In this extraordinary age of likes, followers, repins and shares, our ability to connect and engage 24/7 online can often make us forget that there is value beyond numbers and instant gratification. That these numbers in themselves mean so very little if you are not offering something authentic or if you are only posting something to generate something else. People feel the sham. They aren't stupid.
When I express anything on social media, it's because I genuinely feel the need to express that particular thing in that moment. The response to said post is secondary because it's not my business what others think of me. My business is being me as fully as I can be, and being willing to accept whatever might come along with that.
If I started to censor and cater my updates, writings, and/or pictures to what I thought others would like or prefer, much of what I've shared over the years would not have made the cut. I wouldn't have been able to even get to the really juicy stuff because I'd be muting the necessary steps along the way.
If I started to care more about your opinion than I do about mine, I'd be discounting and dishonouring my truth and would inevitably lose touch with it. I'd be chipping away pieces of myself bit by bit and for what exactly? More likes? Popularity? In the end it means so little and in the process I would have lost myself.
What means the most to me though, especially as a writer, is the freedom to express. Period. That is my gift to myself. The process of exploring my thoughts and feelings and making sense of my world through words is something I cannot help but do. And sharing these findings is my gift to the world. After that, it's not even my business what people take from it because I did my part. I shared my truth. And the people who are meant to read it, will. And one day it might be one person and another day it could be 20 or 100.
And none of that matters.
Because even when I had yet to become a public writer, when all of my words were contained in the hundreds of journals I amassed over the years, my truth was just as valid then, even without the external validation.
So to those of you who are putting out great stuff day in and day out and are feeling disheartened because you don't feel seen or valued or recognized or appreciated because the likes, followers, and feedback just aren't/isn't there yet, try to find a way to set that piece aside (just for now) while you focus more and more on your craft.
Your tribe will come.
I wrote daily for decades before anyone read any of it. And I started to share it with the world only when I was ready, and very, very slowly I might add.
Even now, after years of being a public writer, I don't have a large following. But I have a loyal one. An intelligent one. A phenomenal group of people who genuinely respect what I do and love to follow along as I move through life. And in all my years of sharing my heart on my personal page and my multiple public pages, I have NEVER received an ignorant, negative comment no matter what I posted.
Why? Because even when others disagree with me, they aren't dicks about it. They share their perspectives and we both learn and gain from the exchange, as does anyone else who happens to be following along. Or, they just don't say anything. They move along.
That being said, years ago I did receive lots of hate mail for things I wrote in my Mandyland column for Echo Weekly, but the readership of that magazine didn't include my tribe. The people who contacted me were not the same kind of people who would be drawn to Mandyland in the first place. You wouldn't find them on my friends list or on my public page and that's ok.
We're not meant to be for everybody.
We're meant to be ourselves fully and completely and see who lines up with that. I've had certain supporters for over 10 years now, and there are others who move in and out of my cyber sphere depending on what they're going through in their lives. I have no control over any of that.
But if I had to choose, I'd rather have the small, sacred and engaged following I have now, than 100,000 followers that don't give a damn. It's not about the numbers. Quality over quantity. The tribe will expand naturally over time, but in the meantime and for all time, all I can do is express honestly.
I don't do it for the likes. I don't do it for the feedback. I do it because I must. And I share it because it might resonate with someone else.
So whatever you do, do it because you love it. Do it because it's dancing inside of you just waiting to be born. Do it because it feels good. Do it because it's a great idea and the world deserves and needs to see/hear/taste or touch it.
And I promise you that over time, you will attract to you all the people who are ready to fall in love with all that you offer, simply because it came from your heart.
All my love,
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