Protecting Your Digital Space

Photo by Monstera

After going back and forth with someone on TikTok who tried to come for me and didn’t know what she was talking about, I eventually concluded she was a troll and shall be blocked.

And then I thought, why don’t we do this more often? Why do we sit in fruitless debates with people who have proven themselves unworthy of our time?

And then I thought, why aren’t we more protective of our space in the digital world? Would you let someone come into your house, sit down and disrespect you to your face? So why do we allow people to come on our pages and blogs, sit in the comment section, and talk to us crazy?

I don’t know where we got this idea that we have to accept all the energy that comes our way on these social media sites, but that block button is there for a reason. That unfriend/delete button is there for a reason, and it is not only okay but necessary to make good use of them.

Protecting our digital space means establishing boundaries around our online presence. You don’t have to tolerate trolls and people who just want some attention.

“My platforms are my digital real estate, and I try to take the trash out on my properties. I block, report as spam, and mute as I deem necessary.”

Luvvie Ajayi Jones

These social media platforms might not be 100% in our control, but those things we can control, we should. We can turn off notifications if they become too much. We can block people for disrespecting us. We can even ask for certain content to be censored. We have the power to moderate what we want to occupy our energy fields.

Healthy debates are welcomed, where both parties are mature enough to listen to different perspectives to bring clarity. But online things go left quickly because people hide behind keyboards. Much of what people say here, they wouldn’t say, looking you in the eye. For that, we have to be even more diligent about establishing boundaries.

No, people cannot talk to you any way they want, and you do not have to keep them around so they can suck up all your energy.

As we go into the new month, remember that trees shed their leaves for a reason. Everything in nature is getting rid of the old to embrace the new. We should too.

Bless those who shall be blessed and block those who shall be blocked.

No Whining Wednesday: Be Consistent with Your Boundaries

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Welcome back to another episode of No Whining Wednesday! Today, you cannot whine, criticize, or complain.

If you are new to this blog or new to this segment please visit the NWW page here for past episodes.

If you have not noticed, I come up with these NWW’s based on something that struck me earlier in the week. This week I was struck by the following quote by a poet I follow on Instagram:

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This made me stop and think because it is me or has been me before.

Everyday I am learning to be okay with telling people no.

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This series is called No Whining Wednesday, where we try not to whine, criticize, or complain, but we cannot always control what happens around us. Setting solid boundaries and being consistent with those limits is a great way to protect our peace.

“A boundary is a personal property line that marks those things for which we are responsible. In other words, boundaries define who we are and who we are not.”

-Henry Cloud

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By now, everyone who has known me for a significant amount of time knows I don’t celebrate holidays. People are not allowed to wish me a Merry Christmas or Happy Thanksgiving. Telling people, “Oh, no. I don’t celebrate,” when they wish me a happy holiday may seem to be mean at first, but this is how I teach people who I am and how I expect to be treated. It all starts with me. If I waver on what I say I believe or let things slide I once set limits to, it confuses people and opens the door for them to disrespect me in the same way I have disrespected myself.

There are some things I am not highly iffy about. My name is Yecheilyah, but I am not upset with family members who still call me by my birth name. I also have no problem with people wishing me a happy birthday.* But then there are things I am particular about. More importantly, I need to follow my own rules before expecting other people to follow them.

*Many people who believe as I do, don’t celebrate birthdays. I am not one of those people. I acknowledge birthdays, but that’s a conversation for a different day.

It helps us not to complain if we are firm and consistent with our intentions. No matter what happens around me, I will not be negative today, and I won’t allow other people to change my mind. I won’t get upset with the traffic, I won’t curse the Starbucks lady for getting my order wrong, and I won’t huff and puff when the line at the grocery store is too long.

Remember, the challenge is not figuring which boundaries are appropriate to set. The challenge is setting those boundaries consistently. When you set inconsistent boundaries, you make things complicated, and it confuses people.

To be consistent, you have to first be firm. What you have decided not to allow in your space is not a suggestion. It is not an option. For the sake of this conversation, it is law.

What I am not saying:

I am not saying that you are responsible for other people’s reactions or perceptions about your boundaries. Your boundaries can also change as you live and grow. What you believed before might not be the same as what you believe today. People are allowed to change. We are allowed to grow.

I am saying that people will walk all over you if you set boundaries you are too afraid to enforce.

Don’t Overpay to Play

I posted this message to my IG this morning and I thought I would post it here as well. I have added more bullet points after realizing how much this also applies to Indie Authors and our writing careers as well as real life advice.

  • Don’t go broke to sit at someone else’s table. Make sure that what you put your money into is worth the investment and not something you are doing to be seen. If you’ve ever observed me in person, you’ll notice I am quiet and laid back. I am not there to see what I can get. I am there to listen, to learn, and to connect so that when I go home, I can implement and apply. The other obvious meaning is, make sure your immediate needs are met before you play. Are your bills paid? Is your family fed? What can you realistically afford? I know social media has made entrepreneurship look glamorous but in real life people have day jobs and responsibilities. People are not winning everyday. Don’t be out here trying to prove a point. Take care of the most important things first.

 

  • “Don’t overpay to play,” also means to me not to overcompensate in the efforts to prove to people who you are. Sometimes I do this. I have a good heart. This is what I know about myself to be true and there’s nothing worse than people not seeing that. What I’ve realized, though, is that I can’t control how other people see me and I can’t “overpay to play” with them. People will see different versions of you depending on who they are, how they feel about themselves, and their philosophy in life. If you try too hard to prove you are a good person it will only come across as fake. Just be who you are, do what you do, and let the chips fall where they may. I also think it’s just as important to realize that we all have traits about us that are not positive. This is important. A person who understands both his strengths and weaknesses is a strong person. A person who can identify his weaknesses without pointing out the weaknesses of others is a stronger person. Realize that you are not 100% together and that people don’t have to like you.

 

  • New Indie Authors, don’t overpay someone to publish your book just because you’re desperate to see it in print. Overpaying could mean a different price depending on each individual’s budget but anything over the $5,000 point is steep. Don’t overpay to play author. While I am not a Traditional Publisher, the traditional publishing route is still a good option if you want the traditional publicity. While many Self-Publishers have gone on to have movies made from their books and have made millions from their books, there are many aspiring authors who are looking to be published traditionally but are not patient enough to go through the process. As a result, they overpay small Indie Publishers to do for them what they could have probably done for themselves. For example, don’t fall for someone promising to make you an Amazon Best Seller. To non-writers, family, and friends it may seem like a big deal and while commendable (I would never downplay anyone’s hard work), it’s not exactly the same as being a New York Times Bestseller. Amazon’s rankings are controlled by algorithms. In other words, computers. Any spike in sells (even if it’s just 5 books sold) can shoot a book ranking up. Sometimes all it takes to be an Amazon Best Seller is to sell 10 copies of your book on the same day. It’s not the same as outselling all the other books in your genre. I’m sorry but it’s the truth and this deception is not only bringing down the value of being a true Best Seller, but is starting to become a red flag to those who actually know how the system works.  I applaud anyone who has become a #1 Amazon Best Seller but I caution you not to pay for it. You can become an Amazon Best Seller on your own. It’s not worth $5,000.

 

  • This advice reminds me of the importance of boundaries, limits to where I’ll go. There must be a line that reminds you of your integrity, where you are not willing to go, no matter the circumstances or the price tag because your moral compass will not allow you to. “Don’t overpay to play,” also means to me, “remember your worth.” If you don’t have this mental limit in your mind you will sell out in whatever way it means to sell out. Boundaries go far beyond personal limitations but extend to our livelihoods as well.

Establishing Boundaries

Photo by Christian Gertenbach on Unsplash

I’ve learned to establish boundaries. To understand that if I don’t feel good about something, it’s OK to say no, turn it down or cancel a commitment and not feel guilty about it. Establishing boundaries is a form of self-respect. You are honoring your integrity and taking responsibility for who you are. And when you allow people to treat you in ways that disrespect your boundaries, you are not being true to yourself.

Although having boundaries is not a bad thing, it may feel like rejection to other people. You will still lose those who feel you are no longer for them and that’s OK. We cannot continue on with relationships that no longer serve a purpose. But because we may lose people, it is our responsibility to be clear on what our boundaries are, to tell people when they have crossed it or when we can’t cross it ourselves, and to have patience with those who forget and need to be reminded. Although you will lose people, if you are clear and consistent the people who are meant to stick around will and they will understand that there are lines that you simply cannot cross and places you simply cannot go and that it really has nothing to do with them. They will understand that you are capable of loving them and staying true to yourself at the same time.