The other day I was giving advice on disappointment with blogging awards, nominations, events that kind of thing and I said something along the lines of:
I’ve cried over all manner of awards, nominations or not awards or not nominations and it’s not a bad thing. Caring isn’t a bad thing. But at a certain point you have to accept that you can’t be any more or less than what you are. And you need to get right with that, regardless of external validation.
Isn’t that great advice? I thought so too. It’s all zen and shit.
The universe has a way of testing you when you get all zen and shit. So there was a mix up of some sort and something I got nominated for, I wasn’t listed along with everyone else. Blah blah blah freaking blah, very boring. Not worth the email to fix it up. So now I get to take my own advice.
It reminds me of an old study I read about reinforcing stereotypes. Something along the lines that if you have an idea in your head – could be anything – but for the sake of argument we’ll say that all children have poor manners – then everytime you see a child not using their manners you will file that away as proving the idea in your head and anytime you see a child using their manners you will ignore it because it doesn’t fit with your pre-existing idea. This is how prejudice and bias thrive so well, because our ideas are actually not challenged by our experience if we are left to our own devices.
Which gets me back to validation. It can be easy with blogs or really any creative pursuit to allow the negative things that happen or the disappointment of being passed over to confirm our own insecurities and ignore all the positive things that don’t feed that. Because somehow negativity can really tap into that weak spot. It finds that deep, green wound that you have that will always hurt and never heal. And yet, in contrast we rarely let the positive stuff in. Because we are humble (or trying to be), or embarrassed or uncomfortable we brush it off or we minimise it – but rarely do we just bask in it like sunshine.
If someone says to you ‘I love the way you write’ do you really let that sink in? Do you think about how amazing it is that your words have travelled out into the big wide world and hooked someone else’s heart or imagination or mind? Do you think about how every time you write something you are making someone else smile? Do you come back to it when you are having a crappy day to remind yourself how fantastic it is? Or do you tell yourself that they are just being nice?
I’ve never won a blogging award. I’ve been nominated and been a finalist, both which are always very cool and exciting. But when all of that is done, there’s someone who wants me to write them a sentence, often just one. Something that might make them feel more connected, less alone, inspired or even give voice to something they had struggled to say.
What a great honour that is.