When I read this, I felt triggered because I don’t want to be considered judgy. It’s something I am trying to work on. I thought about it for a moment and reflected like, “Am I being judgmental?” In this example they gave, I could see why this would be perceived as judgmental. I tried to find that episode because I remember talking about this, but I don’t recall what episode it was.
I don’t know if it was with one of our guests. I couldn’t find it because you and I use the word vulnerable a lot on our show. It’s a popular keyword. I don’t know when we recorded that because the next thought for me was, “This show has been an evolution.” I remember there was another piece of feedback we received early on with our show and somebody was dissatisfied because we were talking over each other like we are cutting each other off. They were specifically talking about me. It was one of your fans, Jason, and they were irritated that they thought I was cutting you off. I remember being a little hurt by that and then recognizing, “I can work on this.” I’ve been mindful to do my best, not to cut you off.
The way that we record now allows us to listen. As Jason is doing, he’s not jumping in. We would love to jump in more a natural conversation but we generally take turns talking because the audio quality sounds better than when we overlap. It gets a little distorted. Feedback like this is helpful if that’s what it was intended for. My reaction is that I wish more people would be more constructive when they share feedback like this because, are they asking for us to work on being less judgmental? Are they giving us the benefit of the doubt? Versus I get very triggered when somebody says something that’s definitive like, “I like Whitney, but she’s judgmental and I never expect her to change. She’s never going to change.”
As I’ve talked about in many episodes, I’m working on changing and I want to change, I don’t want to be stuck in who I am, and I certainly don’t want to be perceived as judgmental, but then again, we can’t control how other people perceive us. That’s another layer of this. I thought it was worth discussing because I want to acknowledge anybody who leaves us reviews and show our gratitude and also let you know how we receive it and be honest about the fact that we’ll work on things like this. I’m curious, Jason, for you A, how did you respond? How did you feel inside when I read this out loud and B, how do you feel about being called judgmental? She threw in the word salesy but didn’t give an example.It is in our nature to be judgmental, but it’s not always useful to us. Click To Tweet
I’m not quite sure what they mean by salesy. I suppose our episodes have ads in them, or we were talking about a sponsor or an affiliate program. Certainly, we can be salesy, but so can any other show. I also want to be transparent to the readers that we do this show mainly for free, and we have a lot of expenses. If we come across as salesy, it’s our way of monetizing the show so we can keep doing it and make it part of our business. If I’m always open to working on being less salesy, but sometimes it’s hard to do when you’re talking about a product. That’s my response to this, Jason, what’s yours?
First of all, what I endeavor to do is try and be in a place of discernment rather than judgment. I believe I’ve mentioned this in a previous episode. When I say I endeavor, this doesn’t mean that I’m an avatar. It doesn’t mean that I don’t judge people. I do get judgmental sometimes. To reiterate my philosophy on the difference between discernment and judgment, they’re both observations about some external stimuli outside of ourselves, or we can even judge ourselves. It’s something we’re observing and we are stating an opinion about something. The difference though is that discernment lacks a negative energetic charge, whereas a judgment is imbued with a negative energetic charge. An example would be like, “Whitney, that’s an interesting shirt.” That’s discernment.
There’s no negativity. There’s no charge to that. An example of a judgment would be like, “Whitney, that’s an interesting shirt. Are you sure you want to wear that for our first video in a year? It could be maybe not the best representation of us.” The difference, discernment, judgment. To me, am I a judgmental person? Yes, I am a judgmental person because there are times when I assess myself another person, a situation and I do put a negative charge on it. I’m working on it and I’m becoming more aware of it. I try and observe things from a neutral perspective because our belief systems, our conditioning, our judgments do get in the way of seeing clearly, sometimes. To answer this person’s feedback, yes, I am a judgmental person.
I don’t know, a single human being that I’ve ever met who doesn’t allay judgment on another person. To be aware of it, to your point, Whitney, to want to change and to work on it, and to me, being in a place of observing something without a negative charge overlaid on it is something I do endeavor to do, but sometimes I’m not there. To the example they gave specifically of judging, I suppose, content creators or influencers that, what did they say when you use my judgment of observing people using vulnerability as a sales tactic? Was that what they were alluding to?
It seems like they were triggered when we were talking about people saying phrases like, “I’m going to get vulnerable with you right now.” How you and I can perceive that as a lack of vulnerability because it’s setting themselves up as a marketing tactic, I suppose. I almost wonder with this feedback, it’s meant to be like calling us out as being hypocritical like, “You guys are salesy too.” I don’t know if that’s how this was meant, which I could see that as a perception too. To your point, when we brought up this vulnerability thing, it’s our personal opinion on it. There’s that fine line with honesty and opinions. Sometimes our opinions are judgmental, but is that necessarily a wrong thing?
This reminds me of something that you brought up about how a lot of people in our community are struggling with being people pleasers and I’m amongst them. It’s that desire to stay in the middle ground because I want to please everybody. Sometimes that leads me to not stating my opinions. Because I’m a people pleaser when I receive feedback like this, it makes me even more cautious about sharing my opinions because I’m afraid of being called judgmental. It reminds me of how women can be targeted for coming across as bossy when they’re trying to be strong leaders. They’re perceived as being bossy as a negative thing. That can cause us to shrink down when we’re called bossy. I wonder for myself, “Am I going to start to shrink down because I was called judgmental?” I have to be mindful of that.
It’s also important to remind ourselves at this moment that over the years that we’ve been doing our individual brands, and putting out content on YouTube and social media, in 2020 that we’ve been doing this show, you and I can create with the best of intent, with a very clear aim. The aim has always been, if I may, whether it’s the content you and I have done on YouTube with food and natural living, organic eating, eco-friendly living, now with mental health and emotional wellness with this show, I don’t want to censor myself. Part of the journey for me, at least of addressing my mental health and my emotional wellness is not censoring myself. I’m willing to risk pissing someone off, triggering them, or getting a negative review if, in my heart, I feel like I have in the moments that I speak and present what we present been as open and real and authentic as I can possibly be.
Sometimes that might be judgmental. Sometimes I do get pissed off. Sometimes I do feel like someone’s actions or behavior triggers me. I own that. I’m not an avatar. I’m not an ascended master. I’m not free from triggers, pain or trauma. I’m going to be the first to admit, people piss me off and trigger me. For this human being, I am grateful for the feedback. I also want to reiterate, we’re not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, Whitney. Even when you and I come with intent of, we want to create content and works of art whether that’s our books or our programs or whatever it is that we hope will support people.
As we’ve talked about in previous episodes, even with the assessments and the reviews we’ve had in Wellness Warrior Training, and some of the courses and offerings, some people don’t find value in it. Some people are like, “I’ve heard all this before. This is nothing new. It’s a rehashing of shit I’ve heard before.” We’re not going to please everyone. It’s impossible to do so. On the one hand, I do appreciate the feedback of being perceived as judgmental. I’m also not going to let it change who I am because I realized there are moments when I will be in judgment.
It’s a tricky thing. This brings up a larger issue of if we want to make changes in our lives, are we making them from our own volition and we’re making them because of our own self-reflection of, “I feel intrinsically, I need to change something in my life.” Are we changing something because our partner, our wife, our husband, boyfriend, girlfriend, or family is saying, “You need to change this?” It’s a fine line of having change come from within and feeling self-motivated to change, transform, and evolve, or doing so under pressure or duress from other people saying, “You need to change.” It can get complicated.
I wanted to bring up an article that I looked up when I was reflecting on this feedback because that’s part of how I process things. I first reflect on how it feels to me and then I try to look outside of myself. I’ve talked about how I was dealing with feedback, but that email that felt intense for me. If the readers want to read a little bit more in-depth about my experiences and how I deal with things like this, you can check that out. As part of my process, I went to Google. I looked up to something like, “How not to be judgmental, or how do I know if I’m being judgmental?” One of the first things that came up was a wonderful website. This is somebody I have been wanting to reach out to invite on the show because I adore his writing. His name is Leo Babauta. He has ZenHabits.net. The title of this post is A Simple Method to Avoid Being Judgmental. The reason why I thought this would be a great resource is because he takes a Buddhist standpoint on things, thus the name Zen.
I feel like he’s very balanced and thoughtful in his approach to these things. Plus, he’s a great teacher. I am excited to read some of this in real time. He started off by sharing a few quotes. One was by Walt Whitman that says, “Be curious, not judgmental.” The second has an anonymous source, which is, “I’m grateful that I’m not as judgmental as those censorious self-righteous people around me.” In a way, that ties into this comment because one thing I thought about when I received that review, I was like, “Is this person be judgmental for us because they think we’re being judgmental?” When we pursue someone as judgmental, we can use that as a mirror for our own selves.
That’s always an interesting practice. Leo starts off the article saying, “We are all judgmental. I certainly am many times. I think it’s human nature. Yet, while it is in our nature to be judgmental, I don’t think it’s always useful to us. We look down on others as if we are so much better and that creates the division between people.” When I read that line, I stopped to think when you and I were saying that to us, within our perceptions, when somebody says, “I’m about to get vulnerable,” we see that as like, “Here we go. Somebody is about to use that to get more views on their videos or whatever their captions like some of their posts.”
That was our point when we brought that up. I don’t know if I was looking down on them and I don’t know if I was saying that I was better than them. I’m personally saying I don’t like that approach because it doesn’t feel vulnerable. That was our point. If I’m reflecting back on how that triggered someone to think that we were judgmental, it’s helpful to step back and say, “I understand that somebody perceived that as judgmental, but was that my intention?” No. The intention is one of the big keys here, but sometimes we might not think that we’re being judgmental when we are. It’s hard to see outside of ourselves.
Leo offers a few tips in his article. He uses something called the DUAL method. D stands for Don’t pass judgment. If you find yourself being judgmental, stop yourself. U stands for Understand, instead of judging someone for what he’s done or how he looks, try to understand the person. That tip is helpful. In the example of me maybe being judgy of somebody saying, “I’m about to get judgmental right now,” I can understand why somebody would say that. Maybe it’s because they’ve heard a lot of people say that and they think that it works so they’re using a tactic that works and I’ve done that too. As social media content creators, we start to mimic other people even unintentionally. There might not be a ton of intention behind saying, “I’m about to get vulnerable,” because we heard many other people say it, that it becomes something that we start to say.
The other side of it is understanding in terms of maybe it feels comfortable to announce that you’re going to get vulnerable. It’s uncomfortable to be vulnerable. If you preface it to other people, maybe you’re hoping that they will be more understanding of you which is part of this non-judgmental thing. A in the DUAL method stands for Accept. Once you begin to understand, or at least think you understand, try to accept. Acceptance is something that we can all work on. It’s not that I don’t accept people if they’re saying they’re about to get vulnerable. I’m not a fan of it. That’s all. It doesn’t mean I don’t accept it. It just means I don’t enjoy it and there’s a difference there. Lastly, L stands for Love. Once you’ve accepted someone for who he is, try to love him. That’s important too. The difference between, are you rejecting somebody for what they say or do? That’s where I get triggered in feedback like this. When somebody calls me judgmental, deep down I’m afraid that they don’t love me anymore because they perceive me as judgmental.We all have value to share, but we have been conditioned to strive for a huge audience in order to feel valuable. Click To Tweet
It’s not about the fear of judgment. It’s about the fear of love being withdrawn. That’s a lot different. I feel like in some ways at the at the core, other than maybe fear of death or being proverbially speaking cast out from the tribe, which is a very hardwired thing in our reptilian brains of being afraid of that castigation, being shunned, or being left out in the wilderness to starve. Lack of love is right up there with fear of death. The idea of being unlovable, not being worthy of love, or being embraced by people, it’s right up there with fear of death. For some people, they might fear it more than actual physical death. The idea of being not loved. It is interesting this idea of judgment because in some ways, certain judgments, if I examine it for myself, taking personal responsibility for my judgments, there’s sometimes a subtle or a not so subtle mechanism in the judgment of wanting to feel better about myself.
Not always, but sometimes if I find myself judging someone else, it’s because I’m observing behavior or an action or a way of being that being repetitive sets of actions, which I perceive as a way of being or a habit that I have a reaction to. It’s interesting to look at the reaction part of it. If we examine this specific situation of this person who gave us this feedback, perceiving us as being judgmental for having a reaction against a content creator saying, “I’m about to get vulnerable,” what is the response or reaction in our bodies and psyches? For me, I think it’s, it’s like kin to the eye-roll emoji. That seems to be my reaction when this comes up is almost like, “Do I know for sure that this person is trying to manipulate their audience? Do I know for sure that this person is trying to use the ploy of vulnerability as a tactic to sell something? Do I know that for sure?” I don’t.
What it comes down to sometimes, and this is maybe an amorphous thing is trusting our gut. You and I have been on stage speaking to people. We’ve witnessed a lot of speakers on stage. A lot of times I find that whether it’s a video, watching a lecturer, or something like that, the energy that they are emitting doesn’t match the words that a person can be saying something. They can be waxing poetic on vulnerability, authenticity, love, leading with an open heart being of service, but there’s something subtle or not so subtle about their energy and the way that they’re presenting that doesn’t match the words that they’re speaking.
For me, that’s where I try and leverage discernment rather than judgment is paying attention to my reactivity of like, “This person’s full of shit. This person’s a charlatan. They’re a typical online marketer trying to sell me something.” Whereas like, “Do we sell things?” Yeah. We have a couple of courses. You and I have both published books, Whitney. It’s increasing mindfulness I’m trying to have and I know you are too to not have a disconnect between the words we’re saying and our philosophies and the energy behind those because when you feel that disconnect, you can’t deny it. When someone’s saying something and you’re like, “I don’t feel like you mean it. My gut tells me, you don’t mean what you’re saying.”
That’s also a matter of perception though. Maybe our gut reaction to somebody is telling us that they’re not right for us, we don’t feel good with them or we don’t feel comfortable with them, but other people might love it. Perfect example, you and I were in Clubhouse and we felt this way. We were in this room with hundreds of other people and there was a well-known podcaster speaking and sharing advice. We had mixed feelings about what this person was saying. I was checking in with myself as the feelings were coming up. I’m like, “Why are these feelings there?” First of all, it’s helpful to notice when the feeling comes up over and over again. This person has triggered me a lot over the years.
I still feel interested in what they’re saying and doing because they’ve been very successful, but then I had to check in with myself. It’s like, “What is the draw to this person even when I don’t fully align with them?” Part of me thinks maybe I’m trying to grow, maybe I’m trying to push myself outside of my biases, feelings, and comfort zone. I think that’s beneficial. Sometimes we need to listen to ourselves. I got off of that Clubhouse room feeling a little bad about myself. I don’t know if you are feeling that way, but it triggered me to feel like I wasn’t good enough because I was hearing this person list off all their successes and how they’re doing all of these things that are working so well for them. I thought, “I’m doing a lot of the same things as this person and I’m not getting those results. There must be something that I’m doing that’s not right or good enough.”
I felt the exact same thing where I stuck around in that room, in that discussion, because I was hoping to gain some actionable tips. If you’re at this stage of your brand growth and your creativity. You’re a content creator, you’re an artist, you’re an entrepreneur, “This is what I would recommend. It doesn’t mean it’s going to work. At this stage of the game, this is what I did. These were the things I overcame. This is what I was afraid of. These are the things I implemented. This is where I fell short.” Often some of these types of rooms end up being not so humble brag fest of like, “That’s when I blew $55 million and that’s when I did this. That’s when I had 100 million downloads.”
If you’re quoting those things and you’re not offering us who are not at that level of blowing $55 million or having hundreds of millions of downloads, it’s not useful to a person like me to hear you say those things. Unless there’s some takeaway, life lesson, or actionable step that you can put into the conversation that I feel like, “That’s why you framed it that way.” If it’s not framed in that way, my perception, my feeling, and my gut is you are humble bragging now. You’re like whipping your dick around.
Is it humble brag or is it that they’ve lost perspective and don’t realize that there are people like us who don’t have the same results, get the same results as them? I don’t know if I felt that they were bragging. I felt like they had lost perspective and lost sight that they’re in a completely different stage than some other people like ourselves.
That could be a way to interpret it for sure. If I’m going to be in a room with people that are on that level of material, financial business success, I don’t necessarily want to hear them have a tennis match with themselves. It’s interesting because then it brings up this thing of like, “Is that my ego feeling like threatened because I don’t feel as successful as them?” That might be a part of it. I also think if I want to be in a room full of rich, successful people, patting themselves on the back, I think about being at parties like that. Clubhouse as an example because you and I have been in rooms that have felt like a party, that felt like this connected openhearted, where everyone is being celebrated equally, very different energy, intention, and feeling in that room than, let’s say, the one we were in where it’s like, “I don’t want to take anyone’s success away. That is never anything that I want to feel or like besmirch their success or their status.”
When it’s presented the way it was of like a rich, successful person, pumping up this person and then hundreds of people in the audience being like, “How does this help us? I didn’t feel it was helpful. Why are you in this room? Are you here because you genuinely want to be of service because you say, you want to be of service? You say that’s why you’re doing what you’re doing?” Why is it everyone diddling each other’s bits about how great they are? That doesn’t interest me. That gets boring very quickly.
Circling back to the people-pleaser side because we know that many people are struggling with this. It’s interesting because there is a correlation between trying to constantly improve and trying to adapt yourself all of the time because you’re hoping that you’ll be validated. I perceive that person that was leading this Clubhouse group as perhaps needing validation, always wanting to be the best, always want to be acknowledged for their achievements. I can relate to that. I’m in a different stage of my life in my career than this person. We don’t need to be at the same level for us to be able to relate to each other’s desires for validation and to be seen and to get a pat on the back. That’s the thing that I’m noticing a lot about the Clubhouse, which is fascinating. If you step back from it, it’s this constant desire to be heard, to be seen, to be acknowledged, to be followed, to be praised, to be important.
There is this energy on Clubhouse of everybody wants attention, including myself. I’ll go on there and I’m like, “How can I do this or that? How can I get more people to listen to my rooms?” Ultimately, I also think that we all feel like there’s something that we can add value but we’ve been conditioned to strive for a huge audience in order to feel valuable. It’s not that it’s enough for us to have knowledge. It feels like our knowledge is not important unless we have a big audience of people telling us that it’s important. Clubhouse is reflecting that to me as a perception of other people and a perception of myself. Thinking about the people-pleaser that comes out for me, I find myself in rooms constantly trying to please everybody in there. For anybody reading, who has no idea what Clubhouse is, we did an episode on this that you can reference and look up the Clubhouse App online if you don’t want to read to our episode. It’s an app that’s audio-only.
It’s a big place for content creators and entrepreneurs to be experts in that whole thing. I noticed the people-pleaser in me comes out a lot on Clubhouse that’s like I want to keep people’s attention. When I’m running a room, meaning like I’m the moderator or the host, my aim is to make everybody feel included and make everyone feel like they’re getting value out of it. I’m constantly in that mode. When I’m participating or speaking in a room, it’s like, “How can I add value? How can I let the moderators know that I’m a valuable person?” It’s exhausting, to be honest, but that’s how a lot of our work goes. Being on social media, it’s like, “How can I create something that gets the most attention?”
I also think one other point is it’s a lot like dating. You know that you’re a great person, you know that you would be a good partner, but if you don’t feel like that’s being represented on your dating profile, then you might feel this constant need to try to change and elevate yourself to get people’s attention that they can see how great you are. That’s a lot of what I experience online. I have confidence within myself, but where the insecurity often is that other people are not going to perceive me that way or I’m not going to be seen and then the people-pleaser comes out. It’s like, “If I can please this person, they’ll acknowledge me, and then they’ll be able to see that I have something of value to offer them.”
The thing that I get caught in is you said the word pressure. I’ve had mixed bag experiences on Clubhouse and social media at large because it’s a glimpse into the social hierarchy and into our desire. We’ve talked about the four dual basic urges here on the show of people’s desire for attention, importance, validation, significance, and trying to avoid being ignored, being feeling unimportant, feeling insignificant people are at one time pursuing the one side and trying to avoid the other. Social media has magnified these human urges to an incredible degree. What I’m mindful of is not drinking my own Kool-Aid. Here’s what I mean by that, people are motivated by the fact that not in 2021, but I would argue for all of structured human civilization, we have deified certain human beings in positions and made them almost God-like because of their status.When you're surrounded by other people who are trying to prove themselves, it's hard not to try to prove yourself, too. Click To Tweet
How much gold they had if they controlled the spice trade, if they built monuments, if they were religious figures? Now it’s about who has the most attention and we deify those people. I notice how people will react when certain entrepreneurs, influencers, New York Times bestselling authors, TV hosts enter a room, whether that’s a physical room at a party or now in a room at Clubhouse. I see how people respond and react. It is this maintaining of social order and a hierarchy of, “It’s because you’re popular and influential and you get this attention and you have all of these followers, we are going to make you and treat you more important than other people.” This is what is happening. We can’t deny that it’s happening.
What I’m trying to diffuse for myself is not treating those people any different than I would treat anyone else. When I see a person at a physical party or I see someone in a Clubhouse room, I acknowledge that so-and-so is in there, but I’m not going to energetically fall to my knees and be like, “He or she is in here.” It’s not to diminish your accomplishments, hard work, what you’ve achieved. Not at all, but it’s the deification in putting these people in almost like a God-like status in our society. You and I have been to seminars, events, conferences, and seen how humans react to certain people. To me, it’s not only fascinating, but I don’t think that’s psychologically healthy because what it’s doing, it’s putting people on a pedestal and putting all of us beneath them.
It’s maintaining an energetic social hierarchy that I don’t think is psychologically or mentally healthy. For me, it’s not. I don’t need to think anyone who has that fame, money, success, influence is a better person than me, but let’s be honest in our society, we act like they are better than us. We lavish them with certain advantages in this world that we don’t give to other people. We give them a pass for certain behaviors, attitudes, and ways of being that if a person were not in their position, we would say, “That’s not okay.” You can’t act that way, but we give them a pass and we give them privilege because of the status we’ve not only given them, but we continue to reinforce. I’m not interested in that anymore.
It’s coming out a lot on Clubhouse. People are trying to prove themselves in a lot of different ways. I am trying to not fall into that myself, but it’s an interesting thing because when you’re surrounded by other people who are trying to prove themselves, it’s hard not to try to prove yourself too. There’s this huge momentum being built on a platform like Clubhouse and everybody is trying to stake their claims and be recognized on there so much so that there are rooms that are designed to get you more followers. On Clubhouse, there’s this idea around like, “Come on here.” Everyone’s going to follow you in the room. Behind the scenes, I’m like, “I’m not following everyone in the room. What’s purpose does that serve? I don’t need everyone here to follow me. I don’t want them to follow me if they don’t resonate with me. It’s meaningless.”
That’s been happening on social media for years. This follow for follow mentality that I’m not about because I’m going to unfollow you so what does it serve? It’s temporary vanity metric. It’s interesting too how a lot of the moderators feel pressure to introduce someone based on their accolades. I’ve been noticing that trend too. In the room that you came into before you arrived, there was this one guy who was a great value add, but what felt distracting to me was that they kept trying to prove his value. I thought, “If you let this man speak, and if he didn’t feel the pressure to prove his own value, I would be a lot more interested,” but because it was like, “Let me tell everybody in this room, how great this man is and why.” It was all based on external measurements of his success. He started sharing more external measurements of his success, which was felt like fluff because the true measurement for me is your internal measurements. It’s what you have to say and what value you have to offer.
That’s why I want to follow you. That’s why I want to trust and feel connected to you. I think it’s an old habit. It’s an old way of thinking. You and I have both been on the receiving end of this too. I’ve been to conferences with you where people come up to you because they recognize you from your TV show. That’s how they introduce you. It’s like, “Jason, the TV show host. Jason, the book author. Jason, this Jason that.” I know that there’s so much more to you than those things, but you benefit from being introduced that way. I’ve benefited from being introduced in certain ways too. People want to rattle off my social media numbers and I’m like, “That’s not who I am.” They want to introduce me based on my username Eco-Vegan Gal. It’s part of the reason why I’ve been trying to transition away from that. I’m like, “That’s not who I am. I’m not Eco-Vegan Gal. That’s been part of my identity, but that’s not my full identity. My numbers are not my identity. There’s so much more than me.”
I feel so uncomfortable when somebody says, “She has a big following.” First of all, a following is incredibly relative. What is big, anyways? Second of all, who cares? Why do we care so much about things like that? I want to go back to the people-pleaser side of things before we end this episode. I’m curious, what is this whole conversation? How does that add to this idea of people-pleasing and how many people are struggling with it? I’m also curious, do you find yourself identifying as a people-pleaser at any time, or do you not feel the desire to people-please?
I still identify aspects of my behavior as people-pleasing. It’s an offshoot of the deepest wound that I still work on. I’m going to work on it for my entire life, which is this idea of not-enoughness. I’ve talked about this in previous episodes, talking about my relationship with my father. We talked about it in our Father’s Day episode. My observation in people-pleasing comes up usually in a work or business context. I’m going to be blunt about it. It’s this permutation of, “Mommy, daddy, look what I can do. I’m doing good, right? I’m good. Look at me.”
I do that because it’s this deep trauma from decades of my childhood ago that is if I’m a good boy and mommy and daddy are happy and pleased, I won’t be abandoned and I’ll be physically safe. I’m very much aware of where this trauma pattern and people-pleasing comes from. I have to be super aware of the fact that even despite that compensation mechanism, I will disappoint people sometimes and need to handle that disappointment. When we feel like we’ve let someone down or disappointed someone, or if we talk about boundaries, which is another component of people-pleasing of not only stating but consistently maintaining boundaries, there’s been people in my life when I told them no or the clarification of not right now. We might’ve mentioned this in an episode on relationships.
There’s a massive distinction between telling someone no which is a very direct definitive statement versus not right now, which means, “At this moment, I can’t do that. I’m not interested in that. Maybe at a later date.” It’s very important to be intentional. We talk about conscious languaging all the time, but I guess my point is I’m trying to be a lot more mindful of when I’m defaulting to that old childhood trauma and trying to please everyone and it’s also about maintaining peace. “Is this idea that if I’m keeping the peace in the room where mom and dad aren’t fighting, then I’ll be safe and everyone will be okay.”
Part of my people-pleasing is being a peacekeeper, but I realized that there are times people are going to be mad at me. People will be disappointed in me. I will lose trust in people. People will lose faith in my abilities. I want to be better at accepting that, that despite my best efforts, those things will happen. How can I be better at navigating those very difficult emotions of letting someone down, disappointing someone, or inciting someone’s anger and someone’s pissed at me? I still need to get better at handling those emotions.
The people-pleasing does go back to coping as a child, trauma as a child, all these different experiences about how we believe we need to survive in life. Our parents are a huge part of our survival or our caretakers, whoever they may be as are our teachers. I think so much about those experiences growing at home and in school and with friends, wanting to keep friendships. You feel like you need to please them in order to keep them, wanting to please your teachers so that you do better in school or that they’re nicer to you so that you have a more enjoyable experience at school, wanting to please your parents, of course. There are many layers to that. I recognized in an episode that we did with Charlene where we talked about our goals.
I’m recognizing that I’ve been putting too much of an emphasis on this goal of people-pleasing in my life when that doesn’t serve me because if I’m constantly trying to please other people, then I’m starting to lose sight of who I am and what’s important to me. Sometimes to your point that you made earlier, we’re not going to please somebody, but we’re still doing our best work. Despite those best efforts, if we don’t please them, does that mean that we need to change all the time? Probably not because of constantly changing is draining and it doesn’t get you anywhere. You end up chasing your tail and that’s how I felt so much over the years with my work. That’s part of what makes it challenging as our careers with social media, podcasting and all these different mediums is that there’s so much emphasis on numbers.
If you think about numbers, it feels like if I please enough people, I’ll get the numbers I want and thus all feel successful or valuable or whatever else. For me, that process of trying to grow my online following has not served me because it was tied into the people pleasing that I started to lose sight of who I am and what I wanted. That can lead to burnout, confusion, depression, which can put us in the comparison trap constantly. We’re always looking for solutions to get better and better. When I tune more into what pleases me first, that works better, and hoping that it pleases enough people for me to get some of the results that I want.
Learning how to be okay when people are not pleased with me is another big thing that I’m working on. It’s a hard process, but it’s been something that I think a lot about, and it’s okay. If I were to go back to my younger self, I would acknowledge that it’s okay that I’m not liked by everybody at school. It’s okay when I disappoint my parents. It’s okay when I get a bad grade and I disappoint my teacher, all of that is okay. Isn’t that big of a deal because somebody’s dissatisfaction with us is sometimes not about us.
I want to bring up one point that I left you a voice memo after we left the Clubhouse room. What you said in your last statement reminded me of it because there’s this idea of what we ought to do and this idea that if we do the steps that we think we ought to do, then we’ll win. We’ll succeed. People will be happy with us. “Everyone loves me now.” If we’re honest about it, we, as in many people on this planet, social media has become a mechanism for us to try and get the love, acknowledgment, and validation that we did not get from our parents or family, or fellow classmates when we were children for radically honest about it.We are not perfect. Sometimes we’re going to be judgmental, and that’s okay. Click To Tweet
I’m not saying everyone, but a hell lot of people are chasing that emotional security that they never received. I’ll even go on the track to say, knowing the history of trauma of some of these people that we’ve been discussing, knowing some of the intimate details of what they went through in their life, in terms of abuse, trauma, neglect, things like that, it’s no wonder they’re chasing that level of success. In my opinion, my perception, my own trauma and what has motivated me to do the things I’ve done has been, “If I get to that level, I’ll be lovable and worthy because mom, dad, sister, brother, auntie, grandma, grandpa, classmates, didn’t give it to me.”
There are a lot of successful people with massive unhealed trauma. They think that void, that hole in their psyche, their heart is going to be filled with it and they keep chasing. That’s my observation. There are a lot of people that are motivated by that. Social media is a tool for them to try and get those things. The point I wanted to make is thinking we ought to do certain things. One of the biggest things now is people are positioning themselves as a growth hacker, a success coach, 10X, 20X your business, mega growth, go from 6 to 7 to 9 to 10 figures. “You keep going, never stop. Are you fully committed? Are you all in?”
The question that I sit, Whit, and it’s important for people to ask themselves is, “It sounds interesting to make $100 million and have a business that makes, 9 or 10-figure it does.” When I think about, “I would have to have a lot of employees to do a lot of the responsibilities I’m doing as a person and offload those responsibilities and delegate. Do I want to have a company that has 50 or 100 or 200 employees? Do I want to be this global corporation where energy, input, and humanity is required to scale to that level?” To get to that level of financial success or notoriety, to scale, you need human beings.
It’s almost like what we were discussing with Paul Jarvis in our episode that he doesn’t want that. He’s like, “I don’t want to manage 50 or 100 or 500 people.” Honestly, neither do I. That’s not something I envisioned for my life is like, “I want this massive corporation where we’re making hundreds of millions of dollars.” Do I want that level of stress, pressure management, mindfulness of that many humans? I don’t. There’s this idea of, “Focus on the money, focus on the success,” but do you want to live the life that is required to get there? People focus on the end goal like, “That sounds amazing.” The day in, day out life that’s required to get there, do you want it? That’s a super important question to ask.
Also, what’s wrong with staying small? There’s this inherent of obsession with growth, with scaling, with more, better, faster all the time. What’s wrong with being a local business or a small artist, or having a small group of people that love what you’re creating? There’s an endemic part of this conversation too that being small, staying small, being tight and focused, and lean is somehow a bad thing. It’s almost like that’s an intrinsic part of that positioning of, “Why would you stay there? You got to grow. You got to scale.” What if you don’t want to? What if that’s not in your heart? What if you like having a small coffee shop or a little business on Etsy, or maybe a small one-on-one vocal coaching business?
We could name a ton of examples, but I feel like there’s a part of this that certain entrepreneurs almost shame you for wanting to stay in that position. “There must be something wrong with you.” It must be a block. There’s something psychologically blocking you from wanting to be bigger, not necessarily. As we’re wrapping this episode, our encouragement to you, dear reader, as we’re doing for ourselves is to keep asking the questions and digging into what’s motivating us. We do have blocks, trauma, subconscious belief systems. There’s that quote of like, “Be kind to everyone because they’re fighting battles you know nothing about.”
I want to leave of like, I’m fighting my own battles. You’re fighting your own battles. The readers are fighting their own battles and we’re not perfect. We’re not striving for perfection. Sometimes we’re going to be judgmental, be pissy, unkind and it’s okay because if we’re trying to observe ourselves, be self-aware, and take inventory of this, I don’t want to say, “Do better.” I don’t like that phrasing. We’re all on a different path in this evolutionary process. This has been fun, Whitney, to do our first video session.
I would add to that quote that you shared that reminds me of, “People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.” When we’re about to share feedback with somebody, maybe taking a pause, and thinking, “Am I saying to somebody something that I too can work on, and what’s the point of saying this?” A lot of people put post reviews of things to get out their frustrations and they too want to be heard. It’s okay. We get it. We know it’s frustrating. We know that you want to be heard. We know that you want your opinion to be acknowledged, but what is the bigger point and ripple effect too, as we talked about also in that episode that I referenced, you were talking about our friend who had the bad Yelp review and how much it’s affected her business.
I know a number of people that are struggling to recover from bad reviews. I’m not saying don’t write a review. I’m saying be very mindful and it doesn’t have to be 100% positive. I felt a little refreshed coming back to this comment that the review that we received, it’s nice when we don’t get five stars because I think sometimes if everything’s five stars, people think that it’s not real and that you’re buying or somehow cheating with your reviews, which by the way we don’t do. We got an influx of positive reviews when we encourage people through our giveaway, but it wasn’t like, “Give us five stars or else.” It was like, “Leave us a review whatever you want to say.” We truly mean that, but we also encourage you and not beyond us, beyond our show, but anytime you’ll leave a review, is this constructive? Is this helping and is this true?
Going back to Byron Katie’s work too, is it true that you and I are judgmental, or was that just one episode? Was that just one day? Did we have an off day? Could you say that maybe in some episodes we are judgmental versus an overall arching? If you would like to see us be less judgmental like you would do with the brand, send private feedback, say, “Whitney and Jason, just so you know, I felt like you came a little across a little judgmental in this episode. Would you be open to shifting it?” Chances are, we’re going to say, “Yes. Thank you so much.” We can then work on improving, which helps us in the long run versus a review. It does help us, but some people are very hurt either emotionally or business-wise by negative reviews that could have been solved by private communication.
Going back to that quote about throwing stones, it’s also a great opportunity. Next time you write a review, pause and say, “Is this about them or is this about me? Am I being hypocritical by saying something that I too haven’t worked on?” If you can check yourself and still write something with confidence, then that’s legit, but if you hit that point with that question and recognize like, “Maybe this isn’t about their business. Maybe this is a simple thing that I wanted to air out and didn’t realize that it’s going to have a permanent effect on somebody.” That’s how I see reviews. I rarely ever write a bad review. I send private messages to companies first before I ever say something negative about them because I know how it feels to receive it. I know that it can have a negative ripple effect when it’s said publicly.
Receiving this review is also good training for me because historically I had a massive trigger around getting unsolicited feedback from people and they don’t ask whether I’m open to receiving it. I don’t expect an anonymous person. I don’t know if we even know this person personally or not, but historically, I’ve had massive issues with people energetically vomiting feedback or things on me without asking for it. It’s an opportunity to receive something like this and work through the emotions that I have of being angry around receiving feedback I didn’t ask for. That’s part of the human experience. We’re not always going to have the opt-in from a human being like, “I have some feedback for you that I think you ought to consider. Are you open to receiving that right now?”
I’m being realistic about human interactions. Even from the people, we’re closest to, even our friends, family, and business partners are not always going to be like, “Are you open to receiving this?” Sometimes we blurt it out. Whenever we’re receiving things like this, it’s an opportunity for us to look at our own wounds, our own triggers, our own things that we need to work on. To the person who left it, thank you. We appreciate you leaving it. It’s given us a lot of food for thought and a lot of subject matter to dive into on this show and I’m sure for future episodes too. On our website, you can access all of our free resources. We do have a couple of paid courses, Wellness Warrior Training and The Consistency Code. We also have a couple of free video training and three free eBooks that are free of charge. They cost you nothing but a little bit of time, effort, reading, and digesting the information.
Whatever your pleasure, you can choose your own adventure at Wellevatr.com. If you have any feedback, reviews, criticism, ideas, or anything you want feel free, we would prefer that you send Whitney and I a direct email at [email protected]. With that, we are back in the video game, Whitney, it’s going to be interesting to see how this manifests on our YouTube channel, moving forward and props to Zencastr for kicking off their video program and allowing us to explore video after taking a year off. This has been cool, Whitney. It’s been fun to do a video, see your face and see your reactions too. Until next time, thank you for reading. Thanks for getting uncomfortable with us. We’ll be back again with another episode!
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- YouTube – video version of this episode
- Facebook Live – Our Thoughts on Coronavirus and How It Impacts Live Events Like Expo West
- YouTube – Our Thoughts on Coronavirus and How It Impacts Live Events Like Expo West
- Apple Podcasts – This Might Get Uncomfortable
- Wellness Warrior Training
- A Simple Method to Avoid Being Judgmental
- Joining Clubhouse, The New Social Media Platform, And Our Thoughts On Business Ethics – Previous episode
- The Gifts Our Fathers Gave Us: Sharing Stories On Father’s Day – Previous episode
- Data Privacy, Social Media, And Website Minimalism With Paul Jarvis – Previous episode
- The Consistency Code
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