When you feel uncomfortable, you have to tune in and decide whether this discomfort is important? Host Whitney Lauritsen sits down with us to discuss why we should acknowledge what doesn’t feel good. You need to listen to your gut feeling to save yourself from dangerous situations. Do what feels in alignment with your values. You don’t have to conform to societal pressures to be accepted or validated. Listen to this episode and be more confident with your individuality!
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“The Ick Factor”: Why You Need To Listen To Your Gut And Acknowledge What Doesn’t Feel Good
Our topic is about something I feel is best referred to as the ick factor. That icky feeling that I get and perhaps you also get when you see something that doesn’t make you feel good on some level. This is something that I noticed, especially as I was going through email newsletters I was subscribed to. I feel like this is such a relatable thing, which is accumulating emails and not being in the mood to read them when they arrive in your inbox. Then next thing you know, months, even years have gone by and you’ve never read them.
Depending on your personality type, you may delete them all or mark them all as read or maybe you’ll let them accumulate in your inbox and not worry about it until they either start to drive you crazy or you get a message that you don’t have any space left in your email inbox. For the last years, I have had this practice of usually either at the end of the year or the beginning of a new year, I’ll go through and mark and organize all my emails. This can be quite an undertaking because I have one email inbox that I typically use to sign up for newsletters. That one has around 30,000 unread emails.
That’s been for many years. I guess I have not organized it in a few years. Maybe that goes back to 2018, 2019. For some people, it’s daunting. For me, it is at times, but then there are moments where my brain gets stimulated by this process of organizing and also this fear of missing out on information. Does that ever come up for you where maybe you find yourself reading a newspaper, website, blog, social media page or something because you don’t want to miss out?
I probably could do a whole new separate episode on that because I tend to read a lot of newsletters simply out of the fear of missing out on some information. For example, I am subscribed to a few that are about daily events, current events, I will almost always glance over to make sure I’m in the know. I don’t like feeling out of the loop on things. Perhaps it’s also why I like to use TikTok because it’s full of current events. Sometimes things on there I’m hearing about before anywhere else.
I enjoy the feeling of being informed. That ties into this ick factor because, along with being informed, there have been times where I will consume information even if it doesn’t make me feel good. There have been different levels of this. One level would be consuming gossip, celebrity news, where I don’t generally feel that good about that. I don’t want to hear who is being canceled or got some drama. I find myself sucked into information about the Kardashians. There seems to always be something going on with them. It also seems like that’s how they make money.
They get everyone so wrapped up in their lives. Even people like me who don’t feel that invested in the Kardashians, I’m still curious and it’s fascinating when you step back and examine how we can be easily manipulated by the media to care about things that we don’t care about. This could be going on Facebook. I’m not someone who currently does this but maybe every once in a while, I’ll find myself looking up something about someone’s life. Finding myself drawn into the nuances of who they are, like what’s going on with their love life, kids or success.
Oversharing Leads To Information Overload
For me, I’ll see a glimmer into someone’s life and suddenly be drawn in even though I haven’t thought about them in a long time. I know other people feel this way, too. I’ve seen TikTok videos of others confessing that they’ll go down this rabbit hole and want to know everything about someone’s life. That also leads me to this thought I’ve had about how in the future, we’ll be taking pride in the less amount of information we share about ourselves versus the last years. A lot of people overshare. They’re telling everything about themselves, myself included.
I used to share everything on my YouTube channels and Instagram. Now I barely ever share. The show is where I share the most. It’s fascinating how I’ll see other people on Facebook sharing every little thing. I saw this woman that I’m an acquaintance with and it seemed like she was posting to post. She didn’t have a major point. There was nothing big to celebrate. She just wants to share a bunch of photos of her life and say hello to her Facebook followers and friends. That’s fine but there is so much oversharing that can also lead to information overload. It starts to feel impossible to keep up.
This anxiety creeps up on us where we feel like we can never keep up and we’re always missing out on something. I get so overwhelmed with that. I completely shut down, even talking about that makes me feel overwhelmed. Going back to the email newsletters, there was something very specific I felt there in terms of this ick factor. I need to go back a bit in time to explain the evolution of this. I would be curious if you have had a similar evolution. Probably about 2015 or 2016, I was into the entrepreneurial space. I was concerned with and committed to making a lot of money.
I found this journal entry of mine from late-2017 or early-2018, where I was planning out what my financial goals were and they were pretty high. I feel so disconnected from that goal. I haven’t thought about that goal in a long time. I don’t even want that goal anymore but back then, I want to make this huge amount of money. I was following a lot of online entrepreneurs to figure out what they were doing to make that amount of money. There were a number of people who would share their income reports and you could see them break down how much they were making.When you feel uncomfortable, you have to tune in and decide whether this discomfort is important. Click To Tweet
There were times I would look at this and think, “I can do that, too. If they can do it, I can do it. I need to follow them and figure it out. I need to take their courses.” There were also times I would look at their income reports and think, “I’m doing some of the same things that they’re doing, but not getting the same results.” This has come up a number of times in the show, this failure feeling could be discouraging. Nevertheless, I would do my best to figure out how to make it work for me.
Jason and I, in an episode with Jason and Caroline Zook, are some great business coaches who do not fall into the ick factor for me at all. It was in that episode that Jason and I alluded to this program we took that gave me the ick factor over time and now majorly. I’m going to get into my definition of what I mean because I don’t think I’ve been super clear. To work my way up to that in this evolution, I took that program with Jason in 2019 because this was before COVID. It did not go that well. I’m not going to name names.
I don’t think we did in that episode with Jason and Caroline either, but Jason Wrobel specifically, he and I took it. Not to be confused with Jason Zook. He and I took this program because we wanted to make a lot of money from Wellevatr. We wanted to feel successful. We wanted to be these big entrepreneurs. I was drawn into this one person I’ve been following for many years who said that he had this formula and if you took his one-year-long online course and program, it was guaranteed virtually. He might’ve even used the word guarantee.
Although, spoiler alert, I did not get the results that he promised and I did not get my money back. I didn’t ask for it, but I did explain that I didn’t get the results. It gave me the ick factor because this course leader did not seem to care that I was not getting the results that I thought I was going to. It was a significant investment. I remember the day that Jason and I signed up for that course, we got into a fight because it was a lot of money and he was scared but he trusted me and we both put it on our credit cards and paid for this course. It felt good at times. It felt helpful.
I did learn a lot, but it barely increased our income. I don’t even know if any of our income was directly related to that course. It did help us think about things differently. We changed some of the elements of Wellevatr and worked on some things. It certainly gave benefits. The ick factor came from the fact that I was so passionate about doing something and found this person online who I thought I could trust. I invested a ton of time and money into this person and didn’t get the results that they promised. They didn’t even care that I didn’t get those results or at least they didn’t indicate that they cared.
Thinking back on it, I feel this pit in my stomach, which I am associating with this ick factor phrase of, “That did not feel good. That makes me feel uncomfortable, disappointed, frustrated and resentful and all those icky feelings.” When I look back over these newsletters that I am going through tens of thousands of them, maybe a huge reason they have gone unread is because they made me feel icky and/or I signed up for these newsletters many years ago when I was a different person in a different state of mind, a different phase of my life. They don’t align with who I am in January 2022.
That’s okay, too. We will go through these shifts in our lives and we will be different. We will change. We will not be in alignment with things that we liked, maybe even a shorter terms ago. I have certainly gone through a lot of shifts. There is constant transition in our life. The reason I wanted to do an episode about this is because it’s so important for us to pay attention to our gut feelings because it took me a while to get here where I could even identify that ick factor. For so long, I didn’t feel like I was justified in those icky feelings. I thought there was something wrong with me.
I thought I needed to ignore that gut and icky feeling and persist. Ultimately, there was something wrong with me, but that person must be right because they had a lot of followers, they were making a lot of money and it looked like they were doing everything right and on paper. I should trust them or I should like them. When I was going through these newsletters, I could tell the instant I saw who it was from that I did not align with them anymore. As I talk about it and I’m thinking back into those feelings, I get like a dry mouth.
It’s like a cottonmouth type of feeling where for no other reason, besides the discomfort of the emotion, my body is physically reacting to it. The pit in my stomach, almost like a butterfly, is that feeling that you get when you’re on a roller coaster and you go over that first big drop or even on the way up before you hit that drop. You have that uncomfortable feeling and you don’t get the adrenaline rush of a roller coaster in these instances, it’s the drop. It’s unpleasant with no end and yet continuing in some cases because you’re second-guessing yourself and your reaction.
I’m curious if you feel this, too. You can always email or message me on either @Wellevatr or @WhitLauritsen. I would love to know. Do you second guess yourself when you feel icky or get a bad feeling about someone? Do you brush it off? I did for so long. It’s such a great example of how there are uncomfortable experiences that we need to lean into or lean away from. When you feel uncomfortable, you have to tune in and decide for yourself, “Is this discomfort important and why is it important? Is it fleeting? Is it a signal? Is it a sign?” Usually, it is. It might be in a minor way or a major way.
Sometimes we need to push through the discomfort and keep going. I tend to do that but in this case, I don’t think I should keep going. If somebody, who I’m not committed to in any way, is giving me an icky feeling, I should pay attention to them and probably unsubscribe from their newsletter, unfollow them from social media, stop paying attention to their work and also stop comparing myself to them. Stop thinking that they’re the measuring stick for my life. When I look back, some specific people come to mind who I followed because I wanted to be like them.
I wanted to model myself after them. I thought that they were doing everything right. I did put in a lot of effort to try to be like them. I did not get those results and I’m okay with that. If I had known back in 2017 or 2016, maybe even further that I’ve been thinking like this, if I could take my present self and somehow bring it back in the past and say, “In however many years from now, you’re not going to care that you don’t make that much money. That money does not matter.” I’m not saying that money doesn’t matter. Money is very important. In 2021, my big financial goal was to pay off my credit card debt. I did. That feels amazing. I have a lot of credit card debt.
It’s all relative, so I won’t share the number, but what a lot means in your head, picture it like that’s my number, because relative to you, whatever feels like a lot, that could be your number. Imagine paying that off in a year. It was challenging and it felt so good to be done with it. I’ll officially be done because my last payment was on December 30th, 2021 and it took a few weeks for the interest to kick in and then for me to pay off the interest because I used a credit payoff system where you pay your bill twice a month and you split it up and do one payment three days before your credit card due date and fifteen days before your credit card due date.
Some people believe that to be a great way to raise your credit score. My credit score has skyrocketed. I don’t know if it was because of that method or it was because I paid off so much money, but I have a phenomenal credit score and no credit card debt. That feels good. Money does matter to me and it matters to each person in different ways. In 2022, my financial goals are to save money and to specifically start a retirement plan and focus on it. I have had a 401(k) for years. I also have had stock investments in companies like Apple for years. Those are part of my retirement plan and long-term savings.
I haven’t been as diligent about it in a very long time. It has been way on the back burner, probably because of my credit card debt and other financial decisions. I outlined a whole plan for myself to start saving for retirement more intentionally, start investing my money in the stock market and cryptocurrency and also put aside savings for all different phases of my life. This is completely a side note, but worth mentioning since money is a big part of the ick factor for me. I opened up a high-yield savings account in 2021. I did a bunch of research, opened it up. It was easy.
High-yield is very relative, so it’s not a lot of money, but it was more than my savings account that I have with my main bank. What’s neat about this particular savings account is that it allowed me to create buckets so I could divide up my savings into different categories. I like organizing things and I like numbers in general. I came up with ten different categories that were important to me. I started putting my money into different buckets and then I created a whole system to transfer money from my checking account to this high-yield savings account every month.
It was a lot of work and a lot of planning and thinking about what was important to me. When I started looking at the projections of how much money I could save in 2022 for those various buckets. My savings plan is a two-year savings plan for each bucket and my long-term plan for my retirement. It started to get exciting. It completely reframed how I was looking at money. Going back to this main subject of an ick factor, the number that I was aiming for annually was so much relative to what my income has been for the past few years.
I don’t think it’s fully out of reach, but the things that I probably would have had to do to get to that number were not things that felt in alignment for me and I think that’s why I never got there. It involved a lot of hustling. I wrote up a bunch of examples of what gives me the ick factor and I’m going to share that in a moment. When I tuned in to all of these things that these people were encouraging me to do through their newsletters, social media and programs, I didn’t feel good about it. There was this ongoing feeling and pressure of like, “If you don’t do it our way, you’re not going to get the results that we got.”
That rubbed me the wrong way and gave me that icky feeling. In contrast to the plan that I made for myself for the next years, that feels good. That feels completely achievable. That feels in alignment with my values. That feels like it makes sense for my work abilities, preferences and choices. It felt better and it gave me the opposite of the ick factor and that’s so important. I’m about to get into all these examples, but I’ve already given you the main takeaway for this episode, which is to tune in to yourself and notice what makes you feel happy like I do. When I’m talking about my savings account, I light up.
I can talk about that on and on. I love it. Money and finances do give me a lot of those positive feelings. I’m a numbers person and I think that’s part of it. Numbers, in general, tend to make me feel good when they’re going in my favor, when they’re not going in my favor, I don’t feel that great. I like analytics. I like tracking. I like organizing. My mother used to work in the banking industry. We have that in common. I don’t know if that’s a genetic thing or what but there are elements of that bring me joy. The things that don’t make me bring me joy are the comparison type of numbers.Do what feels in alignment with your values. Click To Tweet
I wrote up a list. When I first started working on my program Beyond Measure, which if you don’t know about it yet, I have this online community that I’ve been developing. I started thinking about it in early 2020. It launched as a beta test in June 2020. The beta test has been this invite-only group of people that I meet through places like Instagram and this show. We come together every week to support each other. The big aim is to have a safe space for like-minded people who talk about things like finances.
We rotate through different elements of self-care and financial discussions so which could be anything from saving money to invest, to cryptocurrency and budgeting and all of that. We also have sessions about accountability and getting things done. We have creative sessions where everyone gets to work on a creative project. A few times a year, we get together, cook or prepare a meal together. If you’ve ever read to any episode where I’m talking about Beyond Measure, all you have to do is send me a message and you can come to check it out. You can join one of the calls. We have a whole online space.
One thing that I love about Beyond Measure is that it is not on social media and that comes into the whole ethos of Beyond Measure, which is not to compare yourself to people. It’s not to be on social media and feel distracted. It’s not about looking at people’s work. Everybody can curate their profiles to either say as much or as little about themselves as they would like. It’s a very feel-good space. I truly mean it. Send me a message. I’ve been working on having a more public place where you can learn more about it and then reach out to me if you’re interested but I haven’t gotten that there yet.
How We Tend To Measure Ourselves Against Others
It’s all very manual. In my notes for developing Beyond Measure, I made this list and it was about all the different ways that we tend to measure ourselves against others. A few off the top of my head are our age. This is something I’ve seen on TikTok a lot. It’s been older women, even saying the term older, what does that even mean? Why don’t we say older as if it represents a specific number? Older could be anything. There is always someone older than us and younger than us. Even I associate it with women older than me, which I guess makes sense.
I feel like the term older has a lot of negative connotations and that’s exactly what these women were talking about. They were around 50 and talking about how it was so uncomfortable for them to see younger women in their 20s and 30s working so hard to not “get old.” You can’t stop yourself from getting old, as long as you’re alive, but mostly around trying to control the way their body shows age. There is so much pressure around age and I find that sad. Beyond Measure, one of the elements is not focusing on your age.
Everybody is welcome there to be accepted as who they are and not judged for how old they are. Another thing is social media following size. This whole like, “I’m better than you or somebody else is better or worse than you.” Based on how many followers or friends they have. The focus on your body size, your weight, are you better or worse than somebody because of how much you weigh? Even how tall you are, which is so bizarre. Another thing that I’m so perplexed by is dating apps. When somebody says, “I would never date someone who is below whatever measurement.”
I get that but I’ve also dated men that are shorter than me. I’ve dated men that are my height. On a dating approximate, I might say I’d like them to be at least two inches taller than me. When I look back over the men that I’ve dated, my feelings towards them were not based on their height. They also weren’t based on their age or body weight. I can see why we might feel some of these preferences, but in the reality, most things in life are not about these measurements.
Maybe on paper, somebody looks more attractive because of their age, weight, height, social media following and how much money they make. Maybe all those things seem to make this person better in our minds, but we all know what it’s like to deeply love someone and not care at all about any of those factors. If we can go back to that feeling, it helps ground me, I’m curious if you feel the same way of feeling grounded in what matters in life. That’s the big message with Beyond Measure. Coming back to the ick factor, that is a good general list of measurements, age, weight, height, money and social media.
The top five things seem to be important. Those generally trigger me to feel icky. Let me go over to my actual list of ick factor things because I gave a lot of thought to this. I was digging in and taking note of what made me feel icky. Nothing that I say in this episode, moving forward in the past of what I’ve already said and in any episode, is meant to be judgmental. That is certainly not my intention. I never want someone to feel ashamed or there is something wrong with them. These are truly my personal preferences. I’m going to be mindful because I can get fired up when I feel icky.
When I don’t like something, I can probably come across as judgmental. I’m trying not to because judgment is an ick factor for me. When I feel shame, that makes me feel icky and I do not want you or any other readers to feel icky. Getting into something I’ve already alluded to, which is the superficial side or when something comes across as performative or clickbaity to me. One example is in the newsletter world.
I want to share a little behind the scenes for any of you who have not studied online marketing, which has been my world for many years. I have been on social media since 2008. I started coaching people on social media in either 2008 or 2010. I’ve been helping out with marketing for all different companies, small business owners. I still do this. I love it. I’m fascinated by marketing.
I’m curious about systems and money. Along with that, there are a lot of things in that marketing world that doesn’t feel good to me. One thing is when people are too formulaic. This clickbait thing that rose to popularity probably in 2015 or 2016, especially on platforms like YouTube, we were encouraged to write our YouTube titles to be fairly clickbaity.
A perfect example is a phrase, “I’ve never done this before” if you go back to many of my YouTube videos, you will see phrases like that because I was being trained sometimes because I was in many training programs over the years, but also trained by watching other people. That way of getting people’s attention still happens in 2022, maybe not as much, but you will see this a lot in newsletters. You may catch me doing this. I’m not saying that I don’t do this at all, but when I see other people do this, I get the ick factor.
What I’m trying to practice is if something makes me feel icky that somebody else is doing, I need to examine, “Am I doing that, too?” It’s also important to remember that just because I get the ick factor from something doesn’t mean that others will. You may see the phrase, “I’ve never done this before,” and think, “I’m curious about that. What does that mean?” When you realize that it’s clickbait, it may not bother you. When I see that it does not make me want to click, it makes me want to unsubscribe. I try to keep that in mind whenever I’m writing.
Another thing that had given me pause, let me step back and describe it a little. This has come out a lot through this show. On the early side of launching the show, Jason and I came across this article about the word wellness. We might’ve done an episode on this in the first year of the show about issues with the word wellness. I remember there being some racial issues. I remember the article talking about how so many White women in their 20s and 30s, people my age and race and gender, using the word wellness in a way that was benefiting them perhaps and perpetuating ideas around health and wellness that weren’t rooted in wellbeing.
I started using the phrase wellbeing very intentionally after reading that article. I now rarely use the word wellness because of that article’s point, which was that it started to dilute its value of it. One of the ways that I feel and the person writing that article felt was that there was so much of putting pressure on the individual to change and view themselves as not good enough. An example of that is the phrase, “How to get out of your way.” I no longer resonate with that phrase. I may change my mind in the future and that’s what’s important about this, too.
I perceive that as saying, “You’re in the way. You’re not good enough. You’re not doing it right.” That phrase, “You’re not doing it right.” Triggers me because who makes the rules about what’s right? Why do we perceive ourselves as being in our way? That’s an unhealthy and unwell way of perceiving yourself in the world. It is saying that you are fully in charge and control. What that phrase does not take into account are all the external factors. The more that I learn about racism, the more I am humbled by the fact that just because I am able to “get out of my way” doesn’t mean that another person is based on many factors, one of them may be that they’re not White.
With the privilege that I have as a White person, I need to be very mindful of how I phrase things. If I say, “You’re in your own way.” That is not taking into account my whiteness and their lack of whiteness. It’s hard for me to phrase these things because I’m still learning how to talk about this. I’m still feeling like a lot of ignorance and I am trying to articulate it the best that I can. I don’t think it is fair of somebody else to tell you that you’re in your own way.
Sometimes we need accountability. That’s incredibly helpful to have someone reflect back to us, something that’s important to us, a goal that we’re working towards, a habit we’re trying to build. Accountability has been shown and maybe in some ways proven through a lot of studies to be a very effective thing. However, accountability needs to take into consideration a lot of different factors about the individual. The ick factor I often feel is when advice is too general. If I remember correctly, this article about wellness was touching upon this, how a lot of young White women between the ages of 18 to 40 who are White, who have dominated wellness, and how they have talked about things like how to get out of your own way.
It feels like they have blinders on and myself, too. This is where I had to check myself. This is where I had to pause and think about how I was phrasing things. I certainly have said either that exact phrase or something very similar because I was buying into a lot of the capitalistic viewpoints on wellness and a lot of the privileged viewpoints on wellness. An example of how somebody else may feel discouraged by that is if you say, “You need to get out of your own way and work harder.” Maybe your version of working hard is very different than somebody’s version.Accept people for who they are, and don’t judge them for how old they are. Click To Tweet
My challenge with that is because my brain is, in many ways, neurodivergent. I have uncovered a lot of things about my brain that helped me understand why I struggled to get things done on the same timeline as others. I felt a lot of guilt and shame when I couldn’t meet deadlines or I would do things at the 11th hour or I would not be able to follow through on something. I would feel awful about that. Somebody could look at me and say, “You’re in your own way, Whitney.”
I used to look at myself through that lens, but the more I learned about my brain, which I’m continuing to learn about every single day and feel surprised, the more I thought, “It’s not for lack of trying or wanting. I don’t think I’m in my own way. I think that society sometimes places pressure on me to show up in ways that do not work for me.”
When other individuals promote that messaging, it contributes to that perpetuation. The more I learn about all different types of people, their circumstances, how their brains work, what is going on for them, the more compassion I have and the less I want to say that they need to get out of their own way. I hope that I’ve been able to articulate with some clarity.
Why The Word “Should” Is Hurtful
There is this one person in particular from who I counted 650 unread emails. It’s especially fascinating to me because I used to think this person was the be-all-end-all. I would get their emails years ago and be like, “I can’t wait to read their latest blog posts. What advice are they going to give me today?” In 2022, looking back on their emails, I got the ick factor because they would write things like, “The top ten things everyone should do before 8:00 AM.”
Jason and I did a whole episode with a guest about the word should, so I highly recommend it if you want to understand how it is oftentimes hurtful for us to use the word should. When I see the word should and even when I find myself accidentally saying the word should, I pause and try to rephrase it and then I pause and examine other people’s use of it. It does not resonate with me because I don’t believe anyone should do something. Who are we to tell someone what they should or shouldn’t do? Unless we are in a direct position of partnership with them or perhaps leadership over them.
If that person is asking us for guidance directly, perhaps then the word should would be helpful, but even so, I hesitate to use it. This idea of everyone should do these things before 8:00 AM. Even the time 8:00 AM, I have learned to stand strong, admit and feel proud or clear that I am not somebody who gets up before 8:00 AM. The exception is when I am traveling, I will do it. On my road trips, I got up around 6:30 AM. I did not enjoy it at the time but by 7:00, 7:30, I was in my groove and it made sense because I got to watch the sunrise. I got to enjoy the national park that I was in. That’s a very different story.
Most times of the year, I do not get up that early. I tend to get up at the earliest at 9:30. To read someone saying that I should do X amount of things before I’m comfortable getting up and I use the phrase “comfort” strongly and intentionally here because going back to something I said, I am clear that I do not thrive before 10:00 AM Pacific Time. I’ve tried. I’ve read these blog posts, newsletters, social media, and have I tried to be someone who consistently will wake up before 8:00 AM. I realized this does not make me feel comfortable in a way that I want to feel comfortable.
That may change. Maybe my body, brain or circumstances will change. I will one day be someone who comfortably happily gets up before 8:00 AM but I don’t want someone telling me that I should do certain things before 8:00 AM. It doesn’t feel good. Not going to read it. In another phrase, the same person wrote this, “This will make you unstoppable.” I call BS on that. First of all, unstoppable, what does that even mean? Why do we need to be unstoppable? If you break that down, it is complete hustle culture. What’s wrong with stopping?
Another great episode to go back to who I will continue to reference in many episodes, is the episode with Celeste Headlee and her book Do Nothing. That book shaped so much of my life. I’ve referenced her. She has got a new book about racism. I love her. In that episode, she talks about our addiction to productivity and efficiency. Another example from that same person is, “How to be 100 times more productive.” I am lucky if I am ten times more productive. Who needs to be that productive? Why do we need to live in a world where we feel like we have to be unstoppable?
For me, it does not resonate. Not interested in that anymore. Unsubscribe. Another example that types into hustle culture that does not make me feel good is as I was going through my newsletters since some of them were 2 to 4 years old and still hadn’t been read, I found a bunch from the beginning of COVID so March 2020, at least in the US. I also want to acknowledge that COVID-19 had its roots perhaps way before. It’s called COVID-19 because they discovered it in 2019 and to say that March 2020 was the beginning is not accurate but that’s the time that it started to have a massive shift across the world.
I have a bunch of emails from that time of people trying to pressure others to hustle during the lockdown. One example was, “How to market yourself when the world melts down?” That gives me the ick factor because why are we trying to sell to people when the world is melting down? That’s complete capitalism in the worst way that we’re trying to make money off of somebody who’s suffering. We’re trying to make money off of people’s misery, sadness and struggles.
Sometimes people want help. If you need to go buy a mask to go out to the grocery store, it makes sense that you want to market your masks to them properly, so they understand why your face mask is more beneficial or as beneficial than somebody else’s. The context of this particular email, if I remember correctly, was about how to sell your online program to someone. I do want to note to you in full transparency that I was running an online program at that point. It was in February 2020, my friend Alison and I were developing a podcasting and social media online course.
All of it coincided with the beginning of COVID in the US. I remember we used to get together in person to work on this course together. Lockdown happened and we weren’t able to see each other comfortably, at least. I remember us having this conversation, “Should we be promoting an online course?” We ultimately decided to move forward with it in the best way that we knew how at the time. Some people may finally feel like they have the space in their day to focus on podcasting and social media and those are the people that we wanted to support.
While I have some mixed feelings about that decision, it made sense to me at the time. I can see why those phrases were being used. There was another person who I used to love studying who said, “If you’re not taking advantage of the extra time you have during a lockdown, you’re missing out on an opportunity to improve your business or you’re not working hard enough or you don’t want it hard enough.” That rubbed me the wrong way because I felt like we weren’t being encouraged to rest.
I feel guilty about the fact that I enjoyed elements of the lockdown because I was so drained at the beginning of 2020. I did not understand why I felt so burned out. All I wanted was permission to rest. I felt like I finally got it. I wanted to lay around and play Animal Crossing on my Nintendo Switch and watch Tiger King on Netflix and whatever else was on at the time. It was awesome in a weird way. It felt like the world was melting down but I was so thrilled to rest and get permission from the external world to rest. I did not need permission or encouragement to hustle more.
I needed the exact opposite and many people did. I felt like it was our big awakening to how much many of us needed rest to take care of ourselves. It makes me feel icky that other people were trying to push people towards the opposite direction of what they might’ve needed. This is a side note that I found funny was I found an email with a subject line that said, “I have a feeling that 2020 is going to be your year.” It’s amusing because I’m sure that email was sent out in January 2020.
If you look back, just like any other year, as I’m doing right now in January 2022, you’re hoping that it’s going to be a great year but what is the phrase your year even mean? Why can’t every year be your year? It is your year. We have to remember that the year is not about us as individuals on many levels. The year belongs to everybody. This is why some of these phrasings like, “Your year,” that mentality can lead us to not being as compassionate as we could be. If we’re so self-focused, we may trample over others.
How can we put on the oxygen mask as they say before ourselves to take care of ourselves so that we can help others, not so we can ignore or take away from others but also recognize that we have no idea what’s coming down the pipeline. This phrase, “I have a feeling that 2020 is going to be your year.” Maybe for some people, it was. It’s not like everyone was struggling and miserable during 2020 on every level. Some people did have a great year. We have to acknowledge that not everybody did. We also have to acknowledge that every year and moment in our lives is important and valuable.
It’s not just about the beginning of the year. Let me share a few more and then maybe I can do a part two based on your reactions. When I read that article about wellness, it gave me a lot of pauses. As I started to learn more about racism and acknowledge my racism. Working on being a better ally, anti-racist and everything that I had learned since June 2020 when I dug into all of this. I started to feel uncomfortable seeing marketing that was driven by White people, especially when it’s young and again, to clarify, young being people in their 20s or early-30s or people that looked like they’re in their twenties.
I feel uncomfortable around not seeing diversity represented in imagery. I also feel uncomfortable when body size is not represented. Specifically seeing women in their 20s and 30s that are White with perfect hair and makeup, who fit the beauty standard in terms of their facial features, body size, who are smiling looking like they’re having the time of their life and wearing nice clothing, posing in a beautiful place, whether that’s a perfect looking home, fancy building or upscale area. Those things started to make me feel uncomfortable because I felt like they were not inclusive of people who did not fit that mold.Take advantage of the extra time you have during the lockdown to improve. Click To Tweet
Inclusivity In Marketing
Inclusivity started to matter for me the more I learned about racism and saw things that were not inclusive being pointed out through my research. I started to also notice how many people do not seem to be inclusive in their marketing. A lot of people did. There has been a huge shift relatively in marketing. Some of it may be performative that gives me an ick factor sometimes when I see it. It’s sometimes hard to tell but other times you can get this intuitive hit when something is being performative. It also strikes me on this level of my reactions. How I deep down want to be accepted.
I don’t want to be rejected because of the way I do my hair and makeup, the clothing that I wear, the way my home looks, the people I’m with, my body size, the environment that I’m in or all of these superficial things. When I see White women like myself, promoting their youthfulness, beauty, privilege, money or all of these things that I find to be superficial. That gives me the ick factor because I want to see women that don’t fit into that mold. I want to see people of all genders and non-gender represent it.
I feel so driven towards the fact that I am so much more excited to see anyone, but another White woman around my age. Unless she is not wearing any makeup, I love that. Unless she is not dying her hair to get rid of her gray hair, unless she is wearing whatever clothes that she’s wearing and not trying to look fancy. Unless she is in a messy home. Unless she has got a body over the size of 4, 6 or 8 or whatever the current beauty standard is. If she is outside of that mold, it doesn’t matter that she is White and a female-presenting. I’m excited to see anything out of that common beauty standard.
I find myself on social media feeling so icky. It’s so much more gender for me. Women or female-presenting that seem like they’re editing their photos or posing a certain way to look a certain way. I used to do all those things, too. It doesn’t feel good to me anymore because I feel like it promotes this message that you have to look a certain way to be accepted. It gets me worked up and it makes me feel so icky. I would so much rather see a friend who is not putting effort in to look a certain way.
I want to see the unedited photos. I want to see the facial expressions that are not a smile. Smiles are great, don’t get me wrong but not a forced smile. Let me see your face as it is as you’re talking or going through your day. The ick factor is on platforms like TikTok when somebody gets on camera and they say, “Excuse my look right now. I just got back from the gym.” It takes me away from them and their message. It forces or moves me into thinking about their appearance when that’s not why I’m watching their video.
Most of the time before they say that about themselves, I’m accepting them as the person that they are. I don’t care that their hair is a mess. I don’t care that they are not wearing makeup or however they perceive themselves to be in shambles. I’m accepting. When they do point out that they don’t look good, that makes me accept them less in a way because I feel icky. I feel pulled away from them because I want us all to be. If somebody feels deep down that who they are is connected to their appearance, this is why I preface this before I got into all these feelings.
If they love doing their hair for themselves, maybe they got the new Dyson Airwrap. I’m almost always wear my hair up in a little bun because I don’t like spending time on my hair. I find my hair to be such a waste of my time. I will only do my hair in certain circumstances where I feel like I want to put effort into my appearance. There is something about how the Dyson Airwrap has been marketed that makes me want it so bad. It cost $500. The marketing is brilliant. They have done an outstanding job because people like me, who normally could care less about my hair, our hair, still seem to want that thing but I can only speak for myself.
That’s what’s kept me from getting one. I’m like, “$500 is a lot of money that I could save for retirement.” My retirement is more important to me than buying this hair product but I still feel like one of these days I’m going to get one. Maybe it’ll make me like doing my hair more. I digress because my point is if you love doing your hair, great. I would love to see your hair. If you love doing your makeup, I don’t even know what would make somebody deep down love doing their makeup, maybe because it makes them feel creative.
The accounts on TikTok where people do amazing face painting, that stuff is so cool. Maybe they love the product but I guess I hesitate even to understand how someone could love doing their makeup because I’ve read so much about beauty standards, capitalism and the patriarchy of all of this pressure for women to present themselves as a certain standard of beauty. I’m not even sure if someone who loves doing their makeup loves it for a reason outside of needing external validation.
A great example would be of someone who I might believe on this is Sunny from Vegan Beauty Review. Sunny, if you’re reading, I truly mean this as no offense, but in the episode, we talked about age and we might have addressed pressures to do makeup. When I see Sunny, I perceive her as someone who likes to do all of those things, but deep down, I will admit, I questioned why it is. I wonder about the roots of it. Let me put Sunny aside. Is it that somebody learned to love makeup because they felt like they were more valued when they were wearing it? Sunny, I invite you back on the show to talk about this or I would love to talk about this with someone else.
There is a number of women who have written phenomenal books or have great accounts about beauty myths and beauty standards and the history of it. I would love to have someone like that on the show because they could speak to this much more than I can. It’s my current belief system of why can’t we just love women, regardless of how they paint their faces and do their hair? Why can’t we like men regardless of how much hair they have and whatever else that they struggle with that women don’t? I have a lot of deep feelings about that.
The ick factor comes up because I feel sad that women in particular, given my close experience with that, there is so much pressure to buy the right products so that you can feel like you look right. To spend all this time learning techniques of doing your makeup and hair and all this money to get your hair done. I get my hair cut twice a year, but usually every nine months because it doesn’t matter to me. I wait until I get bad split ends and then I go spend $100. I cannot imagine spending $100 a month on my hair. Again, nothing wrong with it.
Nothing wrong means I don’t want to judge the individual, but the wrongness, if there is any, is the capitalism, system, patriarchy and all of the reasons that people feel pressured to do things like that. That’s an important distinction. It’s not meant to shame any of the individuals. It’s meant to question the societal pressure. There are so many more things that I would like to do with my $100 than get my haircut once a month because deep down, if somebody’s going to judge me based on my hair, they’re not my target audience. They’re not going to be a close friend.
Maybe my close friends do judge me. They just don’t tell me. I guess a judgment can still happen, but not affect you. I’ve gotten a lot of tangents. I’ve said a lot of things I wanted to say. There were a few things that I hadn’t gotten to. One of them was I referenced the book, It’s OK That You’re Not OK. That could be a whole other episode because that book is so good. That book is very similar to how I feel about Celeste Headlee’s books. Megan Devine is the author’s name. That book is about grief and loss.
The title of the book, It’s OK That You’re Not OK: Meeting Grief and Loss in a Culture That Doesn’t Understand. The book touches upon a lot of cultural beliefs, systems and storylines. I took a ton of notes to integrate into this episode. I will make this a part two. If I hear from at least one reader, maybe I’ll do it anyway, but I’m encouraging you. It means the world to me when I hear from you because I want to know what you agree and disagree on. I want to know what I haven’t said that you feel icky about. I want to know, did this episode make you feel icky? It might have. That’s the thing.
As much as I don’t want everyone or anyone to feel icky, sometimes ickiness is important. This is something I think that Megan touches upon in that book. She talks about how we’re a culture that loves to solve problems. One of the things that manifest for me is I feel like ickiness is a problem that I want to solve. Sometimes it’s very important for us to feel these things to get through them, it doesn’t mean that it’s a problem. It’s a feeling and it’s in the present moment. It’s okay if someone reads to this episode and doesn’t feel good about the things that I say. No matter how hard I try, I will say things that make somebody else feel bad.
I wish that wasn’t true. I have so much empathy that I wish I could make everyone feel good all the time but I’ve learned to accept that I can’t. That’s circling back to all the things I’ve shared. I don’t think anyone did any of the things that I shared rodent them, posted about them, marketed themselves in these ways intentionally, to make someone like me feel icky. I don’t think it was in disregard of my ickiness. I don’t think there are people that don’t care. Maybe they would change if they heard my feelings. I don’t know. I also recognize that it’s not my responsibility to make them change.
Tell Us What You Want To Hear More Of
I can have these feelings and decide it’s not for me. That’s why I want to hear from you is because I want to hear, what’s not for you. What is for you? Not in the context of the show, although I have been working behind the scenes on making a survey. I want to get a better sense of you, the readers. In an ideal world, I would know every single reader that reads to the show because I’m curious about who you are. I want to know what you want to hear more of and less of and also remember that your preferences may be different from mine.
You can email me in between now or in addition to taking the survey. I want to incentivize you, so that’s part of why I’ve been holding off. I always like taking surveys when either there is a giveaway or I get a gift card or something. Sneak peek, there is a financial incentive that I’ve been working on for all the readers who will take the time to give me some feedback and to share more about themselves. I’m going to incentivize you. If you send me an email in response to this and you are kind and consider it with your words and intentional about what you’re saying and keeping in mind that we are here to have a dialogue, not to get into a fight.
I’m not a big fan of debate, but I do like hearing different perspectives. If you’d like to share that with me, I would love to hear from you and I have a financial-related incentive for you. I am on this platform called Rally, which is a cryptocurrency-related platform. It is, in my opinion, part of the future. I could geek out about this and I plan to bring on a guest that can help share more about this. Rally is a cryptocurrency version of Patreon, which you may be familiar with but much better, in my opinion.You don’t have to look a certain way to be accepted. Click To Tweet
On Rally, you can acquire cryptocurrency coins that support people like me and they could be content creators, public figures, all different people online. You’re going to hear more of this because this is a huge part of the creator economy. I’m on this platform. I have a coin called the Well Coin. When you acquire it, it not only supports me, but it builds an economy within itself because the more people that own this coin, they get rewarded financially. It’s so cool.
The last I checked, $0.20 to get a coin, every single week there is an opportunity to get these financial rewards for it. It probably sounds a lot more complicated. That’s why I haven’t talked about it that much because I’m trying to simplify the way I share. The reason I bring it up is that it is the easiest and most exciting way for me to incentivize you. If you send me an email, I will offer you some of this Well Coin on Rally for free. It’s super simple to sign up for Rally. You just create an account and once you do, I’ll send you the coin.
You’ll have free cryptocurrency that you can either hold on to, to hopefully increase in value or sell and put into your bank account. If you haven’t done any cryptocurrency experimenting, this could be a great intro to it. If it sounds shady to you, I can point you in the direction of many great articles. If you go to Rally.io, they have a ton of great resources to help you learn and they are an amazing company. That’s the long story of what I would like to do. If you’re not interested, it doesn’t matter. You can email me anyways, you don’t have to take the coin.
If you would like a financial incentive outside of Rally, I’ll see what I can do, especially for the survey. Maybe I don’t even have to incentivize you. I like to put it out there because I know I like to get incentives and I got some free Rally coins from people when I first joined the platform and they grew in so much value. One person on that platform gave me a free coin. It was worth $9 or something. Last I checked, it was $15 or $25. I got it completely for free and I held on to it. That’s the cool thing about cryptocurrencies. I hope that would happen to you if I give you some of my coins.
That’s it. Thank you for reading. This episode has simultaneously felt disjointed, but I made some points that I felt excited to share. I hope you found some value in it. I would like to do another episode and talk about all the great points that Megan made in her book. I may even go the extra mile and invite her to the show. Not sure if she would say yes, but she is awesome. If it’s Celeste Headlee said yes. I could probably get Megan on. I always self-doubt myself with getting certain guests on because I think they’re so amazing. I’m like, “Why would they come on the show?” I am so proud of the show. It has grown exponentially. I’m so grateful.
If you’re one of those new readers, thank you for being here. If you’re been along the whole journey, thank you for being here. If you’re somewhere in between, thank you for being here. I’m deeply grateful to you. I hope to hear from you. You can find all the different ways to contact me. Everything is available easily to you at Wellevatr.com. Thank you so much for reading. I’ll be back with another episode with a guest. Who do we have coming up here?
This episode is with Corey, who talks about autism and ADHD. That is a good episode that ties into some of the things I talked about. Be sure to tune in for that. I have a bunch of guests lined up for you. There are so many amazing guests. Until then, wishing you all the very best with your life and navigating your ick factor.
- Humans Navigating Life – Previous episode
- @Wellevatr – Twitter
- @WhitLauritsen – Twitter
- The State Of Wellness – Previous episode
- A Life Without “Should” – Previous episode
- Celeste Headlee – Previous episode
- Do Nothing
- Vegan Beauty Review
- Cruelty-Free Lifestyle, Conscious Beauty And Ageism With Sunny Subramanian – Previous episode
- It’s OK That You’re Not OK
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