I’ve been thinking more about my friend’s reaction to my request that she write down her idea. Why she was so taken aback by it. Why she didn’t recognize writing down ideas, showing them to someone, and having them respond was ‘sharing ideas’.
Perhaps it was a new experience for her?
The dialogue that ensued has had me thinking, and as I said in the last post, it reminded me of a conversation with a gallery director. But there was more to that conversation than an exchange of words. There was validation.
I remember being surprised when she said:”If you write your ideas I’m sure people will be interested.”
I was surprised that she was saying people would find my ideas interesting.
I was surprised that she thought my ideas were worthy of being written.
I think my friend may have experienced a similar kind of surprise.
That surprise can generate all kinds of feelings. Feelings that throw us off-balance, rock our emotional base. With those feelings come a whole host of voices clamoring for first place.
There’s the feeling of inadequacy that pops up, and the voice in the head that says: “She’s just brushing me off. She’s not really interested.
She doesn’t want to listen to my idea. Why doesn’t she want to hear my idea? She thinks I’m not good.”
Then when you get that voice to stop yammering all that low self-esteem rubbish, there’s another voice that pops in and says: “Holy shit, she thinks my ideas are worth writing down. She thinks my ideas are good.”
And that’s just as hard to take as the “why doesn’t she want to hear my idea?” voice.
Suddenly, there’s the possibility that you might, just might be worth something after all. You might, just might have some value. You might, just might have a good idea. If you have a history of being squashed: shut up, put down, excluded, bullied – by mother, father, brother, sister, teacher, colleague, school mate, work mate – it’s bloody terrifying the first time you have the thought that you and your ideas might be valid.
When you push past the censors in your head, and write your ideas, there’s a while new world available to you – it’s the world you create when you write things down. Suddenly you aren’t lonely anymore, because you’ve got a great friend in your keyboard, or your notebook, a friend who will listen to you for more hours than you can talk. A friend who is always ready with an ear, even when you’re asleep. And the next thing you know, you have readers. People who actually read what you write. Or listen to you read it out loud.
And suddenly – someone is wanting to talk to you about their ideas, and you really do think their idea is worth something, so much so you want to spend time thinking about it, so you ask them to please write their idea and send it to you. And you remember…once upon a time, someone had to tell you to do that. And you realize that today you value yourself because someone once nudged you in that direction.
Yes, it’s nice to receive acknowledgment and external validation, yes it’s nice to get positive feedback on your efforts – but those things aren’t always there, and when they’re not you need the self-worth to carry on. Writing your ideas helps build a solid sense of self-worth.
Just do it!
Since I asked this person to write her idea, and gave her a basic outline, she has phoned me twice and sent me two emails, talking about everything but the idea! Why do you think that is?