Last month, I had dinner with a artist friend who was looking for encouragement to proceed with a project. I put on my best listening cap to spitball ideas and be supportive. When I heard him say several times "Well, THEY said I shouldn't or can't..." it made me think to re-post a fresh edit of one of my blog posts.
Since this post was originally written, I've discovered a way to respond. When people bark out unsolicited advice or attempt to shame my dreams, I pause in myself. Just like Maverick in "Top Gun" when he told Goose he was going to pull the brakes so the enemy could fly by, I do the same thing in unproductive conversations. I take a breath, pull back the urge to defend myself, and redirect the conversation to other topics or I'll leave the conversation altogether. Pretty badass. Their words fly by me now so much easier because I'm in better management of myself, able to assertively verbalize boundaries, which allows less influence from junky verbal stuff from They-sayers (definition at the end of this post)
Sensible, practical, in-the-box life stories. Are you tired of ‘em? I sure am… and I have been pretty much all my life. I chase light. I chase strength. I chase rainbows, good feelings, and acting. In order to live life or create anything, I need my head game filled with imagination, focus, resilience, a can-do attitude, and a truckload of faith.
I’ve been listening more intently lately to responses people give when a hopeful dream, imagination, or new idea is shared and how often it’s shunned, shamed, lynched, and then the person is told to redirect themselves for the sake of all “real practicality.”
Recently, I reconnected with a fellow actress. While waiting for lunch, we caught up on personal news. Her eyes lit up, as mine did, feeling the creative buzz when we spoke about current projects. As our chatter turned more toward the future, I noticed a slight change in her face. Her eyes darkened with sadness as she spoke about bringing more film & theatre to Montana. The crestfallen vibe grew so big I finally asked about it. She rattled off a few self-doubting statements, “I don’t know if it’s possible. I can’t talk to this person or that person because…” She then regurgitated A LOT of things people had said to her. I felt sucker punched deep in my gut as she repeated more and more comments and advice from what I call… They-sayers. (See definition below). I felt nudged in my soul, actually pushed like fu***** hell, to interrupt and attempt to shift the course of that sinking boat feeling conversation!!
My big haired 80’s preacher was on the pulpit in my mind in a flash! I asked questions and made statements to stop and re-direct poorly made comments and advice from they-sayers. I threw off my dignity. With my mouth slightly full and talking with my hands like some of my favorite Italians, I was desperate to help save her imagination, ideas, and energy for the things she wanted to create!
I loudly sputtered that creative, and even life endeavors, often feel like Noah must have felt building his ark! (I thought of a story she might relate to). His soul called him to build an ark. In the midst of they-sayer chatter and probably a whole lot of self-doubt, he followed his soul’s guidance. Noah faced challenges, focused, built it, loaded it, and then boarded it with his family and animals so his world could survive and thrive. He faced they-sayers and persevered. With tears slightly welling up in both of our eyes, I saw her eyes gain back a small spark. I felt a shift from the torn up energy in her mind to her heart.
It breaks my heart that despite so many well told stories about forward thinkers, scientists, artists, philosophers who have had successful innovative ideas and inventions that so many people are still ignorant about truly listening. To be able to hold space and even just allow imagination, possibility thinking, dreams, and new ideas to start fresh conversations is where amazing things start.
As I left our lunch that day, I felt I had done a good thing helping a friend re-direct her thinking and feelings toward what can be and is possible. I reminded her she is not alone; I am building my creative "ark" and life too. Later in the day though, I felt small again remembering how many times I have faced similar onslaughts of crappy advice, snarky comments, flat out ridiculous responses, and people laughing at me while I was creating something. I felt my spirit shrink back as those thoughts swirled around in my head. Determined though, I let those head conversations go and redirected my thoughts and heart toward what I was doing.
It won't be the last time either her, me or maybe even you will come face-to-face with they-sayers. Everywhere a new idea is expressed, they-sayers are there. I am still figuring out the best diplomatic responses to deflect that kind of input. It hasn't been easy, simple, or straightforward. I will stay on it because I do not want to live from a shriveled up fearful place. I love living from a sense of possibility, curiosity, and imagination! It puts a spring in my step, trust in my soul, and keeps my heart adventuring! Cheers! Keep finding your soul's light - dance your dance, invent your way, share your music, heal yourself, play, and love.
They-sayers: People (aka dream crushers) who run off at the mouth giving you practical, doable, seemingly sensible comment and/or advice when you are sharing ideas, imagination, and out-of-the-box thoughts about creating something in your life. This results in a pushed down sinking feeling in your heart, self-doubt, and reduces you to little or no inspired action toward dreams and goals. (It's a definition I made up to communicate this idea).
Blog by Mary Riitano...
I'm a Montana actress on a journey sharing my heart and growth through blogging, stories, and poetry, I have faith you'll find empowerment and inspiration to create like a champion in your own life!
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