Ever found yourself engrossed in something that makes you feel alive? Has sharing this special thing with people turned it sour? Somewhere along the lines, have you ever thought, “maybe this isn’t for me”? Yeah? Well I’ve been there too.
One problem with many people is that we give our opinion when it isn’t wanted. Another problem with people is that we ask for opinions we don’t always want. See the dilemma here?
Over the Christmas period I was watching a show called The Secret Life of 4, 5 and 6 year olds: a documentary on Channel 4 that studies the behaviours of children, looking closely at how they interact with each other. When I first started watching I was fascinated by how much of our character can be revealed at such a young age. It made me think back to myself as a four-year-old and from the little I remember, I could identify with some of the children on the show, whilst others reminded me of past/current friends and family members. One thing that stood out to me in almost every episode was how much most children value the approval of others.
As we grow and mature (hopefully) we learn to value ourselves and disregard what other people may think of us, but there is always this underlying, internal desire for others to like us as much as we do (sometimes even more) that seems to have been rooted in us at this young, tender age.
It’s very common for someone to find a new hobby or passion that really excites them, then share their ideas and goals with people and be completely shut down. Fact of the matter is this:
- Not everyone will like what you like
- Not everyone will accept what you do
- Not everyone will understand your vision
You should already know this, if you didn’t: you’re welcome.
Being admired and appreciated by our peers is a great feeling, there’s no denying it. But being dependent on such is dangerous. If you allow people to build the foundation on which you stand, you give them the right to bring you down. It’s important to have enough self-confidence to be able to support and encourage yourself- I spoke about this here: Petty Purge.
With that being said, negativity is not something we can run away from. As long as we are around people, we are bound to be hit with criticism at some point in our lives, often more times than we would like. Sometimes, this negativity and criticism is internal: we allow our doubts and fears to have power over us and control our thoughts. Everyone will go through different obstacles and each will need its own method of recovery- we must learn to deal with this in a way that works for us. Here are a few things that work for me:
- Keep a log of major milestones/achievements
Your past success can motivate you towards future success
- Remind yourself of why you started
If you have a genuine passion and desire for something, reminding yourself of the reason should help to ignite the fire in you again and motivate you despite the discouragement you may be receiving
- Be the light
When you feel as though you are completely surrounded by discouragement, sometimes being the ‘encourager’ can help to change the tone of the people around you.
“Be the change that you want to see in the world”
- Stop comparing
Easier said than done, but learn to be inspired by the works of others rather than discouraged. If you focus your time and energy on yourself and your craft, chances are, you won’t have a lot of time to spend wallowing in self-pity and comparing your situation to the little you can see of someone else’s. I spoke more on this topic here: Your Race, Your Pace…
- Quit tracking
Stop counting the number of hours, days, months and years you may have put into something without seeing tangible results. Instead, keep working at it until there is absolutely nothing more you can do, then, and only then can you decide that maybe it wasn’t for you after all. This way you haven’t given up, you’ve seen it through to the end and developed perseverance; there is always something to gain so try not to view it as a wasted investment.
Feedback can be harsh and our natural reaction can be to ignore it because we don’t like the way it made us feel. But don’t be quick to dismiss criticism, after all, you asked for it! No one has ever become successful by surrounding themselves with a group of yes men. Hidden beneath the rude words and insensitive thoughts could be something useful that you hadn’t considered before- major keys are at risk of being lost if you let your feelings get in the way.
- Feed your spirit
Keeping the faith can be difficult at times, but making the conscious effort to stay connected to God can help you to stay positive in a variety of ways. First of all, taking the time to pray and thank God for your blessings will remind you of how far you’ve come and encourage you to keep going. Reading God’s word will remind you of His power and promises for your life which can encourage you to either keep going, or find something else that is meant for you. Finally, sharing your testimony whilst sharing His word with other people does all of the above while blessing those around you.
I hope this has helped you, even if it’s just a little bit!