Using your voice and speaking your mind

And sometimes you realise that you’ve changed. Maybe few years ago or even just last year you’d have said nothing, said it was fine and pushed how you felt aside. You may have been upset, hurt or just frustrated but you were too afraid to show it for fear of your feelings being invalidated.

But now you’re different, you’re not waiting for someone else and you’re not relying on validation. It probably feels empowering because after all this time you’re finally using your voice and speaking your mind.

For everyone else in your life, this may come as a shock because they’re so used to you hiding away and being okay with everything. The shock of others can be enough for some to revert to their old ways, especially if there is a fear of losing people. However, speaking your mind is important, you don’t need to be in a constant state of ‘good’, ‘fine’, ‘not too bad’ or ‘alright’.

Maybe you’re not alright and of course you’ll feel better later but why not honour how you feel in the moment and express it.

When can I call myself a writer?

As someone that has never written for a publication or written a book, I have a hard time calling myself a writer.

I’ve always thought that having my words published in a newspaper, magazine, website or a book etc. would be the validation that I need to claim the label of writer, yet they are not things I actively pursue.

I think this is because when you do something for the love of it, trying to make it anything more is scary. There is also the fear of not being good enough, of my writing not being good enough for someone else to want to share it with a wider audience.

And part of having fear and being scared has resulted in me not putting myself in a position to receive feedback.

So overtime I have come to realise that the issue is not that I can’t call myself a writer, it’s that I didn’t meet the criteria of what I thought a writer should be. But further to that I am not yet the sort of writer that I aspire to be.

Feedback and praise

I think most people like receiving praise. Not necessarily in front of a large crowd with the spotlight shining down but to simply be told you did something well is more than enough.

Many people go around thinking they’re subpar and for them praise serves as a reminder that they’re doing okay. It can be difficult to tell yourself that you did a good job, perhaps it feels big headed or self indulgent.

Feedback on the other hand can be difficult to take from others but easy to give to yourself.

It feels good to be told that you did something well but it isn’t always easy to hear what you need to work on from other people.

Afterall, how could this person know what you’ve been through and have they considered that you’re doing your best.

This observation of how we take in praise and feedback is simply a reminder not to cling too much to opinions and perceptions, not even even your own.

Wanting to be included

Sometimes we want to be included because we want to join in and be apart of it.

Other times we want to be included for the sake of being included.

We want to know that we’re being thought of, that someone wants us to be involved and maybe a small part of it is the feeling of external validation.

It feels good to be picked and to feel wanted.

Even when you don’t actually want to join in.

What do these likes mean to me?

It doesn’t feel particularly good when you upload a picture on Instagram and it gets significantly lower likes than usual. You didn’t post it for the likes but you hoped it would perform as good as usual or at least only slightly lower.

But when your image gets 40% of your average likes, you can’t help but start to question things.

Why is nobody liking my picture?

Did I post at the wrong time?

Was my picture really that bad?

Maybe if I come off Instagram for a little while the likes will be there when I go back to it.

As humans many of us have this habit of attaching meaning and feelings to situations that could be totally neutral. Share a picture because you want to share it and leave it at that.

If you feel some type of way about the numbers of likes you’ve gotten ask yourself ‘What do these likes mean to me?

Often the answer is some form of validation, that what you’ve shared is good enough. Many of us take it one step further and attach that validation to our sense of self.