Writing, like other forms of creation, is a vehicle for learning our life lessons. As writers, we must find the courage to speak our own idiosyncratic truths, and learn to stand in the limelight and be seen by others without flinching or trying to hide. If we are good writers, we are tempted to stand in ego, but ego is just puffery on a foundation of insecurity, and one bad review is enough to send us crashing down into discouragement. One of the biggest gifts writing offers us is the chance to become convinced of the value of our work. Writing invites us to learn to love ourselves, to become so solid in our self-love that no one else’s opinion of us matters.
In the beginning, of course, those opinions do matter. We show our words to our teachers, often when we are quite young, and we are lifted or dropped depending upon the response we get from them. As we age, our writing expands but so too may our insecurity about it. Know any writers whose books end up in the desk drawer, attracting mice? Know any writers whose books end up unwritten, bouncing off the insides of their heads?
So much about the process of writing invites external validation: we read our manuscripts to our critique groups, we share them with our partners and friends, we send them out to agents and editors and gatekeepers of all kinds, and we wait to hear from them. Did they like it? Do they want me? In fact, those gatekeepers do have power over our words: the power to give them a home or to pass them by. They do not, however, have to have any power whatsoever over our belief in ourselves.
Healing Tools for Writers
How then do we reach that secure place where we are, as Wayne Dyer so often says, independent of the good opinion of others? For this and other challenging lessons I use metaphysical tools, tools that manipulate the energy of my being at a spiritual level, and that create lasting change. I would like to share a few of them with you today.
Solid self-love begins with awareness and a decision. Begin to notice the times when you ask other people to praise or acknowledge what you have done. Do you ask for recognition from your partner for a well-cooked meal? Do you mention that you cleaned the bathroom and wait for a “thank you?” Do you ask for validation and praise in dozens of tiny little ways each day? If so, decide to change the pattern. Each time you notice this tendency to ask others to praise you, praise and thank yourself. Soon, “Didn’t I do a great job cleaning the garage?” becomes an internal conversation, one where you notice and praise yourself but don’t ask for praise from others.
Neutral to the Praise of Others
The next step is becoming neutral to the praise of others. As you cease to ask others to praise you, you may find yourself receiving quite a lot of praise and validation from others for your work. The way you handle this external validation is two-fold. On the outside, polite manners dictate that you say simply (and sincerely) “Thank you,” or perhaps, “Thank you. I’m so glad you enjoyed it.” On the inside however, you no longer want that praise to fill you up like water filling up a thirsty sponge. (Because then, if no praise comes your way, you will feel empty of worth.)
To prevent the praise from sticking, you can imagine holding an energetic umbrella above your head, and allowing all that praise to just run off out of your space. Or you might take a deep breath, and connect with that deep inner knowing that sees the importance and the value of your work. Even if you feel all warm and fuzzy from the praise, and then remember later that you are working on becoming independent of the praise of others, it’s ok. Next time you will remember sooner.
The Golden Sun of Self-Validation
As you step into secure self-love, you can use the golden sun exercise to shift your old validation-seeking patterns. Imagine a huge golden sun above your head, and fill it full of the energy of self-validation: you loving you, you valuing your own work. When the sun is full to bursting, pop it and let it flow down into the top of your head, down your neck, and through your body. Some of it will travel along your shoulder blades, down your arms and out your hands, while the rest goes down through your torso, through your legs, and out your feet. Allow the energy of self-love and self-validation to fill you completely. Repeat often.
The Ground beneath Your Feet
So what is the value of learning this lesson? Simply this: that no one else’s praise and criticism will then be able to rock your boat. A book that is rejected by an agent, or one that sells a million copies: neither will change the truth you know about yourself. Neither response to your work becomes a reason to revalue yourself, as if you were a house in a housing market bubble. In fact, being independent of the good, or bad, opinion of others builds a psychic foundation as solid as rock beneath your feet.
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Alix Moore is a writer, educator, and spiritual teacher. She is passionate about exploring ways to live as a spiritual being in all aspects of her life, and she teaches others the soul tools she has learned along the way. When Alix is not writing, speaking, or teaching children, she can be found at home on the farm that she shares with her life partner, their dog, and numerous ecstatic farm animals.