It can be a really scary feeling to share what you care about. Whatever kind of passion it is – writing (yes, hi!), photography, performance, coaching, building businesses, organising other people’s closets Marie Kondo-style, to name just a few out of an infinite amount – sharing it as something you care about, and put significant time and effort into, can feel confronting.
One of the reasons I’ve noticed for this is a fear of rejection. What happens if we admit “I care about this and have invested time and energy into practicing this, doing this, creating this” and someone doesn’t like it? One of the things I had to overcome in starting my own business and sharing publicly was the hesitance stemming from the fear that people I know *gasp, the horror* could see me ‘try this thing out’ and potentially not be super successful with it. That fear, once acknowledged by me, dripped away the more I went all in with what I’m doing. (Side note: the more all in you are with something, the more likely you are to succeed in it. Plus, success is a subjective experience. Forget the haters.)
Another reason that others have shared with me is a hesitance to receive acknowledgment, or being seen to be asking for praise. There are several things that could be going on here:
Firstly, there’s the self-worth element. Who am I to be asking for people to like this?
Here’s your answer. You are you, and nobody can do anything quite like you can, in the way you can.
Secondly, is the resistance to be seen as self-important. I totally get it. You have this thing you love doing but you don’t really care for the praise because you do it for the love of it. Also, and linked to the previous point, having it acknowledged makes you feel like you’re asking for acknowledgment and that makes you feel a little uncomfortable. I hear you. I get it. But… and I say this with love… you should consider getting over that. If anything, because when someone gives you a compliment or supports your work, and you reject that, you’re shutting them down.
Don’t minimise another’s views and perspectives just because they happen to be about your work. Privilege others with their own feelings, even if that feeling is support for you. Who are you to tell them they’re wrong to love what you do?
It’s not all about you
If you feel a bit put out by that, I would suggest it’s likely because it’s speaking to something within you that needs to hear it. The reason you do what you do – your art, your side (or real) work, your whatever it may be – should be about you, for sure. I could wax lyrical about why it’s so important to follow through with what fills you up, drives you, fuels your passion.
Beyond that though, when you share, you’re sharing because it’s something that lights you up. Your decision to share shouldn’t be about either seeking validation OR avoidance of praise. But consider this: when you share something you love, it gives others permission to do the same. In essence, you’re carrying out a really important social responsibility (if your values are similar to mine, at least) that creates more space in the world for inspiration. The work itself shouldn’t necessarily be created with the purpose to inspire, especially if it doesn’t bring joy, but the sharing holds that power.
Consider when you’ve seen another’s work, even if it’s not in your repertoire of preferences yourself, that hits that button within you and makes you go “Shit, I really want to work on this thing I love.” Then suddenly, you’ve got a little more drive to get to work on your creation. Doesn’t that make you feel good and purposeful? Exactly! I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve seen someone else’s photos, not being a photographer in any way myself, where it’s made a difference in how I feel about creating more of my own stuff. You never know which of your work has the same affect on someone else.
In short, create for the sake of creating. Do it for you, because you’re the one who cares about it. But please, for the love of all that is good in the world, please consider sharing it. There are people out there (like me) who are aching to see, feel, hear, and experience more of that passion in this life.