I was invited to be a guest at a book club recently to talk about my book, My Not So Secret Recovery. Writing a book was something I enjoyed doing, although I am probably my own biggest critic! I find writing therapeutic and it helps me work things out, unpicking my thoughts and feelings; but actually having my book published was something else. It was nerve wracking and I did wonder what I was doing, but I suppose it grew and got a little bit of a life of it’s own. It was strange to feel so conflicted about putting something out there, nervous of what people might think, and yet proud to be able to help and inspire by sharing my story in the way others had inspired me.
A little while before my book club, a friend of mine sent me the link to a Brene Brown video of a Ted Talk on You Tube. She spoke about vulnerability and shame and the research she had done into both subjects. I’ve read several of her brilliant books, but I hadn’t seen her speak before. It was both relatable and inspiring, and she went on to discuss the fact that anyone who is creative and puts themselves out into the public arena should expect to receive criticism. I was surprised, it wasn’t what I wanted to hear, but then she said something that really hit a chord with me. What Brene went on to say was that we shouldn’t pay any heed to anyone who isn’t also putting themselves out there and therefore up for criticism. She’s right. It’s so easy to be critical, but unless you’re also opening yourself up to be in a position where other people can comment on you and your opinions, then maybe you should keep those opinions to yourself. It’s hard to be vocal, especially about things we feel strongly about, but you know, that shouldn’t stop us from doing it. Sometimes we need to be brave, and even if we get criticism, we might also be helping someone. Unfortunately the critical voices are often the loudest and the ones we remember most. She put it in a more eloquent way, but the gist of it is there. Listening to her words was reassuring, and I suddenly realised that a lot of people may not like what I write, but quite possibly those people are the ones that won’t benefit from it and who aren’t really the intended audience for my writing. I’m not saying it’s nice to get criticism, but I think it’s important to remember that not everyone will get us as individuals and that doesn’t mean that what we are doing is wrong.
With Brene’s words in my mind I joined the book club and gave them the honest and authentic version of myself. Now, I’m not really one to plan things nowadays. I think it comes from knowing I might feel anxious, and instead I bury my head in the sand, and choose to wing it. I know this isn’t always the best option, because instead of being prepared, I can land myself in some sticky situations, but it also means that what I am saying is honest and true. It’s not rehearsed, it’s literally an honest response to whatever I’m being asked, and knowing that I’m being authentic makes me feel good.
I really recommend watching the video, so here’s the link
Just remember, as long as the things you do come from a good place, then you aren’t doing anything wrong.
Thanks as always for reading,