Lately I’ve been ruminating on an incredibly powerful idea: It’s none of your business what other people think of you.
A year ago (or even six months ago) I wouldn’t have been able to embrace this. I do care what people think of me. Or I did. I’m still vacillating between caring and not caring. But this concept has been knocking on my door for a while and I’ve been seeing signs to embrace it. The first time I saw it was in a celebrity interview in a glossy magazine. Yeah right, I thought to myself. Pass. Moving right along.
Then while reading Big Magic, I saw it again. It’s none of your business what other people think of you. In this context it made a lot more sense. Big Magic is all about embracing your creativity. About enjoying being creative. And if there’s anything I see myself as, it’s a creative person.
I’ve noticed something lately - I’m really hesitant to share anything online. I sit down at my computer and start writing in a really defensive tone. I’m putting up brick walls because I’m afraid of the feedback. Guys - it sucks when people nit pick you and rip you apart! Even if you don’t know the person doing it. Even if it’s online. I feel like a scared cat trapped in a box while kids throw stones at me. Not a good feeling! So something inside me has been building a fortress around my heart which totally sounds like a line from The Bachelor, but that’s what it feels like. I’m protecting myself to the point where it’s getting in the way of being the creative person - the artist, designer, blogger, writer - that I am.
And then the Universe put this one little sentence in front of me and it’s helping me reframe how I see feedback. It’s not my job to please the masses when I get dressed. It’s not my job to parent my son in a way that pleases other people (BECAUSE THAT’S INSANE) and it’s also not my job to try to cater to each and every person that reads my blog. Especially the people that already don’t like it (and make themselves known loud and clear). It’s also not my job to cater to the people that do like what I’m doing. It’s my job to express myself and to be creative in a way that enriches my life, that enriches my self esteem and ultimately helps me grow in my writing, my art, and as a person. It’s my job to create things that please me - both in the process and the end product. So when I stop creating purely for the act of making something and start censoring the process because I’m scared of the response, I’m doing myself a major disservice. And honestly, I’m doing you a disservice too.
To say that it’s not my business what you think of me doesn’t mean that your thoughts aren’t important. They are. I hear you when you’re kind. I hear you when you disagree. I hear you. But what I think I’m feeling right now, what I’m wading through and working on, is being able to hear my own instincts a little louder. To feel more freedom in writing and creativity and not feel the urge to bat my lashes with compliments or get defensive with pushback. I need to just see it for what it is - a conversation - and to let that feedback have it’s place outside of the creative experience. I need to separate the two more clearly, and as a human being, that’s incredibly difficult. I know I thrive on compliments. We all do! Negativity - no matter how it’s framed - deflates me. But if I want to continue growing artistically, I need to separate what I do creatively from how it’s received publicly. If I enjoy working on something - writing a post or sewing an outfit - does it matter if anyone loves it? Or hates it? Or does it matter more how I feel about it while I’m working on it or how I feel when it’s complete?
Social media is great at rating your life, but what’s not great is stacking your worth against other people. Simply - it’s none of my business how many people like my dinner or my baby or my house or my outfit. My business is liking my own dinner and baby and house and outfit. I need to find satisfaction outside of an online yay or nay. I need to enjoy the act of living without approval on Instagram or facebook. I just need to live.