It’s OK to Not: Madame Gandhi x Instagram Creators

Madame Gandhi goes live with Instagram’s Chiru Murage on the Creator’s account to talk about why #itsOKtonot. Gandhi discusses setting boundaries, saying no, and protecting our fuel and mental health. Watch it below.

Full Q&A with Instagram’s Chiru Murage

– Is it OK to Not always be “on”?

Yes, we get to choose what it is we need to do in order to come as our best selves when we do choose to be on.

– Why is it so challenging to switch off / disconnect? 

Because capitalism encourages work output at an often unsustainable rate. When we see others seemingly moving quickly through their own work output, it can make us feel inadequate and that we too have to keep going non-stop. We have to take our cues from internally rather than externally. An Ayurveda perspective would also offer that each of us are motivated by different things and this informs our priorities and self-care needs. For example, I have lots of water and earth energy, and so movement is actually a huge part of my self-care routine to avoid depression, lack of motivation or sadness.

– What value does switching off and putting yourself first have on people? 

It gives permission for others to do the same! As a team leader for my own team internally, we have clear boundaries around when we are expected to be on and accountable to each other, and when we are not. This allows us to come with full energy during windows we are committing to be on, and taking necessary rest and personal time when we are not. Myself included!

– What challenges do women and POC face when it comes to setting boundaries and saying “no”?

Because members of the BIPOC community, women and LGBTQIA+ folks have historically been excluded from opportunity, we tend be expected to give more when we are granted those opportunities. This is rooted in systemic oppression and how historically (and to this day), the work of black, brown, femme and queer bodies is typically undervalued. We have to support each other’s rest, we have to affirm each other’s needs and we have to respect each other’s boundaries. If we participate in hamster wheel style capitalism, we only hurt each other.

– How has that impacted your life? And your career? 

I have learned that the more I set boundaries and then show my value when I am “on”, the more my boundaries are respected. I ask for what I need in order to deliver the best version of the job that has been asked of me. It is certainly part of stepping into your own personal power, but if you are delivering, doing humble and honest work, and not expecting unrealistic things in return, you can really lead by example as to how to conduct healthy business practices. 

– How can women and POC liberate themselves from expectations culture places on them?

 Hire each other! Fund our own companies! Set our own norms that work for us and elevate others! 

– How does it feel to be creating space for women and POC to take more agency in their lives through your work?