I ran into this video on TikTok by GaryVee and the message was really neat.
Validation is a very tricky scenario. There are elements of what validation is in my prose poem Earth Magic; where how you grow up and who you’re around influences the way you feel about yourself. When we seek validation, there’s always that great risk of not being grounded; your roots end up being pulled one way and the other then you end up not having any foundation. Being uprooted from any situation can be traumatizing, the precursor to an existential crisis. Unfortunately, the solution we’re introduced to for the pain and uncertainty is seeking more validation even though that may have been what uprooted us in the first place. We depend on external sources to confirm or deny who we are and simultaneously mistrust our internal sources, our intuition, our self-esteem, our ability to self-reflect.
Internal and external conflict is such a powerful tool in writing because it’s so human. An inner monologue could contrast what other events are happening around the character, which brings suspense and tension. We go through this all the time. What’s going on within isn’t in alignment with what’s going on around us. The popular kids Garyvee talked about may have not aligned with the pressure that comes with popularity, but they would ignore or repress what’s going on internally to continue being fed the validation externally. Validation like this can be very problematic psychologically, but there’s another side to validation that is much more fulfilling.
Many people think inner peace is a façade because it appears to be near impossible. So why even try to achieve it? I think inner peace at its core is an acceptance of the internal and external tensions along with an acceptance of what can and can’t be controlled. Validation from others is something that you feed. If you want validation from your parents, you’ll feed it by doing whatever they tell you to do or what you think they’d expect from you. If you want validation from peers and coworkers, you will change your behavior or even hide your true behavior. The energy put into feeding the influence validation has on you can be shifted to validation of the self that eventually finds the external sources that are in alignment with who you are. This can happen with even small things, like personal interests; I don’t like mainstream pop music, but if I want validation from peers who like mainstream pop, I’ll listen to it until my ears bleed. The truth is, I like rock and heavy metal. The peers who like mainstream pop may no longer be in alignment with me because of my interests, but now they know who I am and they’ll either want to understand me more or distance themselves. Either way, I now have the opportunity to connect with fellow metal heads and we can now garner a reciprocal validation, but even if validation from the metal heads doesn’t happen, my love for metal will be enough for me. I accept I can’t control my peers or other metal heads; I can control what I listen to and can chose to enjoy it as much as I want.
Validation has a close association with “liking” or “loving” something or someone. That’s why I think it’s a tricky concept that is best simplified when you focus on self-acceptance first and go from there. That way, you’ll never be in poverty even if “likes” become an actual currency. This is what “grounding” really is.
There’s a Black Mirror episode about this. It’s called “Nosedive”, season three, episode one. Please watch it. It’s perfect.
The YouTube channel Academy of Ideas presented an incredible argument using quotes from Etienne de la Boite, a French philosopher, writer, and judge, to address how enslavement is voluntary. I’d like to point out that this video is discussing psychological and economic enslavement more than other types of slavery. I don’t want their message to be misinterpreted as an ignorant assumption about history.
This will be the first installment of the philosophy page. Hope you enjoy and comment what you think of the video. Also, if you liked this video, support Academy of Ideas by subscribing to their content.
Words Written: 964 words (haha. lame.) Current Word Total: 92,219 words
Things I need To Research:
More Scifi, specifically things with robots, mecha, androids, and cyborgs
Additional Work: More character design and more practice in writing trauma and suspense scenes…This is probably why I wrote so little… I mean… I just…I don’t know. I love psychological trauma in stories, but writing it is a whole different ball game.
I’m inching closer and closer to meeting my creative goals and a little bit of terror creeps deeper in my psyche because I’m one of those people who fears success. I fear being excited and proud of myself because my reactions have been “too much” sometimes. I fear being happy for myself because there’s someone else who isn’t happy and I need to be there for them. I fear the pressure that comes subsequently after being in the spotlight because of a success. I fear that all the hypothetical stimuli, all the changes and events that could occur, after a success or failure will overwhelm me and cause a mental breakdown. Shame, was the best counter to my fears, so I thought. Instead, shame magnified all of that. It discouraged me from truly embracing the achievements I had made in life and simultaneously added fuel to the fire.
So let’s knock that shit off, said my spirit guides.
Today, I spoke with the spirits about shame, my biggest fear and my favorite defense mechanism. I’m going to breakdown what I was told about shame during the reading. I used the Tao Oracle Deck, the Raider-Waite Tarot, and the Psychic Tarot Deck.
The Tao Oracle Cards
Surrender: Submit to how you’re feeling. Acknowledge what you’re upset or ashamed about. – It’s so habitual for us to bury whatever we’re feeling when shame comes around because we’re introduced to it early on. Repressing your emotions brings temporary relief and long-term emotional scars. To have a more functional relationship with the part of you that feels overwhelmed by shame, you need to acknowledge your own feelings. Express in your own way how you’re feeling to yourself.
Grounding: Neutralize the situation and reassure yourself. Don’t completely blame yourself or others; just address what’s happening and what you need to do to ground or calm yourself again. – Once you know how you’re feeling, discuss it as neutrally and honestly as possible. How are you feeling? I’m sad. I’m pissed. I’m depressed. I’m worried. I’m anxious. Why? Because [insert distressing situation here] is happening. Okay. What will help you calm down right now? I need to be alone. I need to cry. I need a friend. I need to hit something (inanimate). I need to scream. Really, I think the best part about grounding is just being as real as possible in the moment, preferably alone or with someone you trust and without brining physical harm to yourself or anyone else. Grounding is dropping that emotional baggage. Let that sh*t fall.
Be Your Own Sage: Although you’ll be tempted to recall past experiences this situation reminds you of, look through those memories with compassion. Think about what you can and can’t control. – So, most of the fury has passed, but the shame is still lingering. I think this is when the brain starts thinking up ideas on how to cope. If we let shame take the lead during this brainstorm session, we won’t look at our past coping mechanisms with compassion. We may repeat self-destructive tendencies or think of something new. Compassion for the self and others, however, counters shame. The three tarot cards at the bottom, the nine of swords (the situation), the ten of swords reversed (the action), and the page of cups (the outcome), revealed that my anxiety and despair (the nine of swords) isn’t permanent. It will eventually end (the ten of swords reversed). When I look back on how I recovered, it can inspire a greater revelation about my unconscious (page of cups) and if I choose to, I can trust that experience to help me move on and prepare for the future. Thus, shame is no longer required. I felt like sh*t. I let that sh*t go. Now, I am the sh*t because I learned something new about myself. Good job, me.
Be Cautious: Shame and other emotionally exhausting situations will not heal in a day, a week, a month, etc. . Be patient with yourself as you try to apply what you’ve learned from the past to your present situation. – During the healing process, sometimes the wound will reopen unexpectedly or we relapse and rip it open ourselves. It happens. Sometimes shame appears because we’re not healing fast enough or getting over it quick enough. You may have just learned to be your own sage, but all of the best advice for your problems won’t do much if you don’t give it time to sink in. Think of it like glue. You have to give it time to dry before it can do its job. If you keep expecting it to be instant and mess with the adhesive before it dries, you’re going to end up with mess and disappointed. It’s not just impatience, but also self-sabotage. When that happens, you go back to acknowledging your emotions, grounding yourself, learn from the experience, and apply the experience to your situation. It’s a process. Let it take its course.
This isn’t easy…
Dealing with shame in this way isn’t easy. I don’t think it’s meant to be easy. So don’t expect it to be. I’m going to just keep trying. The two of swords on the left in the second picture signifies indecision in my subconscious, which is very true right now. I feel torn between addressing my shame in this new way and letting it win, but on the right, the two of pentacles, representing my conscious, is a good reminder that shame brings up a lot of things that are hard to juggle. I can find my balance eventually if I give it time. Lastly, the third picture shows four more cards that stood out to me: Balance, to recall that two of pentacles energy, the four of wands reversed, pointing out what I’m struggling with is most likely linked to what I’ve been through with those close to me, Longevity from the Tao oracle, signifying the use of this new way of processing shame, and Emotional Loss, the core to my shame, I would say.
So, yeah, just wanted to share that. Thank you if you read all the way through. This was a bit hard to write, being more transparent and all that. But whatever. I’m not ashamed 🙂 .
To start, this post is not bashing Christianity. Many of us could blame Christianity or other religions for what happened to us as a child or why we deal with so much anxiety and pain to this day, but I’m discussing the habits that fuel that anxiety and fear based on our own perception of having Christian parents with authoritarian aspects. This isn’t about the religion itself, but rather, the destructive point of view one can develop if they don’t remember to show themselves compassion and forgiveness. Yes, a Pagan who was once Christian is behind this, but please hear me out. I speak about the following bad habits and my personal experience developing those habits respectfully. I blame no one.
Although we are most likely told in Christian upbringings that we make mistakes and that we’re imperfect creatures that simply need to repent for our sins, we may believe otherwise. An early introduction to the Christian god and his power can add a type of pressure that appears to demand not just repentance, but performance. Some of us may strive to become sinless by trying to gain validation from our parents; they are the ones who introduced us to God after all. Here’s the truth: as long as you’re human, you’re going to make mistakes and the most important type of validation is from yourself. Inevitably, it’s up to us whether we let our mistakes punish us or help us grow. You may feel inclined to exact a type of judgment on yourself to understanding who God is, but you’re still doing that to yourself. Perfectionism is a ridiculously high ideal. It’s not meant to be reached. Neither is reaching a level of sinlessness at God’s level according to Christian belief. You may sin, repent, be saved, then sin again, repent, repeat…Why not accept that sinning or making mistakes is part of the human experience? It’s wiser to consider your life as a learning curve than placing yourself in a position where you’re starving for acceptance. Accept yourself, flaws and all.
Here’s the thing about judgment: it’s all projection. Judging someone or something prematurely and rashly is very common in religious circles. If you live in an authoritarian household with a Christian view, the last thing you want is for any type of judgment to fall upon you. In fact, it may pass down from your parents on to you and then you want to relieve yourself of it so badly that you pass on your judgments to your siblings, friends, classmates, coworkers, or whoever. Premature judgment is a projection of fear. It’s a subconscious way of dodging a bullet you think God is itching to point at you on judgment day. If you feel your parents are judging you and using the bible to add on extra weight, it’s not just unhealthy to carry that, but it’s just as bad passing that on to others. Consider being open to other’s life stories and gaining the whole truth before coming to a conclusion about them. If you feel you can’t understand the whole truth or you just flat out don’t want to, then mind your own business. Reflect on what’s happening within you and why judgment from your parents, fellow churchgoers, or God encourages you to apply the same pressure to others in your life. Christian circles often come off as one big family. Toxicity like gossip can tear families apart and damage who you are as well.
(Quick side note: The book above, Running on Empty by Jonice Webb is absolutely EXCELLENT. My first therapist recommended I get it and it woke me up.)
You Believe Your Needs Aren’t As Important As God’s
How quick are you to dismiss whether your needs or desires aren’t as important as someone else’s? If you grew up with authoritarian Christian parents, you were probably often told what held the most importance at the time. I don’t mean being told you need to eat dinner before dessert so your appetite isn’t spoiled. I mean being told if God would want you to do something the way you’re thinking of doing or if God wants you to hang out with the friends you’re wanting to hang out with. God constantly interjects into your life decisions, which is part of the Christian lifestyle. However, your self-reliance and self-trust should NOT deteriorate while you’re living a Christian life or any lifestyle for that matter. According to Christian belief, understanding God completely is near impossible, but with the guidance of the Bible, you should be able to know what you should and should not do, but in the vastness of humanity, the millions of perspectives that exist, we probably don’t all see the Bible the same way. So if your parents are pushing you to see something their way rather than encouraging you to understand God on your own, that can summon a lot of self-doubt as an adult. It is not healthy to diminish your own self-trust and I feel many Christians would agree that God shouldn’t be used in derogatory means anyway.
I truly hope this one doesn’t offend anyone, but as someone who was once Christian, this was one of the hardest things to break away from. If you combine the three previous points, perfectionism, judgment, and lack of self-trust, you have all the ingredients for pure paranoia. It doesn’t have to be this way. If you have self-acceptance, an open-mind, and a strong ethical stance you trust yourself to follow as a Christian, you won’t feel inclined to be in a state of fear of everything that appears as “secular” or “unholy”. I have friends who are Christian who often have nothing but love to give. They may not understand why I’m Pagan, but they do know me beyond my own belief system, just as I know them and we decide the parameters of our friendship respectfully so we have interconnectivity, a network of understanding founded in compassion. If you grew up in an authoritarian Christian household, you may have thought fear was healthy. I’m not talking about the type of instinctual fear that lets you know when danger is around, but the deep-sinking fear amplified by anxiety, hypothetical punishments, harsh self-judgment, and limited information. The fear that encourages you to fear life even with God being there is not healthy. Period.
I know what it’s like growing up in a Christian household that is practically militant. You don’t want to step out of line and face consequences, you don’t want to accept any type of judgment you don’t fully understand, you don’t want to suffer for being human and so you aim to be otherwise. You may think I’d want to blame my parents for this, but that wouldn’t be fair. They have their lives and I’ll never know wholly how they grew up and what exactly they passed down to me. Ultimately, they love me and what I can do in response to their choices about my upbringing is decide what is or isn’t healthy for me to hold on to.
When it comes to reflecting on my thoughts, emotions, and decisions, even as a child, I still must address my accountability. Yes, all children are impressionable, but we do make certain choices whether our parents try to influence them or not. Even with the parents I had, I snuck a Harry Potter book, I read occult books in the library, I looked up telekinesis and witchcraft online, I found “secular” rock/metal/goth bands that I still listen to today. Yes, there were times the pressure of authoritarian parenting shook me to my core and God in the mix of that amplified my fear, but my ability to choose was never really restrained. Free will and all that, right? To be honest, I feel lucky compared to some other children, and I’m a pastor’s kid. With them and myself in mind, I guess I wrote this as a way of saying it’s not too late to break away from the unhealthy habits you developed during childhood. You don’t have to change your religion. No need to be angry at your parents. You should simply change and be patient with yourself through the transition. Bad habits like these die hard.
Thanks for reading. Referring back to my novel, my protagonist grows up in a theocracy because these are the bad habits I’d like to address. I consider this “research” for the sake of character development and world building.
Also, there’s a second part to the previous book I mentioned before. Check it out if you’re interested.
So, I just shared an article I posted today! It was a very enthusiastic review/recommendation of S. Kelley Harrell’s Runic Book of Days, which I strongly recommend to baby witches or pagans on the rise in norse shamanism, but ultimately, this is a blog about my progress as novelist and I’d like to discuss my thought process and construction of magic in my fantasy/scifi story. Rune magick has helped me with my confidence as a person, but definitely gave me inspiration as a writer.
Primarily there are two magic systems in this genre: hard and soft. My novel, Spirit Strings: Initiation, actually fixates on these systems because one is praised while the other is considered dangerous and I have my protagonist decide the truth of these magical systems for herself. The use of rune magick in my story, although they aren’t the Elder Futhark (yet? lol), would be considered part of the hard system, I think. Two videos immediately came to mind and I think if you’re reading this as a fantasy writer, you’ll definitely benefit from watching them. A YouTuber known as Hello Future Me made a concise video on the soft and hard magic systems. If you’re trying to figure out what direction you want to take with your magic system, I recommend giving them a listen. He’s quite silly, but I think he explained the systems wonderfully.
Anyway, conflict, cooperation, and consequence are essential in a story’s plot; if your story has magic, following the Sanderson laws is a good place to start. For my story, I really wanted the use of magic to be a controversial and stressful topic because the ability to wield it lives in everyone and facing the responsibility of using magic can be twisted into either oppression or empowerment. That is commonly seen in fantasy, of course, but I’m striving to go beyond character development. I want a psychological shift in my characters and I want my audience to wonder who’s going to snap, this way, as I reference Sanderson’s first law, my audience’s understanding of magic won’t bring a detrimental effect to the plot whether they want or expect hard magic or soft magic. As an Edgar Allan Poe fan, my knowledge of the supernatural, paranormal, and psychology wasn’t expansive when I was introduced to his work, but I was still allured by his writing because I connected to his commonly used first-person narrative voice. He wanted me to be right beside him while he experienced what terrified him. Audiences understand fear, stress, and other very common human instances. So when it comes to the magic system, yes, it’s important to have those foundational laws and thorough world building, which I’m definitely aiming for, but as I write, I want the magic system to be fueled by strained perceptions. I want the “cost” in hard magic to feel like suffocation. I want the “sense of wonder” in soft magic to reflect falling helplessly into the dark unconscious, the abyss of the psyche.
I want this because maybe you and others have ventured there before. I certainly did while working with rune magick guided by The Runic Book of Days. In my article, I spoke about the springtime, but in my novel series, you’ll get a glimpse of my bittersweet winter. I’m not trying to be edgy; just being honest. I relish in the fact that I trudged through my cold unconscious and survived. I still visit from time to time enthusiastically.