True story: it took me 7 years to finish the film Blessed Child (a story about leaving the religious movement I was raised in), not because I was so busy working on it all the time but, mostly, because I was so busy fretting about what other people would think all the time.
I was especially terrified about what my parents would think (thankfully we got through it all with love). But I was also scared sh-tless about what the broader world (especially the faceless online world) would say. I feared they would call me narcissistic, shameful, bad etc. And guess what?
While the vast majority of the response to the film has been more positive than I could have hoped for, there were some mean-y things said by the critics, by others in the community I was raised in and even old friends.
Even though I knew this would come, this was all a bit unnerving at first for someone who has been a pleaser-A-student-sunday-
Have you also been shaking in your boots about sharing a story, an article, a social media post out of fear of what people will think or say?
Some say that if you have haters it means you are actually saying something. Some say that the critics are just talking about themselves. But what has helped me navigate all this more than anything is to hold onto something bigger than it all: my message. In the case of my film, it was about the power of truth to both free us and bring us closer to the people we love.
I cannot promise you that if you speak what you are here to say that people may also not like you. They may not. And some may say mean things. But I can tell you that, if you share who you are in service of something bigger than you, it is likely that many more people will be positively impacted than not. And if there is one invitation I have for anyone also fretting to share who you are in the world, it’s this: find a message that is bigger than your fear.
Find a message you can lean on when you get lost in what you’re trying to say. Find a message that can guide you when you tremble to hit “post.” Find a message that can ground you when, instead of hearts and smiley faces, you get some not-so-nice words that make your heart shake a bit. I believe that when you discover what that message is and stand in it, you will be able to navigate the stings and stand more firmly in why you’re here.