When I first started inviting people to like my “Writer Facebook Page” a person I’ve known since childhood, a home-towner, posted a comment. They asked if I was planning to “just write about my life or if I was going to write about something good.” I have to admit that it stung. Not that any one person’s opinion makes a real difference in what I do or don’t do, but because I still have that nagging Voice that sounds exactly like me, telling me that I’m not that important. It says that nobody wants to hear what I have to say, that it doesn’t matter…that I…don’t matter.
The statement rolled around so much in my overtaxed brain that I could quote it verbatim even though I deleted it right away. My first thought was filled with some not very nice expletives (okay majorly-hateful profanity) and my second was Oh My God I’m still an insecure basketcase.
It took a little more than a week for the message of that Voice to change. A few mornings ago, amidst the stress of packing for a short getaway It began telling me new things. Three very profound things.
Write what you know.
I’ve heard that a hundred times, but it never struck me quite the same way as it did today. What do I know? I know my own experience. I’m the only one uniquely qualified to tell it. I know that sharing my experience (a wealth of it I might add) will likely help others. I’ve seen it happen. Pain, suffering, anxiety, depression, loss, fear, jealousy, insecurity, loneliness and addiction have all been my companions at various times during the journey of my life. Negative thinking and living were habitual for me. When I came to learn that even negativity is just another habit that can be broken with practice, I was able to let joy, love, faith, gratitude, peace, happiness, companionship, connectedness and recovery become a part of my story. Through writing I am able to relate exactly how I do it.
It’s not about what somebody else wants to read, but what you need to write.
Maybe I’ll have spent the time writing this short essay to have it seen by only my eyes. That’s okay because already, the mere action of writing it has morphed that nasty feeling from insecurity to gratitude. I again feel connected to the rest of humanity, knowing that we all share in this collective adventure of life, instead of being alone in the unfounded belief that I don’t have value.
Not everybody has to like you.
Last but not least, a sentiment that even my twelve-year old daughter has been able to grasp. Throughout my life I would say that if there were 100 people in a room, 99 of whom loved me and 1 who didn’t, I’d believe that the 1 must know the truth about me. Of course that’s not it, the truth has more to do with chemistry or lack there of. Or maybe there’s a case of “there’s something about you that I don’t like about myself.” Either way, today I’ll just stick with the 99 who love me.
A statement that initially hurt because I remember feeling worthless has now become fuel for me to continue to share my experience, strength and hope. So to the person who flung negativity at me, I send it back with gratitude. And I say thank you.