I feel a vulnerability hangover coming on and I haven’t even been vulnerable yet today. So what do you do when you share something highly personal (not private but personal because you created it) with someone very important to you and you don’t get the reaction you’d hoped for? What if your creation is a presentation that was developed in order to be shared with a large group in a competition?
In a previous post I talked about becoming detached from the approval of others who maybe aren’t the most important people in our lives. I called them “bit players”. I didn’t mention the stars though. The people who occupy the lead roles in our lives. How can you get through life without needing their approval? After all, if you’ve done the work of developing a close relationship with someone, you go to them for advice and their opinion matters. If you share something with them and they don’t affirm you in it in the way you’d hoped for, and it’s too late to change anything, what do you do?
Apparently if you’re me, you get discouraged. You get tongue-tied. You cry, have a mini-temper tantrum, and then panic because you’re just discovered that you’re about to be forced to give a presentation of work that you were proud of and now, just hours later, you consider to be the foulest steaming slice of excrement ever to be written and/or spoken. Then you fall into a fitful sleep at 9:30pm, wake up at 1:00am and toss and turn the rest of the night, panicking all over again each time you remember that your creativity sucks eggs.
If you’re me, you tell yourself you can quit, then you remind yourself that would be ridiculous. You tell yourself it’s just a silly little contest and means nothing in the grand scheme of things. It’s just five minutes early in the morning and it will be over. You tell yourself to just get through it. You tell yourself that you should let someone else win this year anyway. Then you cry. Then, slowly, you realize that you’re doing it again. You’re expecting – no, you’re demanding perfection. You’ve lost all the joy in creating because everything always has to be perfect, except nothing is ever perfect. You think about how much fun it was to put this presentation together and how excited you were about giving it and you want that feeling back.
You consider staying in bed when the alarm goes off, under the covers, hiding in sleep, avoiding. You get up anyway. You consider just playing around on Facebook instead of writing. You flirt with that idea but that feels too much like failure. You turn on the music and write anyway. All of a sudden you’ve hit your target and that feels a little better. You decide you’ll go on with your competition and just have fun with it and stop expecting so much out of yourself and out of the dramatic leads in your life. You’d love to have the star of your life think your creation was the best thing you’d ever conceived of, but you decide that it just isn’t going to be necessary this time. You start to feel better, even in the midst of your insecurities and you decide *once again* that insecurities, dealt with in a rational way, can be part of a healthy and successful life. You decide again to live in the tension and messiness and beauty of self-acceptance.