8 Dec 2020

I occasionally comment on blogs and have written a couple and am interested in my reactions after having done so. How lovely it is to get positive comments or someone picking up a thread and expanding on it or just a ‘Me too’. But the opposite is also true; when it gets lost in the general commentary or goes unremarked, I notice a part of myself thinking that I must have said something irrelevant or stupid or narcissistic. Which sets off self recriminations or disconnection or withdrawal. I am generally more confident than I used to be, but observe how easily I can be triggered into old thought patterns and reactions that originate in childhood and family dysfunction.

There were a lot of critical comments and a culture of ganging up and humiliation growing up. I remember singing aloud aged 6 or 7 and my mother and older sister falling about laughing at me and I have never felt comfortable singing alone (except on my own) since. Even singing with others, although I enjoy it, brings up a pervading sadness and a near to tears feeling. That is only one of many instances which cumulatively have a potentially devastating effect on the sense of self. I am quite sure this is true for many others too.

I want to be free of those old reservoirs of negative emotion, so I try to be compassionate to the bruised parts of myself that I carry, (often in disguise so they are not obvious to the casual observer), and to encourage and look after them and allow them an occasional outing, without fear of scorn or unkindness. I want to understand and accept the need I have and we probably all have, for affirmation, to feel heard and seen and validated. Even better, to do the affirmations for myself, so that any 'Me too’ responses, are a bonus rather than a necessity. And that when overt positive comments are not present, it doesn’t automatically mean disapproval or censure. Ultimately it would be splendid, even in the face of actual negative feedback, not to be decimated, but to know that it doesn’t matter; it is difference not wrongness and we are all allowed to have differing views and ideas, without it being an absolute judgement on any of us. Nothing is to everyone’s taste.

I have been writing all my life but seldom finished things until recently and never tried for publication or entered writing competitions and now I want to change that and have courage. To be secure in trying and not doomed to inactivity or lack of participation, by being moored to insecurities and fear of failure. The pleasure is in the act of writing and though acclaim would be very pleasurable, acclaim, like criticism, is not the main point. And I think it may be the same with the act of living; to trust ourselves to take risks and be robust and self-nurturing so that we are ok, whatever the outcome.


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