Why I shouldn’t care what you think

Come Blog With Me – Day 23

We know we shouldn’t, but we do. We care what other people think of us and the things we do.

We’re pleased when others notice something good we’ve done. And we feel horrible when people laugh at us or disapprove of us.

And often it can shape the choices we make, it can influence how visible we let ourselves be when pursuing our dreams or personal projects.

I’m very susceptible to people telling me I did a great job and they’d like me to carry on working with them. I enjoy being helpful. And as a freelancer, it’s important that my clients like the work I do and want to send more work my way. But sometimes taking on more of a certain type of project isn’t the right thing for me.

I’m also very sensitive to criticism and perceived ridicule. I hate that feeling when I’ve shared an idea I’m enthusiastic about and get the reaction “you want to do what? That’s just silly.” Or when I feel like people are laughing at something I’ve created that’s come from my own imagination – the name of a business, or the posts in a blog for example. It’s like they’re laughing at me, at my personality and sense of self.

I’m getting better at not letting the flattery of people I’ve worked for take precedence over my own priorities – I’ve been asked to extend most of the contracts I’ve done in the last 6 years, and said no to continuing to work with all but one of those companies, because I had other projects I wanted to work on.

But letting go of the perceptions of others about my creative work is much harder. Anything creative needs an audience to read or admire it in order for it to have a point. So it feels as if I need people to approve or like what I choose to create. When the truth is that I really write and take photos for me, not for anyone else – and I happen to share some of that with the outside world.

I know I am thorough and efficient in my working life. And I enjoy the things I write in my creative life. And that should be enough. I shouldn’t care what you think. I do. But I shouldn’t. And I’m working on that.

Photo: “Penguin Ignoring Me” taken at Living Coasts in Torquay.

Penguin ignoring me

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