The HSP World Podcast Ep. 19: HSPs On Dealing With Social Media
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Thomas: Hi and welcome to The HSP World Podcast. With each episode we invite a guest with the HSP Trait to have a conversation about a burning HSP-related question they have. We’re not coaches or therapists. We’re HSPs holding space with you. I’m one of your hosts, Thomas, and your other hosts are;
Rayne: and Rayne.
Robyn: So welcome back everybody, another day, another podcast, I don’t think that’s the saying but for us it is. So with us today, we have Amber.
Robyn: Hi Amber. Thanks for joining us.
Amber: Thanks for having me.
Robyn: We’re happy to have you. To get us started could you tell us a little bit about your HSP story, how you found out about the Trait?
Amber: Sure. I think, um, I kind of have a lot in common with other people who’ve kind of had this journey. You know, I grew up kind of being told that I was a little too sensitive or, you know, I over-thought things or, you know, things of that nature.
And so I think you kind of come up having a sense that something is wrong with you, or like trying to, you know, toughen up or not be that way. And, I was actually in my early twenties and I remember it was around the same time that I started looking into introversion, because people had told me I was an introvert my whole life, which I absolutely didn’t believe because, you know, I’ve, I’ve done acting and I’m comfortable with public speaking.
And so I always conflated introversion and shyness. But around that time I started reading books and one of the books that somebody had recommended to me was The Highly Sensitive Person.
And at first it didn’t click right away, cause a lot of what Dr. Aron talks about in that book is like, you know, sensitivity to physical things like touch or heat or things like that.
And I was like, Oh, I, I don’t know if that fits me. And then as the book went on, it started to click and I was like, Oh my gosh, this is me. So as I’ve gotten older, I’ve kind of started to, it’s taken, it’s been a long journey to kind of accept myself, realize that the sensitivity isn’t a broken thing, you know, it’s just a Trait like any other.
And so as time goes on, I think I accept it more, but yeah, that’s my HSP journey.
Robyn: Cool. Yeah. Thanks for sharing. So I believe you have a question for us today.
Amber: Yeah, you know, as HSPs, I know social media is kind of ubiquitous for everybody. But especially in the pandemic right now, it’s become an even bigger part of our lives. But I know sometimes it can be a bit overwhelming. So I wanted to see what you all, as HSPs, kind of thought about social media? You know, how is it for you? And, if it does get to be too much or you do have any difficult experiences with it, how do you mitigate that?
Robyn: Great question.
Thomas: It’s a lovely question. I really can’t wait to dig into this one.
Rayne: What’s, who wants to go first? Robyn, do you want to, do you want to say something?
Robyn: I think, um, I don’t know. I, I think I have an evolving, uh, relationship with social media. I’ve, you know, I, I got Facebook back in 2005 when it was still kind of a relatively new thing. And I think the audience was a lot smaller then, so I kind of had fun, you know, posting my every passing thought and all sorts of pictures and, you know, any question that it would come up.
And my use of it has really changed since then. I noticed I kind of followed the example of people who don’t post regularly, unless they have really something that they really mean to share. Or, often I’ll ask a question if I think it’s, uh, you know, just something practical that I really want to find out.
Maybe other people want to know too. And I try not to open any other social media. So I don’t actually have an Instagram page, or account. At some point that might become a liability and I may be forced to, or feel like it, it it’s worth it. You know, it’s a good trade off to actually see what’s going on in that sphere.
But, I figure if I haven’t started now, why would I? And I, I really don’t see myself getting on Twitter or anything like that. So I have a fairly light social media usage. And I guess I’d try to be kind of utilitarian with it as well. So, I know there are certain groups that are really good for finding information or finding out about events.
So I’d like to prioritize using it for that. And then I really manage my filters as well. Also, if I know there are certain notifications I don’t want to get, I will try to program it so that I don’t get that. I do not have the app, for example. I know that makes a difference. You don’t get interrupted all the time.
So I don’t know, just, I think it’s the kind of thing that, it’s just another set of habits. Right? It’s another thing to manage. And you’ve got to ask yourself like, okay, why, why am I using it? Is it worth the trade off? Do I feel myself becoming addicted? There have been moments where I felt like, wow, I’m really, you know, having a hard time, not looking at my phone every five minutes or even every two minutes.
And those are times where I’ve said, okay, you know, maybe I should do a little detox. Maybe I should take a week or two or a month off of social media and that’s helped as well. So I don’t know. I think it’s just a, it’s a new, it’s a new regimen that we have to look at, which is true of everybody, but of course, HSPs the volumes always turned up.
Rayne: Mmmm. How about you, Thomas?
Thomas: Well, wow, where do I start? So, so there’s, I’m gonna, I’m just going to talk about all the things that are there’s, there’s like so many different things that are coming up for me right now about it. You know, there’s the introverted part of me, there’s the sensitive part of me, there’s the creative part of me. And they all respond to, to it differently.
The introverted part of me likes social media because there’s sort of a, it, it feels sometimes that it feels safe, right? Because it’s a little bit detached, right? It’s not, it’s not like being on the phone with someone. It’s like you’re leaving messages and getting messages, so that I like.
The sensitive part of me, you know, I am beyond grateful to have found the HSP group on Facebook and have made great friends who are also, uh, sensitive. So, you know, if it wasn’t for that, I would have never met Rayne and I would have never met Robyn.
Then there’s also a part of me that, that has, you know, within, I guess the last year or so, like totally pulled back from Facebook, and I think that partly has to do with the fact that it became so political during our political season here in the U. S. So I think that’s part of it.
But I don’t find myself wanting to go back and, you know, check it. I’ll be honest, when I go on Facebook nowadays, all I do is look at the notifications and seeing if anybody’s responded to something that I might’ve posted.
It sounds a little bit selfish, but that’s just the way I’m using it these days.
And then as far as Instagram goes, I’ve become also fairly strict about how I use Instagram. So with Instagram, I look at it as a curation tool. So I curate other artists primarily. So if you look at my feed, it’s almost all artists who are visual artists, they’re doing collage, they’re doing paper arts, painting, whatever.
And so I, I see it as a way to curate inspiration. So I look, I go to my Instagram specifically to get inspired in, in the creative realm. And there too, I am very grateful because I’ve met many interesting artists and made many friends there that are sort of outside my traditional friend sphere. So I’m grateful for that.
The one thing that I want to say is, is that, that I have felt in myself sort of a danger of posting for likes, you know, and this can happen very much so on Instagram, especially. Where you post something and then everybody, you know, hits the like button and you get that little rush. That’s great feeling. Wow people are liking what I’m posting.
And so I had to remind myself that that is not entirely real. Because when I think to like how I use Instagram. I’ll be scrolling and hitting like, scroll and hit like, and I’m literally like maybe looking at each image for a second and a half.
I mean, I did like it. I’m honest in that way, I suppose, but really looking at something for a second and a half, you know, that’s what other people are doing when they’re looking at my stuff as well. So I’m just, you know, sort of acknowledging that, that those likes are really low cost likes. Let’s put it that way.
So I’ve found that I’ve had to dramatically pull back from social media. Partly just for my sense of well-being. And in Facebook, I was just, just feeling, especially last year, feeling angry. That’s not good. Um, yeah. And well, I mean, you know, anger in itself, there’s, it’s okay. But you know, feeling it over and over is not good.
And then also just the, in terms of the amount of time that you can start consuming, you know, just scrolling and scrolling and scrolling. And after a while it’s like, it’s just all the same thing over and over again.
Rayne: Yeah. Um, yeah, I, I kind of feel the same way as you Thomas. I mean I wouldn’t have met you or Robyn if it hadn’t been for social media. So I’m, I’m really thankful for that. I think it’s a great place to meet and to join or build community.
But I think it’s also, I think it’s one of those things where it has to be one of those things you monitor for yourself, you know like Thomas said.
I mean, how, you know, jeez, there’s been how many people that were, you know, real live people cause they’re using fake people now to grow accounts and things like that so, where real people, you know, where that, it’s been, been their job basically, but it was such a fake thing. And they just got more and more depressed as time went on and just ended up, ended up stopping doing it kind of a thing. Right?
So I think it’s one of those things where, like everything, it’s, it’s balance, you know, when you can feel like, am I using this as an escape, or, um, am I using this… like I’m like Thomas. I mean, I love, I love looking at things people create. I’m visual too. So that’s, I like doing that on Instagram too.
Because it’s really cool to see the different things and, and it’s inspiring, you know, like sometimes it gives me ideas, creative ideas on things to mesh together, two different creative ideas and maybe meshing them together, you know, things like that. Right?
So it can be really inspiring and, uh, a source for great connection. But I think it’s, like anything, quality over quantity, I guess, you know? It’s kinda how it’s kinda how it feels to me. And I don’t know, uh, I don’t, I mean, I’ve never talked about it, but I’ve experienced what they call a, what do they call that actually?
But it’s where a bunch of trolls gang up on you online, basically. Right? And I think women experience this more than men, right? So you, so you tend to get really good at blocking. So that’s one thing that, not to take it personal, and just that’s what the blocks for, you know?
But how about you, Amber? How do you deal with it?
Amber: So it’s, it’s really interesting to kind of hear what you guys have said and kind of how you all use social media.
For me my primary social media accounts are Facebook and Twitter, and I actually use them and treat them a little bit differently.
So Facebook for me, most of my friends on Facebook are people that I’ve met in real life. I think there’s maybe a handful of people, including a couple of people that like I’ve met in HSP groups and stuff like that, that I haven’t met, but, you know, I, I felt like I clicked with, and, you know, I’d like to get to know them better. So.
But the majority of people are people that I know in some capacity in real life. So a lot of the stuff that I post on my personal Facebook is a way of keeping up with family and friends and stuff. And of course, using the groups feature to meet people like other HSPs or people that have hobbies I’m interested in and stuff like that.
But it’s more, I feel like my personal Facebook is kind of closer to me and my personal life, as to where my Twitter, because it’s public facing, it is a personal account, but it’s also for my freelancing work. And so I think the challenge with Twitter, like I, I hear a lot of people say they get inundated by Facebook, but for me, I kind of can find Twitter a bit overwhelming.
Cause you know, there’s just so much content there and it’s just a constant stream. And so it sometimes feels like you’re getting a bit swept away and everything and, and, you know, it can be, it can be a bit hard sometimes and because it’s a public facing account, I also am always conscious of… You know, cause with Facebook, it’s people that know me, so they know my sense of humor and I’m a bit goofy in real life and things like that.
And you know, if I’m being too goofy, I can expect somebody to be like, Oh my gosh, you sound like a goofball, reel it in a little bit. But on my public facing Twitter I feel like I have to be a little more business-like and quaffed and things like that. So it’s, it’s a hard balance.
Rayne: Wow. You have more control than me.
Yeah. I, you know, I think it’s a matter of what you feel comfortable with. I mean, I think if it’s something you’d feel comfortable with saying in person to however many people, whatever, then fine, you know, whatever. But if it’s something you wouldn’t feel comfortable saying, then, maybe not, maybe just, maybe that’s something for private conversations with people that will understand or be more willing to have a conversation about it as opposed to, whatever, arguing with you about it or, you know, whatever, right?
Robyn: Yeah. It’s funny. I feel like, despite being an extrovert in most ways, I’m actually quite cautious and private, or I try to be in the online world. Um, and it feels like, I think that part, the, the desire for privacy and prudence has kind of won out over my desire to, to express myself.
And sometimes it does feel like I’m missing out on something. Or even when I, you know, earlier in the pandemic, I started like trying to pare down a lot of the news that was reaching me. Just to not be overwhelmed and to not panic or take things out of proportion either.
But unfortunately it did kind of cut me off a bit. Right? And so I realized, um, there’s, there are all sorts of conversations that are happening out there that I’m no longer privy to and can’t contribute to either. So it’s a bit, I don’t know. I, I, I’ve made my choice on which side I’d prefer to err on.
And I think I, I really do have a lot of, discomfort and, and nerves around sharing or oversharing on the internet. Uh, maybe it would be a good compromise to, to do like you’re doing Amber and have one account that’s really okay my public persona and then another one, that’s more for personal stuff. But, yeah, I don’t know. I’ve made my choice, but I’m not always, uh, I dunno, maybe, I’m maybe I’m missing out.
Thomas: Coming up Rayne talks about the times when posting to social media can be very helpful, especially when the situation affects many people. We’ll be right back after this.
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Rayne: Well, I tell ya, it’s, it’s interesting because I’m in Alberta here and we’ve, we, uh, there’s certain things that, if I think it’s going to affect my health and well-being, and then I’m going to say something about it.
And there was something that happened here recently where, well in the last year, where our government decided that they were going to do some coal mining in the mountains. Very close, well, basically, it affects, large bodies of river waters that supply, some of the United States I would even imagine as well as Canada. So it affects farm lands. It affects our drinking water. It affects a lot. So yeah, I don’t mind venting and I don’t mind getting and letting my opinion be known about how I feel about certain things, because, it’s also there for that. You know, it’s also there for that.
Because that’s, I mean, as far as other politics, it’s like, whatever, you know, but if it’s something that’s environmentally-related, which it affects everybody, you know, it just does. Then I don’t mind saying something about it at all because I don’t, I don’t want to see, I don’t want to see anybody suffering.
I don’t want to see anybody get sick. I don’t want food to get poisoned, you know, whatever. Right? That’s, and I don’t mind saying that, you know, and keeping on top of it and reading information that’s informative, and not just sort of gossipy basically, you know, scientific information and information from people who are really doing their homework on it.
I think that kind of thing is important. And that’s where I think social media can be helpful. But again, it’s one of those things where, you know, you, you have to… I do I have to go, okay. You know, there’s, there’s a certain amount of time to spend on it and then there’s the time where, okay, let’s go do something else.
Like Thomas says you don’t want to get mad. Don’t want to constantly be mad. Yeah.
Thomas: Well, as I continue on my journey of learning, you know, what overwhelms me and also in my journey of learning meditation and mindfulness, the more that I am aware of what I’m thinking and what I’m getting overwhelmed by, I’m noticing the, the, the more that I stay away from… well, I shouldn’t say stay away… The more that I am aware of the time that I spend on social media.
So, so over time, I guess I can say I’ve become more mindful about being on Facebook or being on Instagram or I rarely go to Twitter, but, uh, but I have in, in the last few weeks I’ve just, you know, sometimes I’m curious, right?
It’s just like, what’s trending. And you know? There is an entertainment aspect to it and, it’s totally okay to say, okay, I want to be entertained at the moment. So you know, let’s go for entertainment. Doesn’t you have to be TV or YouTube, right? It can be, let’s get entertained by what’s going on Twitter.
You know, there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s just that, it’s, for me, it’s about being aware, just being aware of what state I’m in and just making more healthy choices, I guess, about the amount of time that I spend with it.
Rayne: Yeah. Cool. So did this answer, you know, does this, is this the kind of conversation you wanted to have Amber?
Amber: Oh yeah. I mean, I, like I said, I think what you all said about being intentional, I think that’s so important. Like, and I think that’s something I kind of want to, you know, take forward.
It’s something I’ve been trying to work on in the past couple of years, because I go through these phases where you know, I might use social media a lot. Like I said, you know, especially in the quarantine where we’re all kind of cut off from each other, you know, I go there seeking that social interaction that I’m not getting otherwise.
But also, you know, then I, I tend to shy back from it for whatever reason, you know, either something happened or I felt overstimulated or something. And, I find like, uh, a lot of what I’m, you know, was seeking out of it before the quarantine was what you all mentioned before about finding, you know, friends that might be like-minded, either fellow HSPs, or, you know, for me, since I’m a freelancer, I don’t have, you know, direct office colleagues. So one of the reasons I even got a Twitter wasn’t just to network, it was, I mean, network and like the job hunting sense, but I really did want to find other freelancers to befriend.
So, I think what gets hard is like, it’s this constant yo-yo of like, okay, I’m trying to be more vulnerable so I can let people see me, but you know, I don’t want to give out, like you mentioned, you know, I don’t want to give out too much personal info or, you know, in my case, like I said, I can be a goofball, so I don’t want to be too goofy and people to think who is this person? You know?
So it’s this constant, like yo-yo of either I feel like I’ve been too vulnerable and I’ve pulled back, or I get overstimulated and I pull back and then I go all in. And so I really, what you all said about being intentional today has given me a lot to chew on. So I think it’s great.
Rayne: Yeah. And you know what too, Amber, I mean, everything’s balanced, right? I mean, I, for, for me, if I saw somebody that was being goofy, that would attract me to them.
Amber: Well, that’s really, thank you.
Rayne: You know, no it would because, you know, whether I’m looking for someone to work with or someone to hire or whatever. I want someone that has, you know, that has a sense of humor and likes to have fun and stuff. Someone that is kind of always, you know, serious and stodgy and, you know, I dunno, whatever, right? Like, you know, I would, I would, I dunno, that would attract me. So I don’t know.
Thomas: Amber, I’m glad that you brought up the term vulnerability because you know that’s, that’s the part that that is, is so tricky.
Vulnerability is being authentic and whenever you can be authentic, you have the possibility of making great connections with other people because they’ll recognize that authenticity, but it’s always a possibility that you also will get criticism. Right?
And of course, criticism is hard for anybody and it’s definitely hard for, for people who are Highly Sensitive.
And the only thing that I’ve sort of discovered in my thinking about vulnerability and allowing myself to be vulnerable is to make a decision ahead of time to say, okay, these are the type of voices that I will listen to if there’s criticism and these other voices, I’m just going to ignore them.
Um, and when it comes to, let’s say creativity, like I’m gonna, I’m gonna, you know, show something that I made. I’m always interested to see what people think about an art piece that I make, but the voices that I really respect are other artists, in other words, other people who were also putting themselves out there and who are also being vulnerable.
I’m not all that interested in, in people who would just say, Oh, that’s, you know, blah, blah, blah, whatever it is, but they’re not doing the work themselves.
Rayne: The peanut gallery.
Thomas: Yeah, that’s right, I want to know what the, what the people who are doing the same thing that I’m doing. Those are the people I want to hear from.
So, so that’s the only thing that I’ve discovered there as far as vulnerability is just to sort of in the… Ahead of time to think about, okay, here’s the people that I want to hear from when I do whatever it is I’m doing.
Robyn: Yeah. I think that’s extra important.
When you’re going to be, or try to be vulnerable on social media, because I think it is a little bit different from let’s say a live context, right? Where you’re maybe speaking to a group because it’s just, the scale is so far up there. Right? Unless you really have a private account, if you’re posting publicly that you just, and you really don’t control it, right?
Like sure, anyone can repeat your words when you say something live. But the, the likelihood of it going across the planet is far, far lower than you say in posting a picture or, or saying something online and then that can very quickly reach, you know, millions. It could.
So I think that, that’s the part that I always get scared of, and I think there’s the kind of vulnerability that you would have in any context.
And I think like Thomas is saying, you do have to think about, well, who do I want to reach? What do I want to accomplish with this and why, and what will I pay attention to and not, right? But I think the other aspect that we have to remember is that we are vulnerable in a more literal sense as soon as we’re posting online, right? People can take our words and do what they, or our images and our name, and do whatever they want with it.
So there is I think, I don’t know, maybe I’m just reflecting my own deeper fear here now, but I do, I do think there’s reason to, to be careful. Right? Or to think carefully. Um, and I’m sure most HSPs will have thought about this of course. Right?
Because, um, we do tend to be on the cautious side as it is. Right. Maybe that’s why you often hear HSPs saying they get overwhelmed because it’s, just, it’s, it’s so scaled up. Right. And there’s reason to believe that the, um, the platforms that are, that all this is running on, the people who create them, you know, don’t necessarily have our individual interests at heart. Right.
So it’s not, we do have to keep in mind, it’s not a normal process of, or it doesn’t mimic real human communication perfectly. In part because of the scale and in part, because of the algorithms driving it. So I think, um, yeah, I mean, an extra argument, I’m sounding very, very anti social media right now, I think.
But yeah, thing that I’ve, um, I guess that’s why I don’t have a Twitter account.
Thomas: Robyn, you know, what I can reflect from that is, is when I post something, like especially when I post a new art piece or whatever, I feel like I’m jumping out of my skin. It feels so… I feel so much tension. So, you know, I usually have to like go out for a walk or whatever.
And then I calm down and, you know, it’s like, Oh, I get some likes and get some feedback, whatever. But, but, that probably is also my sensitivity um, like just going in overdrive, like, Ooh. Man I, I put myself out there. Oh my gosh. Yeah.
Rayne: Yeah, I don’t, I don’t know. I don’t know. I sort of look at it like, ah, if I feel like posting it, I’ll post it. And then if I, if it comes up again for me later, like, ah I don’t want that posted, I’ll go delete it. And I don’t care. You know? And I, I rarely do that, you know, kind of a thing, but I just sorta feel like whatever, I don’t care. I don’t know.
Thomas: I think we all have different thresholds when it comes to that.
Robyn: Well, maybe for example, you know, I’m, I’m a teacher, right? So I have a couple of times had to ask myself, okay, what if, what if a student comes across this?
Am I comfortable with that? Even sometimes with this podcast, at some point I was like, huh? If any of my students are listening to this… How do I feel about that? I don’t know. Right? Like I had that I hadn’t wanted the first time I realized, Oh yeah, maybe they’ve looked me up and they, they found it. Um, I had a little moment of panic of going, Oh gosh, I wasn’t ready to be seen that way. You know?
But then, you know, with time, I was like, okay, do I really… Oh, so what. Yeah, I’m not, I’m not, I’m not saying there’s nothing illegal, nothing inappropriate. There’s nothing. I’m not disclosing anything that, that I wouldn’t want them to, to know necessarily. So. Hey, if you’re listening students, enjoy!
I hope you learned something!
Thomas: Well, Amber, I want to thank you for today’s conversation. And, ah, I’m just curious to know if there were any points that resonate with you, how you felt about it?
Amber: Well, like I said, definitely what you all said about being intentional. Um, I mean, this has been a great conversation, you know, the point about, you know, posting your creative work, Thomas that you mentioned that’s, that’s true for me too, you know? And, and, um, everything you guys have said about, you know, kind of handling the deluge of social media. Especially Robyn, what you said about, you know, just considering putting stuff out there, you know, when it can be seen by so many or, you know, so few. And, and Rayne, of course, you know, you’ve mentioned about when you feel like you’re really compelled to talk about something you kind of do.
So I’ve gotten a lot out of this conversation. Thank you guys so much for having me.
Thomas: Well, thank you for joining us, Amber. Thanks.
Rayne: Yeah, it was, it was really cool talking about this, Amber, thank you for bringing it up.
Amber: Thank you.
Robyn: Yeah, thanks a lot, Amber. It was great to talk to you. So thanks everybody, and of course, thank you to our listeners.
So please join us for our next episode where we’ll be having another interesting HSP conversation and to any highly sensitives out there who have a burning HSP-related question, big or small, we invite you to ask it on The HSP World Podcast, just email [email protected].
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