You might be suffering from the consequences of unexpressed emotions.
Over the summer, I stopped writing and posting on my Blog. I also stopped my Speaker Events. This began to bother me deeply. After all, writing and speaking is what I do; it’s my passion, my purpose in life, my way of contributing to and helping others.
I concluded I was suffering from writers’ block. I kept telling friends I had lost my mojo, despairing that I would ever get back to doing what I love. I couldn’t understand why this was happening.
Thankfully, one of my friends pointed something out that blew my socks off. She asked me a very simple question, and in her enquiry I realised the reason I had ceased to write.
“Did you allow yourself to feel your feelings around your book being rejected by the Publishers?”
Her question was a huge eye-opener to a blind spot I had not been aware of until that moment.
One of my dear teachers, Brad Brown used to say, “We’re all in a box, and the instructions on how to get out are on the outside”; meaning that it takes others who know and love us to point certain things out that we are unaware of in ourselves.
Back to her question. Now you know how much importance I put on feeing feelings. My brand, Courage to Connect is all about that! Connect authentically, with yourself, feel your feelings, express them, go through them, not around or over or under them, playing dodge ball with them, no, feel them fully.
Talk about teaching what you most need to learn!
My book had been with this particular publisher for nearly two years; they liked it, gave my agent favourable comments about it, suggested ways I could strengthen its marketing potential; needless to say I got my hopes up that they would publish it.
When my agent’s email finally came through a couple of months ago, I decided before opening it to be okay with the decision, whether it was a yes, or a no.
On opening it, I read it was a no. In that moment, I took a breath and told myself to move on, after all, there’d be other publishers. “I’m ok with that”, I thought. “At least I know now”. I wrote to my agent, asking her to send the manuscript to other Publishers and with that, I put my laptop away and got on with my day. What I didn’t do was feel and express my feelings of disappointment, sadness, and whatever other emotions there might have been. I didn’t feel, I thought. The problem with that is we are not just thinking beings, we are feeling beings too! We have hearts, emotions and if we don’t feel them, there will be consequences. Mine was creative constipation. How could I possibly expect myself to write when I was blocking my emotions around this big disappointment? Blocking my feelings blocked my inspiration.
I realised that much of my motivation in my writing and speaking career had been driven by my hopes of being published by this Publisher. No wonder the incentive to continue fizzled to a halt when I got the news. There was no point. Or so my mind told me. However, I had not acknowledged this thought to myself until my friend asked me that important question. It was only then that I realised I had given up.
And then a greater realization dawned: I had been writing for the Publishers, not for you, or for me. I wanted validation from them, and if that wasn’t coming, well, there was no point in sharing my work. Or so I thought.
What dawned on me was this: living my vision, my passion is worth doing, whether I am externally validated or not. Whether I have one reader, or a million, whether I am published by a Publisher or not, I will continue to offer what comes through me, in service of helping you. The important thing for me is to help, even if it’s just one person. That is validation enough.
Needless to say since this conversation with my dear friend, I revisited the moment I read the email, and allowed myself to feel the disappointment and the upset. As I moved through the feelings, I began to sense hope and my motivation began to stir. Quite soon after this, I resumed writing and have started work on a new book, with an idea for a third. Interesting that.
So, what are you not doing as a result of being disappointed or discouraged? Can you re-visit a time when you did not allow yourself the space to really feel and express your feelings around a disappointment, a setback, or a rejection? Perhaps someone laughed at your precious dream, or you looked at the competition and told yourself what you have to offer is not as good.
I implore you to pause, breathe, and allow yourself to express whatever emotions are present when you put your attention on them around this situation. The feelings are still in you, even if it’s been a long time since you buried them. Let yourself cry if that is what you need to do.
Have the Courage to Connect with your disappointment, let the feelings move through you. Re-commit to your dream, your passion, if not for yourself, then for others who will benefit from your gifts.
Love in Connection