When you’re putting out work out there having people support you enough to promote your work takes trust.
Trust is something that is earned, yet many people expect it simply because they’re putting in time and effort.
However, earning someone’s trust isn’t just about what you do, it’s about how a person feels about what you do.
You can end up sacrificing the work you want to create by trying to appease people in the hopes of gaining their trust. But I think it’s actually really important to start by trusting yourself and the work you’re putting out.
Something as simple as taking a step back and asking yourself questions like ‘Would I share this online if I saw it?’ or ‘Is this something I would talk about?’ can be incredibly useful.
If you can honestly answer yes to both of those questions then maybe the reason people aren’t sharing or talking about your work is because they don’t trust you yet.
Keep working and give it time.
All decisions about whether or not you should do something come down to yes or no questions.
Should I move to another city?
Should I cut my hair short?
Should I ask him out to dinner?
The questions on their own are simple but when we add in context, feelings and fears we make it much more complicated. Granted, context can be helpful because if the person you’re considering asking to dinner is in a relationship, it’s probably best not to bother.
However, the added information can also be unhelpful.
Take moving to another city, you might be super excited but also kind of scared because of the uncertainty, even though you feel like you need a change.
When you allow feelings related to fear to be at the forefront of your mind, it can often hinder your ability to make decisions.
So sometimes it’s best to remove all the details and ask yourself a simple question. Answer yes or no, stick with it and move forward.
If you find yourself experiencing a difficult situation, similar to something you have faced in your past you have the opportunity to handle it differently and with new knowledge and experience.
Don’t just caught up in the thought of ‘why is this happening to me again?’. Instead thing about what you can do to get the outcome you desire.
Answer the questions:
What did you do last time?
What did you want to happen?
What was the outcome?
What can you do differently this time?
Even if things don’t turn out perfectly, it’ll feel good to know that you handled things better than you did in the past
What does freedom feel like to you?
More specifically what sort of life does it consist of?
Perhaps it’s less work and more time for creative pursuits. Maybe spending time less time with people that judge and criticise you. It could be feeling like you have options and not feeling obligated to do certain things. It could be more of that feeling you get when you’re around the people you love.
The feeling of freedom is easy to create in some areas of your life for example simply stop spending time with people you don’t feel good around. But on the flipside it might be slightly more challenging.
If those questions aren’t easy to answer, it’s something worth giving them some thought.
Once you have an answer, think about how much it aligns with your current life.
If gap between them is wide, what can you do to change that?
In some situations you might find that that there is a discord between what you want and the outcome you get.
If you’re unsure if this applies to you, think about some of your recent encounters with people.
What did you want?
What was the outcome?
Were you happy with the way things turned out?
It’s worth noting that what you want and the outcome don’t have to align completely. Sometimes you end up happy with the way things turn out even when it’s different to what you originally wanted.
But when you find yourself discontent with the outcome, the reason more often than you might think is your choice of words.
People often talk about how it’s good to open up, to let people know how you feel and be vulnerable.
However, it’s important to add if you don’t take the time to word things thoughtfully the outcome can be just as unhelpful as it would be if you say nothing at all.
A message I’m always keen to get across is that as much as it’s important to open up, what matters even more is that you do it with the right people.
For some that may be obvious but others might find themselves wondering who qualifies as ‘right’.
It really depends on the individual.
However, there are a few questions you can ask yourself like…
How do I want to feel when I open up?
What do I want from the person I open up to?
Then come up with the answers and think about the people you know that align with this.
For example, if what you want from the person you open up to is emotional support and a listening ear, it’s no use opening up to someone who is just going to tell you what to do. Or if you want to feel calm and supported it’s no use talking to someone that leaves you feeling anxious.
Further to that think about your past experiences. Can you think of a time you opened up to someone and regretted it? Can you think of a time you were glad you opened up to someone?
I’ve found that these types of situations, when you know what you want, you’ll know what you’re willing to accept.
Sometimes that means being a little more picky about who you choose to open to.
That was the prompt in a self-help book I read around 6 or 7 years ago.
It was followed by questions like:
- How would you behave?
- How would your relationships change?
- What would it allow you to do?
I think it’s a helpful set of words to get you thinking about how you might be limiting yourself.
As human beings we often fall into thinking that we have to wait until we’re confident to live our lives the way we want. But actually it’s the other way round.
You have to start living your life first and then the confidence will follow.
When you feel low or sad about something it can be difficult to know what t do with the feeling. After all you don’t want to feel it, you’d much rather the sadness just left you alone.
But the thing with difficult feelings and feelings in general is that they don’t leave if you don’t allow yourself to feel them.
And then there is the question of how do you feel your feelings.
I don’t think there is a set answer of how but I’ll share what works for me.
Writing is incredibly therapeutic, I do it everyday.
Writing allows you to explore yourself freely and can be used as a tool to express how you feel. If you’re feeling hurt you can write about it. But you can also ask yourself questions like ‘why does this bother me?’ or ‘what would make me feel better right now?’ and then write until you have some kind of answer or at least until your mood has shifted.
I think the idea of being curious is something often associated with childhood. You think of being at a young age where you have lots of questions and so you ask them not really thinking about whether or not you should.
But then we get older, for a large majority of people asking questions is seen as a bad thing. It’s considered nosy.
I think being curious is a good thing. It helps us learn and grow.
Plus, in many situations although there are almost unspoken rules about not asking questions, the truth is that asking might actually benefit you.
It might feel like you’re being an inconvenience but if you don’t understand something or you want to know more, why should you stay quiet. This of course does not apply to asking questions that can be answered by a quick google. Those questions are more about laziness than curiosity.
I’m thinking more of the questions with answers that will provide knowledge.
Maybe it’s a question about yourself. Maybe you ask someone if there’s anything you can do to help them.
Anyway the point is curiosity isn’t a bad thing, it’s human nature. It comes in more forms than just asking questions, it’s also about exploration and openness.
Curiosity is an aspect of myself I’ve been making more of an effort to embrace and it’s paying off.
When it comes to opening up, do you know what you need in order to feel safe?
A starting point is to ask yourself ‘Will what I am about to say be handled with care?’
I’ve learnt that people often hold their challenges dear. Even if it’s not deeply affecting them now they still require a level of care when it’s being discussed.
For example, you probably want more than just ‘oh wow, glad you’re okay’ when opening up about a past period of depression.
Another question to ask is ‘What do I want from this situation?’
Many times when we open up to people, we want something particular from them in return. But often we don’t realise until it’s too late.
A common example is discussing an issue you’re having and getting annoyed when the other person tries to offer advice or tell you what to do. Turns out you just wanted someone to listen.
And so overall, creating a safe space is a combination of knowing what makes you feel safe, voicing what you need and (as always) picking the right people.