I’m writing this post (a bit long, so get a cup of tea) to express my thoughts on the importance of education. Whether for professional use or self-care, education is key to learning how to use aromatherapy and other botanicals safely with both humans and our animal friends.
While I chose (and was inspired by my fellow aromatherapy community) to start a Facebook group (Animal Aromatherapy-Safe Use) to help empower others through education, and in particular to give people another option beyond all of the groups that promote the unsafe use essential oils or to recruit for an upline (downline-whatever it is called) just for the sake of selling more oils vs educating in how to use safely and ethically from a sustainable source-I did not start this group to add to the grab-and-go phenomena created in part by social media outlets.
Facebook, Pinterest, and other message board type platforms are not a replacement for true education, period! Think about that for a moment. Let is sit in your mind for just a moment (I know that can be hard on social media where everything is about fast, quick and often without even a thank you or appreciation for what another has taken the time to respond to).
Many educators (including myself) go through many years of study, taking courses, doing the work, investing in continuing education, and so on… This is how when asked questions one is able to answer. Educators may access from their personal experiences, library, case studies, research, networks, and most important our brain cells-all to help others. Yet, social media should not be used as a replacement for actual education, it is (to me) just a tool for communication, connection, and sharing.
That type of sharing may be in the form of educational awareness of certain topics and guiding one in finding answers they seek. It may come in the form of connection for mutual likes, such as with the group I started and our love for animals and aromatherapy.
Education is also key to empowering yourself so that you can make informed and sensible decisions with regard to how, when, where, why, and with who would you consider to use aromatherapy with.
I like to use the example of Herbology (the mother of aromatherapy) and the degree of study required in order to become an herbalist. One would not randomly take herbs or herbal formulas without knowing more about the actual herb/s and their uses/contraindications, and while (to me) the study of both herbs and essential oils is an on-going lifetime journey, I also know that for many individuals they are not seeking to become an herbalist of aromatherapist, and are just wanting to know the basics (which is good, and at least they are investing time to read labels, ask questions and research prior to use).
However, again, with that said, social media should not be a replacement for finding all of that information, it should only be part of the equation-a tool to seek and connect with. It is also a bit sad that also due in part to these type of platforms and other get-it-quick formats that many have also devalued the importance of the educational study with actual real people, reading real books, having real interaction and connecting from the heart.
Being kind and appreciative of one another and valuing the gifts that we all have and love to share is something that social media should be used for and yet, more often than should be, many people become quickly defensive in group posts, some even using these type of formats to attack and bully others-and I ask myself why? That type of drama in itself is very draining for anyone that is seeking education and support vs being pounced on.
This happens not only to people asking the questions but also to the educator, group admins, etc. -and I ask myself again-why? Why are so many people so quick to act this way when a group (or in any group with good intentions, not just this group) was created to help guide others.
It brings me full circle to the fact of the importance of education, valuing what we know and teach and how that information is shared. This also applies (to me and I’m sure many others) in regards to personal inquiries that go beyond basic education; those that require a more one-on-one time and via a consultation. To me, social media should not be used as a place to seek or replace medical care. While that is a whole different topic in itself, it fits well with the point of how important education is.
Education is key to empowering oneself when seeking out information, finding an educator that you resonate with (this holds true for finding a practitioner too), when working with other individuals vs randomly using aromatherapy without permission and understanding of the actual plant knowledge (beyond social media school), and with self-care for yourself and your family (animal friends too).
Let’s sit a moment with the word ‘education’ and how it resonates (or not) in your mind and heart and let’s start to value its importance and its ‘key’ to our future in learning, sharing and supporting one another.
Some may read this post and think I’m old-fashioned, and that’s okay because I am. I’m an old fashion girl who loves education and learning, loves books, loves the educators and mentors in my life, loves my students (who inspire me to teach more and more!), and who loves helping others from the heart.
For those that read this far and resonate with the importance of education-well, I say thank you because you are also an inspiration to me and my passion to educate and empower. Thank you for taking the time to read and have a cup of tea with me as I share my thoughts.
I am also including (below) some responses to my post which was shared in the Facebook group first, prior to posting it here on the blog.
“YES! YES! YES! Thank you for so eloquently expressing what I think, believe and feel, Kelly. Far too many are largely or fully relying on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. for everything all the time, including education. Ummm…Nope. These are not educational institutions. They are social media websites.
Social – relating to society or its organization; marked by or passed in pleasant companionship with friends or associates; tending to form cooperative and interdependent relationships with others.
Media *from the Latin plural of medium* (usually used with a plural verb) – the means of communication, as radio and television, newspapers, magazines, and the Internet, that reach or influence people widely; the main means of mass communication (broadcasting, publishing, and the Internet), regarded collectively; one of the means or channels of general communication in society
Social media is an internet-based mass communications outlet and tool for communicating and socializing with others and engaging with society across an ongoing time-frame and space span. Quite literally, Facebook is a worldwide, globally accessible real-time chat-room, semi-news outlet, social sharing and social gathering located and centered online….open and in progress 24/7/365….with millions of people dropping in throughout the day, week, year.”-Ginger Moore (Certified Aromatherapist and Founder, Owner, Professional Formulator, Consultant at Neos Skin Care)
“So well stated, education is so important as is knowing who you are seeking that education from. I feel so honored to have worked with and been mentored by you! Cheers to your cup of tea:)”-Anna Pageau (Certified Aromatherapist, Certified Animal Aromatherapy Practitioner(sm)), and writer at AnnasMussings.com
“Beautifully said. I’ve emphasized safety throughout the 26 years I’ve been formulating and continue to study beyond my certifications. Thank you.”-Vicki Rae Thorne (Certified Aromatherapist) at Earth Heart Inc.