Have you ever watched, read, or heard something that gave you chills, that burrowed its way right into your heart and nestled itself there for a while? Before you read this post, watch the short video below.
For years, I’ve struggled with my creative works. I never wanted to share my stories or poems for fear of harsh criticism. The strangest thing is that I was never concerned about cruel words from strangers; I was terrified of critique from my family and friends. Pretty backward, right?
Like Hannah Hart, I have a hard time with negativity, especially when it’s directed toward something I’m really excited about. And we’re not talking constructive criticism here, which is a useful and important part of the creative process. Over the years, I’ve had several friends who, when I shared with them a seedling of an idea I had, shot any ounce of creativity down swiftly and sharply. And of course, as soon as I heard their disparaging words, I internalized them and beat the idea down until it was nothing but a speck of dust on my shelf of Old Dreams.
Thankfully, the universe has a funny way of detoxifying your life, so I don’t have many of those people around me anymore. I’ve since stocked up on beautiful, supportive friends. Despite the damage that’s been done, set in near stone by those who have squashed my confidence in my ideas, I don’t want to harp about the naysayers. I’m learning to focus on the YAYsayers.
You know you’ve found your YAYsayers if:
- You can bounce nearly every idea you have off of them without fear of judgment
- They feel comfortable providing honest feedback (and you feel comfortable receiving it!)
- They support you in everything you do and help you to build whatever you’re working on in whatever way they can
- You feel completely at ease with them in almost every situation
You know you need to do a cleanse of the non-juice sort if:
- You feel drained every time you interact with someone
- You feel guilty or ashamed of yourself because of them
- They shut you down at every corner when you try to talk to them about anything, much less your creative ventures
- They make you feel inferior to them
This “detox” doesn’t necessarily mean cutting someone out of your life entirely (unless you feel so inclined to, because sometimes that’s exactly what’s needed). It just means that it’s time to scale back and reevaluate your relationship with this person. Is it worth feeling badly about yourself all the time? Is it worth abandoning what makes you feel alive? Are you missing out on creating the Next Big Thing because of this person?
I can’t tell you how many times particular people in my life have openly laughed in my face when I shared an idea with them. They rolled their eyes, chuckled, and dismissed me as if I were incapable of doing anything of merit, much less anything of merit they thought they could produce. These exchanges were hurtful, and though I’m sure not all of them were carried out with malicious intent, they still left their marks.
When I watched Hannah’s video, I realized that this is a pretty common thing for people. Of course I wasn’t naive enough to believe that sunshine and sparkles and positivity would follow me everywhere I went. I’d just never given much thought to the very real fact that there are people in this world out for blood, out for your success. I think of letting people in almost in a security checkpoint kind of way. They have to get their luggage out and then make it through the airport doors. They have to check their baggage to be sure it’s not too heavy and then make it through security. And finally, after waiting amidst hundreds of other passengers, they can board the plane, on the way to their final destination. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned from TSA, it’s this: don’t let the sketchy people trying to sneak things through past security.
What resonated with me about this video was the notion that one of the best things you can do for yourself is to carefully choose with whom you associate. Accepting that it’s okay to be selective when it comes to your personal bubble and who passes through it is challenging, especially when you have everyone and their mothers shouting at you to keep people in your life out of loyalty. Ask yourself this: is the person in question showing his or her “loyalty” to you by criticizing your every move and thought? Is that what love and acceptance looks like? If your answer is no, think on the relationship.
Yaysayers are the best kind of people. They’re those radiant, never-want-to-stop-talking-to-them, could-talk-about-peeling-wallpaper-and-still-be-interesting people. They’re the last people you want to leave after a long party. And you never tire of their kind words and loving, supportive natures. They feel like your favorite sweater and a cup of hot coffee on a cold winter’s day (or after a day that may as well have fallen in the winter season because of its stinging icicles jabbing at you on all sides). They’re a pan of your grandma’s fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies.
Now, doesn’t a snuggly sweater, a mug of coffee, and a plate of cookies sound divine? Yay-men to that.