You know, every time I send out a newsletter to my mailing list, at least one person unsubscribes.
It’s hard not to notice it because I get an email notification whenever it happens. Then I click on it, read the email address and connect them with the human it belongs to.
I’ve often wondered what the last straw was, what sent them over the edge, made them roll their eyes and scream “FUCK OFF” at my name when it appeared in their inbox. I mean, it’s highly unlikely anyone will have such a hostile reaction to my content, but what if they did?
I’m past overthinking and obsessing now. I’ve a better grasp of my mind now and I let go of things I can’t change.
But this has been sitting on my mind a bit, mostly because it’s amusing. Because the people who left are also people I would be unlikely to subscribe to anyway, and that’s okay.
A friend of mine shared with me recently how she’d lost IG followers after her content had changed. She tried not to take it personally but it still bothered her. And it’s crazy because IG followers I don’t watch or pay attention to, but my mailing list? Totally monitor the analytics and know exactly who opens it. I blame my day job for my thoroughness, I like to measure impact and reach.
And right there is THE point. You’re not going to reach everybody. You’re not going to appeal to everybody on the internet or even everybody in the room you’re sitting in right now. It doesn’t mean you are lacking or are shit or not worth paying attention to, although we internalise it that way. It just means they’re not your audience, and it’s not up to you to make them.
If we quit things everytime someone made a negative comment or didn’t engage or roll their eyes, we’d be doing absolutely nothing with our lives and going nowhere. I’m a former people-pleaser, it used to be important to me that I was liked by others. If people liked me, it meant I was a person worth knowing. It validated me. Which sounds awesome, doesn’t it? Almost empowering. But becoming reliant on other people’s opinion of you is not something to aspire to.
Who you are and what you do is so much more than how people perceive you. I remember years ago, I’d lose Facebook Friends because I shared too much positivity and good news, and it was seen as bragging. I remember being indirected on Twitter by another writer for not staying in my lane, because I was writing articles about music. All of it could have stopped me, and all of it I took personally for a while.
I remember writing an article about a photographer and falling apart at her emails full of shouty capital letters and exclamation marks, because there were spelling errors and grammatical mistakes in the draft I sent her. I was crippled with anxiety and wanted nothing more to be associated with the article, or with her. It made me feel like shit but it motivated me in a different way. Within days I’d found a Creative and Professional Writing degree and applied, and now I sit here typing this having accomplished a 2:1 and a whole lot of confidence in my skill.
I suppose as much as her feedback felt like an attack, I took it as constructive criticisim and used it to get better. I didn’t do it to prove myself to others that I can write, but to myself.
Self-validation is powerful, but it takes a while for us to unlearn the self-depricating behaviour first. People-pleasing habits have to be identified, pulled off and thrown away before we learn to validate ourselves.
I urge you to be defiant. To persist with your creativity, personal development, education, self-care practice, whatever you are doing for your highest good, keep doing it. There are people who will understand what you’re doing and there are those who don’t. The latter are irrelevant and the first don’t matter if you don’t validate yourself first.
Trusting your own decisions and having confidence in paths you take without the support of everybody is hard, but you weren’t placed on this earth to please the world until you die.
Do you, my lovely. And the right people will get it.