I recently was feeling rather restless. It went on for a period of days, despite being very productive and active during those days.
I was contemplating multiple things at once, so it was like I had a background program running no matter what I was doing.
I was thinking about how I spend my time, what’s the best use of my time related to my business, and how I measure and discern what’s the best use.
I think it came on because some of my recent business efforts and essays weren’t receiving any traction. Traction in the form of being seen online, receiving comments, or resulting in any new clients. I didn’t want to care. To care felt shallow. I want to solely be motivated by my passions. I want to wake up and write about what excites me.
However, when I share what excites me and it doesn’t excite anyone else… I start to question myself.
I think it’s natural. To want human connection. To want to be seen, heard, understood, and valued. To feel that spark of excitement with another.
Most of the time, I keep my excitement to myself. I spend hours ripping out images from books and magazines that delight me, cutting them out to my preferred size, and then pasting them into collages. No one sees me doing this and few see the results (apart from the ones that accompany my essays that I share).
I do it for me, and I love it. My art feels more special that way. When I’m not trying to take perfect instagrammable pictures and share it.
When I don’t have to worry about validation or encouragement for others.
In my own protected bubble it is mine and solely mine. My excitement is protected.
Some of my most painful moments have been when I’ve shared something I’m deeply passionate about and the other person doesn’t get it. Or their response is neutral. Or disinterested. Or worse, criticize it. Or tear it down in some capacity.
It sucks the life force out of me. I wish it didn’t. I wish I didn’t care what others think.
I don’t care what others think when I keep it to myself. When I pursue my passions in the privacy of my own home, such as the gloriousness of a smorgasbord of food laid out in front of me as I sit down to watch a good show. Or dancing along to the Just Dance App. Or making brainstorming maps about something I’m thinking about. Or organizing my art in some new clever way.
These things delight me. I do not share them with others. I just experience them and that is enough for me.
It is when I choose to share it with others that I care what others think. That makes sense. I usually share something with others when I want them to care.
For example, I share all of my essays about art therapy, private practice, autism, and mental health because I want people to read them. I am usually trying to point out things that I feel are important. I’ve even written essays about WHY I share essays and what I hope those essays accomplish.
So of course I care. I want my essays to resonate and uplift. When they don’t … it doesn’t feel good.
My love of black and white thinking wants to declare, “Well how about you never care then, Jackie!” But that simply isn’t realistic or life. I do not want to contort into a robot.
So I choose to navigate the grey. I accept the risk and fear that comes with sharing. It also means I accept the good that comes.
By and large, the good overtakes any negativities. I’ve had far more positive responses to my passionate essays than anything negative. This is what I have to work to remind my mind. I have to work for my mind to not fixate on the negatives and draw all of the connected negative thoughts to the surface.
I know that when I’m sharing something I’m passionate about, I’m hyper-sensitive to others’ reactions because I’m so passionate about the thing. It raises the risk.
And while I could choose to never share those things, it’s a risk I’m willing to accept.