My husband & I did this exercise once at a motivational seminar:
He stood directly in front of me, telling me: you’re capable, you’re intelligent, you’re driven, you’ll succeed. Two other people from the seminar stood on either side of him saying things like: you’re going to fail, it’s too hard, you’ll never make it, you don’t have what it takes. When I looked my husband in the eyes and listened to him, I believed. My faith in myself ticked up a notch. But when I took my eyes off of him (so as not to be rude, ha!) and looked at the other people, listened to their negative voices, I could just about feel my heart drop. My energy level & enthusiasm took a dive, too.
So what’s the point?
Be careful who you listen to, who you let rent space in your head. It’s hard enough to write (or follow any dream for that matter) with people around you demanding your time & attention. It’s nearly impossible if you don’t believe in yourself, don’t believe that someday you’ll make it, don’t believe you have the strength & determination to finish what you started.
Take a lesson from me: Be rude if you have to.
Unfortunately, there are probably some people around who, for whatever reason, don’t want to see you succeed. Or maybe the negative voices banging around in your head come in the form of a reviewer who didn’t like your work. Or an agent who said no. Or, maybe, an editor who carved up your manuscript. Or, perhaps, an old disgruntled teacher. Whatever the source, the worst thing you can do to yourself is to start listening to them. Take your eyes (and ears) off them & listen instead to the people cheering you on. (Here’s something interesting to note: at that seminar, when I listened to my husband intently, I barely heard those other people’s voices at all ~ they were more like static in the background.) Change your focus & you can, truly, change your life.
What voices do you listen to? And, more importantly, what are they saying?
13 thoughts on “Be Careful Who You Listen To”
What a fascinating post! I especially loved the epiphany that “when I listened to my husband intently, I barely heard those other people’s voices at all ~ they were more like static in the background.” Yes, when we listen to the positive, the negative isn’t so noisy, is it?
Thanks for taking the time to comment. Yes, that seminar was really eye-opening. I didn’t realize just how deflating listening to negative people can be, how it makes you feel awful not just mentally but physically, too. Listening to my husband was the coolest thing ~ drowned those other voices right out. Lesson learned: I’ve been very careful who I listen to since then.
I agree with this whole-heartedly, Shelli. Nicely said!
Thanks for the compliment & for taking the time to comment. Cheers!
This is so true Shelli! Protect your brain and what filters in at all costs. A professor once told me that “everyone in life will not be as happy for you as you are for yourself.” Who knows why some people spout the negative vibes they do, but letting it in to fester – even a little bit – will take a person down.
Hi Barbara. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment. I love these words of wisdom ~ “everyone in life will not be as happy for you as you are for yourself.” Wish that weren’t the case but, you’re right, good news is that we don’ t have to let the negative fester.
So true. This is especially important, I think, for writers because we so often get told negative things in the guise of help or critique. I know I’ve had that problem even with experienced writing instructors. You have to know when to stop listening to people like that.
Hi Alana. Thanks for taking the time to comment. It’s true that sometimes people who mean well (or at least think they do) can do some serious damage. I do believe critiques are necessary (in fact, the best one I ever had made me cry at first), but sometimes it’s the way it gets delivered to you that crosses the fine line between making the writing better & making the writer feel less than.
Awesome, Shelli! Yet another reminder that I truly need to start focusing on the positive again.
I used to listen to Zig Ziglar motivational tapes all the time. Not sure why I stopped, but I think it’s time to get moving again. And just found out that I can listen to him on Playlist.com (for free)…so can anyone else who needs a dose of confidence.
Thanks, I needed that! (even more than a V8) 🙂
Hi Kristy! I’ve never listed to Ziglar tapes (yes, we’re dating ourselves here ~ lol) but thanks so much for the link. I can check him out for free. A dose of confidence is always good. 🙂
Great reminder for everyone. It’s good to remember that our own voice can be the biggest enemy, too. When I worked with a therapist, there were exercises she’d do with patients where they had to repeat positive affirmations about themselves. It was amazing to see the emotional toll the positive took on them. Often because they had told themselves the negative for so long, whether they realized it or not.
Hi Amber! I was amazed, too, at what a huge difference it made ~ not just mentally but physically, too ~ listening to the positive. I love this: “whether they realized it or not.” I think that’s true, too: people may not even fully realize how negative they’re being to themselves or to others.
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