A few weeks back, when my blog “I want to ask my child a different question” reached my husband’s inbox, he really liked it and shared it on Facebook. I am not on Facebook and as far as I know this was perhaps my first post shared on their platform. While the post didn’t go viral by any means, it clearly had more visibility than me sharing my posts to my blog subscribers and sometimes on twitter. That’s the extent of sharing my work that I typically do.
It was humbling to see all the “likes”, “shares”, “comments” and the conversations that followed the post. I also received a few positive messages from people on my phone. There were also some messages of explicit and implicit disagreement or disapproval on the content of what I had written which in many ways was expected as I was questioning the status quo and I should have expected it yet there was some discomfort. The likes pumped up my ego and the criticism instantly took me to a place of self –doubt. Thank fully those emotions didn’t last forever… However,I wish I could say I am completely detached from praise and criticism and I can confidently say that I am still many steps away from that level of enlightenment and it’s a work in progress.
I learnt that I am a lot more comfortable writing very personal stories and putting them on my blog but letting my work be seen is deeply uncomfortable. I struggle with being visible or the center of attention. Promoting and sharing my work is incredibly unnatural for me and something I invest very little time in. As I have had a few weeks to process on the WHY behind this, a few themes have emerged –
There is a lot of fear beneath the surface. Fear of the consequences of breaking norms, questioning the status quo and speaking what’s important to me. I fear being judged, analyzed & misunderstood and not being loved as much. It is much easier to share my work with people who will agree and appreciate than with people who won’t. Somewhere, my ego want my words to be validated and keeps telling me that my self-worth and the worth of my ideas hinges on what other people think about my writing. Yet, my wise self doesn’t like that inner critic who gets so deeply insecure and is kind to remind me that no matter what people think about my work, I need to continue writing, create my art and share it.
Ironically, one of the core guiding principles of my writing is to speak my truth, my heart’s deepest beliefs in the quest that it gives people the permission and space to find their own truth and that means many, many people will and rather SHOULD disagree with what I have to say, question my words and beliefs so they find what’s important to them. I really believe in what I have to say not in a way to prove that my views are better than others but to add my voice to the conversations in the world and the only way I can do that is to let my work be seen, to be okay with the consequences and to contribute to the world of writing. Yet, it is deeply uncomfortable…
This is perhaps what’s needed for me to grow as a human, as a blogger – put my work out there and let the world see so I can practice being comfortable with my fears, so I can continue to write even when no one is listening or no one cares or everyone likes or everyone disagrees to remind myself that I write because it is important to me. I need to learn to love myself despite my fears and practice not being attached to the outcomes of my work but let my words see the light of day and trust that they will reach and flow where they need to go. Yet, I need to do the work of giving them some direction so they can reach new audiences.
I am not ready to activate my Facebook account yet but feel a lot more comfortable creating an account for this blog. Perhaps, I start there? Perhaps, I add ways (with integrity) for my subscribers to share the blog with their friends and other people who may find the content useful? Perhaps, its creating an account on Medium or adding this part of my identity to my LinkedIn profile. Then, there is also the struggle with time, I dedicate a limited # of hours to this work every week and I enjoy writing much more than sharing and promoting my work yet I know that is part of my work… My struggle continues …
Perhaps, I need to be more open to ways to add my voice in the world…
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