Role Reversal: put yourself in their shoes… if the shoe was on the other foot, would you want that nasty comment you’re about to leave to show up on your feed? How would you feel if someone attacked that piece you worked so hard to create? Consider if the roles were reversed. See yourself in that person, and see that person in yourself. This is such a challenging and ego-reducing practice, but it is something taught deep in the eight limbs of yoga and will without a doubt make you a better person, commenter, followers, and leader! The Yogic word for this is Ahimsa: the principle of non-harming.
As a part of my interview series about the things we can each do to make social media and the internet a kinder and more tolerant place, I had the pleasure to interview Jenay Rose.
Jenay Rose aka Namaste Jenay is an online entrepreneur and leading empowerment influencer in the social media space. With her audience of 83K on Instagram, @namastejenay and 100K downloads of her top-rated podcast, The Soulpreneur Show, she scaled multiple six-figure businesses in less than 12 months on social media alone. As a Transformational Life Coach turned Online Business Mentor, Jenay teaches impact-driven women how to start their own service-based businesses using social media to create community and convert followers into clients
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share your “backstory” with us?
It was 7 days before my 27th birthday, March 2017, when I finally said, “screw this I quit” and left my corporate job for the last time. At two years, this was my longest-standing job… I was basically fired from every job I ever had, not because I wasn’t smart, but because I wanted to be the boss. I always had “too many ideas” and couldn’t “listen to authority”, but really I was just meant to be a leader and an entrepreneur. Everyone called me “crazy” when I quit my job to become an entrepreneur, but I had to follow my heart, it was now or never. I became a 500hr Registered Yoga Teacher and spent 12 months trying to figure out what I wanted to do. By that time, I had accidentally built an Instagram following of about 20K people and was making money on the side as an influencer, working with brands to create advertisements. I became obsessed with the mindset and emotional development that yoga brought into my life so I started sharing that… my audience blew up to 80K over the next year and I became a virtual Transformational Life Coach working with students around the world… all through a little app called Instagram! I launched my first group coaching program for women on 11/18/18 and had an 18,000 dollars launch…. I knew I was onto something. And after that, people wouldn’t stop asking me if I could show them how I did what I did (created a successful business on Instagram). Most recently, I pivoted to be a business coach and surpassed 250K dollars in under 12 months. All 100% organic, no paid ads. In 2020 we’ll do between 500k dollars and 7 figures.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?
It’s all still mindblowing to me. It’s almost like David and Goliath, G being the Instagram app with its ever-changing algorithms and decreasing engagement that David (me or anyone else using the app to create a career) has to fight against every day through creative ingenuity and pure willpower.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
When everyone else goes left, I go right. This has been a huge lesson for me in honoring my gifts and talents — and it’s something I am consciously doing in 2020. So while other online coaches are busy creating numerous products and launching those on cycles, I am focusing on my Goddess Boss Mastermind program: overhauling the content to make it faster to work through and get even better results in a shorter time frame. I am focused on helping 100 women have their first 10,000 dollars months inside of this container — and we’re already well on our way! In 90 days, women learn proven methodology and get intimate, results-driven support to start and scale their own six-figure businesses online. I am obsessed with this program and it will be the only way to work with me in 2020! DM me to learn more about the program and apply it!
Ok, thank you for that. Let’s now jump to the main focus of our interview. Have you ever been publicly shamed or embarrassed on social media? Can you share with our readers what that experience felt like?
I hate to say that it comes with the territory. The more visibility you have, often the easier it is for people to place blame or assume something about you. That’s the tricky thing with social media: it gives us this false narrative that we are friends with or know the person on the other side of the screen — and no matter how authentic they are, we don’t. We only see what we are allowed to see, and that needs to remember when we are shame or blame someone! We never know what battle anyone is fighting, on or off-screen and I encourage people to keep this top of mind when actively operating any social platform.
Embarrassment on social media is like embarrassment in reality, only 100x worse because you’ve got a public platform of people looking at you. And what’s even stranger, information spreads like wildfire. Gossip can take over, and you’re stuck with your own thoughts of how to fix it, is it even fixable, and it creates an overwhelming feeling of isolation.
What did you do to shake off that negative feeling?
Because self-mastery and emotional intelligence are a huge part of what I taught early on social media, I have an arsenal of tools that I used to move through this kind of feeling. Some include journaling, meditation, self-inquiry, and yoga. My favorite technique for this would be to “Release and Replace”. I acknowledge the thought or bad-feeling emotion and I actively Release it and Replace it with a better-feeling emotion or thought.
Have you ever posted a comment on social media that you regretted because you felt it was too harsh or mean?
I think we all have! I can’t think of time specifically, but I know at times it can feel tempting to leave a comment that might be aggressive or defensive — and during those times, I always lock my phone and put it in a drawer and walk away. It’s never worth the haste or argumentativeness you’ll be met with, or the guilt you’ll feel hurting someone else with virtual words, over something you probably don’t understand in full context.
Can you describe the evolution of your decisions? Why did you initially write the comment, and why did you eventually regret it?
Evolution always goes like this:
- Reaction — basically it’s a one-two punch: something someone said or did trigger us and we react to it. We make it a personal attack in order to reach back. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.
- Emotional Tax — this might look like regret, embarrassment, frustration, inner reflection, doubt, worry, concern or any other emotion related to the way you were triggered and then reacted out of contempt.
When one reads the comments on Youtube or Instagram, or the trending topics on Twitter, a great percentage of them are critical, harsh, and hurtful. The people writing the comments may feel like they are simply tapping buttons on a keyboard, but to the one on the receiving end of the comment, it is very different. This may be intuitive, but I feel that it will be instructive to spell it out. Can you help illustrate to our readers what the recipient of a public online critique might be feeling?
Leaving a negative comment online might seem innocent, but consider the amount of vulnerability it takes to show up every day and expose yourself to tens maybe hundreds of thousands of strangers, knowing that at some point something you say will be dismantled. And yet, influencers, celebrities, and anyone with a platform choose to do this day in and day out. I think it’s really important to remember that most people with social followings are still normal humans with the same insecurities as everyone else.
I have had plenty of personal attacks both publicly in the comments, in my DM’s, from other influencers talking poorly about me or spreading rumors, you name it. It is incredibly isolating, and personally I internalize these situations and blame myself which causes a tailspin of emotional wreckage in its wake.
Do you think a verbal online attack feels worse or less than a verbal argument in “real life”? How are the two different?
I think it depends on your attachment to your audience and your online persona. Some people can totally compartmentalize it (although I know more who can’t) without letting things impact them because you won’t ever be able to make everyone happy. While others and this would be the 99%, feel personally victimized with every negative comment. I can’t say it’s better or worse, but I will say that when you put your heart and soul into something, and someone so easily rips into that without considering your humanity, it can be heart-wrenching and make you question why you are working so hard to make other people’s lives better!
What long term effects can happen to someone who was shamed online?
It can make a huge impact on their personal security and emotional stability, especially with their self-confidence. There have been many different occasions where people online have attacked me for “cultural appropriation” for using the word Namaste in my Instagram handle and business. I have had the IG name “@namastejenay” for four or five years now. I changed it when I fell in love with my first yoga training, then I did a second and became a full-time teacher. Yoga (not just the physical Asana or postures but the actual eight limbs) are something I practice in my daily life. But online, we just judge by the first thing we see. It used to really hurt me when people didn’t understand me and even when I would try, they would choose not to change their perception of me. Then I realized, it was just their perception and it truly had nothing to do with me. I didn’t create the fog that they are seeing with — so it’s not up to me to remove.
Many people who troll others online, or who leave harsh comments, can likely be kind and sweet people in “real life”. These people would likely never publicly shout at someone in a room filled with 100 people. Yet, on social media, when you embarrass someone, you are doing it in front of thousands or even millions of people, and it is out there forever. Can you give 3 or 4 reasons why social media tends to bring out the worst in people; why people are meaner online than they are in person?
- Separation — it’s easy to look at someone with 100K followers and think they’re totally separate from you. When we look at people as separate from us, it’s easier to attack because we justify it.
- Jealousy — No one will admit this, but there are a ton of jealousy floating around Instagram, even social media in general. We see someone with more followers, more success, more money, more beauty, more opportunities and we want a piece.. or we want to level the playing field a bit. It’s our own insecurities that cause this anger to manifest as trolling or mean comments.
- Protection — We feel this false sense of security hiding behind a screen like no one can find us or no one will know if we say this thing. Like it can’t be traced back to us so in essence, we didn’t really do anything. And to this I’d say, remember you have to sleep with you at the end of the day.
If you had the power to influence thousands of people about how to best comment and interact online, what would you suggest to them? What are your “5 things we should each do to help make social media and the internet, a kinder and more tolerant place”? Can you give a story or an example for each?
- Role Reversal: put yourself in their shoes… if the shoe was on the other foot, would you want that nasty comment you’re about to leave to show up on your feed? How would you feel if someone attacked that piece you worked so hard to create? Consider if the roles were reversed. See yourself in that person, and see that person in yourself. This is such a challenging and ego-reducing practice, but it is something taught deep in the eight limbs of yoga and will without a doubt make you a better person, commenter, followers, and leader! The Yogic word for this is Ahimsa: the principle of non-harming.
- Commit to no human-on-human crime. Honestly, this is about wanting to be better. People who are hurt, hurt others. So if you consciously choose to hurt others online or in real life, or act hastily, I encourage you to consider where you are hurting and focus inward rather than bringing everyone to the same level of hurt as you. An eye for an eye will leave the whole world blind. For me, how we act online is a total representation of us at our most inner truth. If we are crappy to people we don’t know, for literally no reason… we have some deep healing to do. Lead with compassion, and you’ll be met with it too.
- Remember that you never know the secret battle they’re fighting: Whenever I get triggered to leave a comment that might antagonize or challenge someone else because I think I know more or can say it better, I remind myself that I don’t know the full story. All I can see is that little tiny square at this moment in time: I can’t see the backstory that led up to their post, I can’t see what they went through that week, and I definitely can’t see what they might be going through personally. So with that being said, who am I to try to convince this random stranger on the internet of anything?
- Wait 5 minutes & think it over: Copy & Paste the context of the comment to you’re about to leave into your notes section of your phone (without leaving the actual comment). Come back after a few minutes and ask yourself, “Is this really what I want to say?”, “Is there a way I can get my point across less hastily?” I think that personal inquiry like this can change the world! Try it and see how much lighter you feel!
- Be objective: In meditation, objectivity is like looking at your thoughts as a third person… they are there, but they’re not yours, and just because they are there doesn’t mean they are true. If everyone looked at their personal comments objectively BEFORE posting them, I think the online space would be much kinder and so much more even keel. When we get lost in our own emotions, we think we’re right and we somehow have to prove the other person wrong… but if we detached from our belief and personal emotions about whatever caption or video is triggering us, we would have a lot more room to approach the situation with an even head. This would allow for much more profitable conversations… and less online attacks.
Freedom of speech prohibits censorship in the public square. Do you think that applies to social media? Do American citizens have a right to say whatever they want within the confines of a social media platform owned by a private enterprise?
If you had full control over Facebook or Twitter, which specific changes would you make to limit harmful or hurtful attacks?
If I had control over Facebook, I would release the Instagram algorithm, or at least parts of it, to go back to a free marketplace. It’s unfair that only 5–10% of someone’s audience gets to see their content — especially if they are a conscious creator like me who works tirelessly to create empowering, inspiring, teachable content that actually changes lives! I’d like to see the IG Feed go back to time-stamped timelines, where everything you see is based on time posted… not on an algorithm’s guess if you want to see the content or not. Freedom of choice is incredibly powerful and something we deserve to have, even on an app.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
I was standing in line to return something at Nordstrom yesterday and the sweetest elderly couple was behind me and they struck up a conversation. We spoke for twenty minutes and before departing they said to me, “Always remember, marriage is much harder to build than destroy.”
But I think that can be applied to anything in life: opportunities are harder to build than destroy; friendships are harder to build than destroy; success is harder to build than destroying… and surely business is much easier to destroy than to build. That really stuck with me!
We are blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂
Right now, I think it would be Rachel Hollis — I’d love to pick her brain about scaling a book deal into a massive multiple 7 figure empire. That’s what I hope to do someday so that I can positively impact more young women’s lives around the world at a price anyone can afford.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
Follow me @namastejenay on Instagram
Join my free Facebook community “The Soulpreneur Sisterhood”
Listen to the Podcast on iTunes or Spotify: The Soulpreneur Show
Thank you so much for these insights! This was so inspiring!