External validation has been a big drug for me. The responses of others could lift me up or crush me in an instant.
What’s funny is that these comments from people are just in passing. It’s not important or life-changing for them. They probably never think about it again. Meanwhile, I’ve deleted social media before because of people’s responses to something I’d shared. I deleted something like 50 YouTube videos I’d made. All a result of my aversion to rejection.
The importance I have applied to what others think of me is a weight I must set down if I truly wish to grow and share my gifts with the world.
Animal communication, channeling sessions, Reiki, intuitive coaching, painting, doodling, doodle videos, raps… These are all endeavors I originally began out of a place of freedom and fun. They were received very well! I started evolving in each, and it felt amazing.
Then, upon receiving negative (or even zero) feedback, I’d collapse within myself… Certain I was a failure.
And I stopped. I stopped doing the intuitive sessions, I stopped doodling, and I stopped rapping or making videos.
Why? To avoid rejection.
Sharing vulnerably (and consistently) can be terrifying. It often leaves me feeling like a raw exposed nerve. It’s easier NOT to share. It’s easier to keep everything to myself.
I see now that holding back is a form of hoarding. I have an abundance of knowledge and love to share and I have a unique perspective (as do you). No one else sees the world quite like I do. The most loving thing I can do is share the wealth. But… Sharing can feel paralyzingly uncomfortable.
I had a sentence come to me today: “I am worth the discomfort.”
Shit yea, I am. I’ve had no problem in my life marketing or advocating for others or their product, but doing it for myself has resulted in far more episodes of merging with the sofa and hiding under my weighted blanket.
I drew and shared a doodle today. It was cute to me, and fun. It made me giggle while I made it. I recognized that not everyone would understand it, but felt okay. I felt nervous to post it because of expectations, pressure, and this in-the-background whisper of “MAYBE THIS’LL BE THE ONE THAT GOES VIRAL.”
The very first comment was someone who said “wat”
No capital letters or punctuation. Just…
The response was visceral. My stomach got tight, my throat started to close off. Breathing became short and labored. I felt sad and even momentarily depressed. I felt like life was unfair.
This all happened within seconds.
The initial yearning was to delete the doodle so as to avoid the humiliation of others also being confused. Then no one would think I was stupid. I wanted to do whatever I could as quickly as possible to stop feeling the way I felt.
Thankfully, I paused. I said, “I accept this suffering, too. I accept and care about this embarrassment, this shame. This is all allowed.” I breathed into it with my eyes closed, feeling it with fullness physically.
While the feeling didn’t go away right away, it was as though my energy expanded from its contracted state, and I was able to feel the discomfort AND be totally okay.
In sitting and breathing, I settled into a meditative state. I was presented with my 12-year-old self, who showed me the embarrassing moment of the 7th grade talent show. She showed me the pain she endured afterward when she and her best friend were the only ones who didn’t make it, and the deep sadness she experienced when her best friend blamed her and wouldn’t talk to her.
Over the next twenty minutes or so, I listened to this younger version of me anxiously share her experiences with rejection, with embarrassment, with shame. While listening intently, I felt a sentence come through that was from neither of us: “It’s about making fun of it rather than taking it seriously.”
Ah, yes. That’s it! If I apply importance to what I’m doing, if I go in with an attached expectation… Then I’m setting myself up for disappointment. I’m pressuring myself and others to perform just the way I want.
If I instead enjoy what I’m doing, have fun, let loose a little, then I’ve already received the benefit. The joy becomes the DOING of the thing rather than the responses to the SHARING of the thing. And then, if there is a positive response? It’s icing on the already moist and delicious gluten-free cake.
Also, it’s like when I say a funny joke that I think is great and punny and nerdy and no one else laughs. I DON’T CARE. BECAUSE I LOVE THE JOKE SO MUCH.
It’s that same sort of concept. Having fun allows more wiggle room for errors. There’s a built-in allowance to do things wrong and be messy when having fun. There’s not a box for fun; it’s free-flowing.
Fun is where the freedom is.
Also, there’s something to be said about adaptability. There is no way my sensitivity to rejection will decrease if I continue to hide from it. I have to keep going.
I want to keep going.
I’m going to continue tuning into my gut, feeling into what lights me up and makes me smile, and doing those things. And sharing when it feels good to do so. I’m going to continue showing up for myself, continue sharing, and continue to allow myself to breathe into any feelings of rejection or failure… Because even those are allowed.
And let’s be real; I’m worth the discomfort.