The other night, my friend mentioned that she started reading my previous blog post and stopped midway because it didn’t “feel like me”. She sensed something was up because my writing seemed to diverge from my regular inspirational, profound, and more positive type of posts. I was aware of two very conflicting feelings in my body when she gave me her feedback: pride and embarrassement.
The remark landed immediately, capturing my attention because it was feedback regarding something I wrote and I was going to hear how it had impacted someone other than me. I was excited to hear her thoughts and I felt my ears perk up as she started to talk. I felt my posture strengthen and elongate when I began to hear her tell me quite the opposite of what I was expecting, that it had a minimal impact on her as my other posts had done in the past. I puffed my chest out, holding on to every ounce of pride I had. It expanded as I started to get defensive, ready to attack and defend my deflated ego.
“Ohhh noooo, that’s the thing, it’s NOT supposed to be like my other posts! It’s not meant to be inspiring or for others. It’s supposed to be just for ME, where I’m being as vulnerable as possible. In fact I wrote whatever was on my mind with the intention of NOT giving a fuck if others liked it. That was the exercise I gave myself, so I’m glad it worked and you’re not so into it” I told her, surprised by my own zeal to prove my point. But then as I said my last words, I started feeling afraid. Somewhere in my body, an old pattern had been triggered and took the form of fear. I began doubting myself and started to actually get embarassed because being OK with disapproval was not who I was and it felt very out of my comfort zone. I felt the discomfort of the lack of validation, not being liked (the way I needed to be) and because I didn’t know how to deal with any of it, my mind began scurrying for ways to edit the content so I can make it better or even “fix” what was wrong with it. I began fantasizing about the ways I can rewrite it so that it can fit someone else’s standard (of my writing style).
Although we had moved on and were onto a new topic, I was still feeling the sting of our conversation. I was listening to my body and it was telling me I needed to pay attention to its message and reflect on it. This incidence made me think about how I seek validation from others to feel good about myself. It also helped me see how afraid and uncertain I am of my power. But the best part about it was that I had stayed true to myself and focused more on writing for ME instead of for the perceived audience I think I have. And the fact that my friend wasn’t crazy about it made me feel even more accomplished and secure. I was proud that my post didn’t appeal to her. And in that moment, for the first time, it didn’t matter whether she liked it or not, or if it was good or bad. What mattered was that I thought it was good enough and that we were able to discuss our conflicting views openly and lovingly. The “conflict” was no longer threatening to me. I wasn’t ashamed of my abilities, instead I was confident.
But like I said, that bubble was burst real fast because my ego made sure to put me in check and remind me I was stepping out of line and shouldn’t be so bold with my opinions. How dare I not give a fuck about what people think? Well, what if I start standing in my light and power a minute longer every time I start to feel my old self come knocking on the door, pointing to her wrist indicating that it’s time’s up for the new me? What if I just NOT give a fuck a little more every time someone doesn’t like what I did or said? Seems like I’d be minding my own business and life would be that much simpler.