Once, years ago, I was shopping in Walmart. Considering I was a busy single mom and entrepreneur at the time, I’m sure I only ever saw the inside of a Walmart during their busiest hours. So, of course, it was elbow to elbow and everyone in their rudest shoppers daze. Babies crying. Kids running all over. My own were talking my ears off, though I was too deafened by the cacophony to even hear them. People’s cart bumped into mine as if I were invisible. I’d been on my feet a solid 12+ hours by this point and awake since 4:30 a.m. This is the moment in which I found myself staring off into space, completely shut down by the shampoo options.
OVER LOAD!!! OVER LOAD!!!
To this day, I avoid Walmart at all cost. Sure, many reasons are political but there’s always that moment in the shampoo isle. Choices are good and in certain areas we need more of them. But there can certainly be too much of a good thing. Like how too much cake will send even the healthiest of us into a woozy, drunken, nauseous daze. (While it could be argued that cake is never ‘good,’ I must insist that on my birthday, it’s the healthiest thing on Earth.)
Our 21st Century, post Information Age, has phenomenal things to offer. I, for one, am so loving the Digital Nomad Age! As is my husband and more than 5 million other Americans. I have to say though, one of the big drawbacks is well, everything everywhere. There are no longer quick, simple choices.
What vehicle to buy? Do you need it primarily around town or for long distances? How many kids, dogs, etc. will you be toting? Live in the mountains or snowy areas and need 4 wheel drive? Gas mileage limitations? Price limitations? Does color matter? Do you have a style preference? (I will argue til the day I die that crossovers are experiencing full blown identity crisis…is it a car…is it an SUV…no one knows!… and no recovered trauma survivor would be caught dead in one. Seriously. Their confusion is contagious.)
What toilet paper? It’s no longer Charmin vs the bear vs the store brand. Now there are all these buzz words, like Strong, Soft and Mega that leave you wondering what will happen if you purchase anything but the Strong.
What flavor of ice cream? Butter Pecan. Mint Chocolate Chip. Cookie Dough. Cookies and Cream. Oh, but wait…milk or coconut milk or almond milk or rice milk or cashew milk? Cappuccino. Green Tea. Tiger tail (huh?). Oh, my gosh…ice cream or sherbet or gelato or sorbet. Good grief, this is worse than the damn shampoo!
THERE IS STILL
What friggin shampoo!
So, you’ve worked all day or all week and here you are doing your shopping fully red-lined and all. Meanwhile, the week’s also consisted of moments sprinkled here and there to consider: “What pre-school should little Madison go to?” or “What colleges should Jackson apply to?” or “Should we open an IRA this year?” or “Where should we go on vacation?”
Stop. Stop. Stop. Let’s back up a bit.
First, with a lifestyle like this, you’re not finishing a single thought. You may be scratching a lot of surfaces but there’s a grotesque lack of depth. All that’s really accomplishing is to gain you early onset gray hair and wrinkles and high blood pressure and divorce. And possibly kids who won’t talk to you. There’s everything here that needs to change but that’s for another day.
The point I’m actually trying to make is that modern life tends to be crazy stupid busy and overwhelming, the likes of which our predecessors couldn’t possibly fathom. And I didn’t even get to the ads. Neon. Billboards. Commercials. Gas pump TV. Bar TV. Restaurant TV. Store front TV. IGTV. AAAAAAAhhhhh turn off the TVs! But oh no, I can’t walk into a coffee shop without seeing people watching TV on their phones! What about that is enjoyable?
The best example of all, is that our modern, post-Information Age demands we possess intellectual nimbleness never before needed amongst our species. As a digital nomad, for instance, I have to be a brander, marketer, copywriter, IT person, graphic artist, social media marketer, and hmmm…I feel like I’m missing some hats… Meanwhile. I am a life coach. That’s my training. That’s my skill set. That’s my experience. But there would be no life coaching for me without all those other things too. But there’s more.
Can you even keep up with all the ways to pay? Cash is becoming obsolete. I’ve actually complained for years that there are still places who only accept cash. Square is so easy and inexpensive, there’s no longer an excuse for the fruit stand on the side of the road to not take cards. Then there’s Apple Pay. Google Pay. Zelle. Venmo. PayPal. Kabbage.
Oooh, my new favorite – food delivery! I grew up in the country where we counted our blessings to have pizza delivery. Now we can get nearly anything brought right to the door! There’s Door Dash. Uber Eats. Grub Hub. Plus, local private delivery companies.
A problem unique to digital nomads that the rest of you rightfully hate us for, is where to live. My youngest left home a couple years ago and my husband and I have already built successful digital nomad businesses. School zones no longer being a factor, where do we want to live? Should be go exotic and move to Cuenca for a year? Or Washington state? Or British Columbia? Or back home to the Outer Banks to soak up our aging family? Or stay where we are because we’re so in love with Bozeman? As it’s my childhood dream to travel and experience the world, this one shuts me down like the shampoo.
Are you feeling the tension? We have to be superhuman. Homo sapiens sapiens 2.0. But how do we do that when all these choices, options, areas of expertise are bombarding up continually?
The answer is simple: we must each posses a solid, resilient self-esteem. (Hey, I said it was simple, not easy.)
Your self-esteem is your internal compass. When you know yourself inside and out, better than anyone could, you will know your strengths, challenges, tastes, preferences, skills, values, goals, etc. Bear with the ridiculousness of the example, but If I knew myself that well that night in Walmart, I would have known that I want hydrated, not dry, frizzy hair that isn’t perfumy. That would have narrowed my options to very few (because they’re all so smelly). Much easier, right?
I can tell you my dream car, is an old model Land Cruiser with a new hybrid engine because off road capabilities, reliability, gas mileage and environmental friendliness are important to me.
I can tell you cookies and cream and praline are my favorite ice creams. There’s no need to mention the toilet paper.
Silliness aside, it’s a solid self-esteem that allows you to set goals and dreams that are actually in your best interest. It’s a solid self-esteem that allows you to keep pace in a crazy stupid busy world. It’s a solid self-esteem that allows you to raise happy, resilient kids that will speak to you. That helps you recover from the inevitable blows of life.
You are likely reading this because you’ve experienced trauma. Perhaps throughout childhood. Perhaps more recently, as well. Your self-esteem, if you can find it, is likely strained. You’ve done some work and you’re feeling the benefits. If you’re like most of us, though, there’s room for improvement. If anyone responded with a dismissive, “I have great self-esteem,” I’m gonna challenge that you likely have the weakest. Claiming a healthy self-esteem is great! That’s the goal, right? However, feeling that yours needs no further attention screams low self-esteem. Self-esteem growth, like most self-care topics, is ongoing. Later this month, we’ll dive into how to develop your self-esteem using both internal and external resources.
In the meantime, here’s some food for thought. In The Six Pillar of Self-Esteem, Nathaniel Branden says, “We have reached a moment in history when self-esteem, which has always been a supremely important psychological need, has also become a supremely important economic need.” How has your self-esteem impacted your personal economics and how might it in the future?
As you chew on that…head on over to pick up your free workbook of 10 Unknown Trauma Responses & How They Are Impacting Your Life and find out how you can take care and honor YOU.