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Before You Cared Whether You Were Good Enough

The second question (remember how I said I had three questions from the book) inspired from I’ll Give You the Sun comes later in the book when Noah realizes how much he loves painting for art’s sake.  When he finally strips away caring about how other people judge his art, whether it’s good or bad, whether he’ll be famous or not, and just paints because painting makes him happy.

He explains on page 351, “It’s like I forgot how awesome it was before I cared if I was any good or good enough…”

Isn’t that the way it is with so many things in life?  That if we could stop caring how other people viewed our work, we could be so much happier with the process and the product.

It flows both ways — taking the criticism to heart and taking the accolades to heart.  Because neither is particularly healthy.  It’s never a good idea to put your own happiness, your own opinions, in the hands of others.

I hate caring about the worth of my words.  But I do.  And I don’t.  And I do.

Do you think you hand your happiness to others?  Do you derive the same joy from things that originally brought you joy; before you cared about how others judge your process and product?


1 a { 08.26.15 at 10:31 am }

I think everyone wants approval. It requires a lot of confidence to do something you love publicly without caring about getting approval. So, I do the things I enjoy that I’m not particularly good at privately and don’t share them with many people. I play the piano poorly. I knit; sometimes well, sometimes not. I like painting.

I think there’s a difference, though, between doing things that bring you happiness and following a calling. If it’s your calling…well, a whole lot of your personality is tied into that effort. To have it rejected is a rejection of your self.

2 Working mom of 2 { 08.26.15 at 1:26 pm }

Ah, I spent many years competing in a judged sport. So yeah, it was ALL about how others perceived what I did. I’m kinda hoping that if my kids decide to compete in sports it will be something like swimming where the only judge is the clock (well, I’m there there are judges for things like rules, did the person touch the pool wall etc.).

3 Mali { 08.26.15 at 7:07 pm }

“But I do. And I don’t. And I do.” Yes. That’s me! I do, and I don’t. It’s both an issue about the quality of my writing and what I say, and how people will view me about what I say. Especially since I (as do we all) blog about such emotional issues.

I’m trying not to hold back. But I do. There’s one post in particular I have been holding back for years because I am worried about how it might change people’s opinions of me. It’s not a big secret, but it’s something I’m self-conscious about. Argh!

4 Lori Lavender Luz { 08.27.15 at 6:09 pm }

“It’s never a good idea to put your own happiness, your own opinions, in the hands of others.”

It’s taken me awhile to really get this (I’m still getting this).

Blog writing, to me, is an interaction. I do have to keep my readers in mind as I write because in some ways, my blog has been co-created by everyone who has weighed in on it. And keeping them in mind — how my words affect others — is part of what makes writing enjoyable to me. It feels so connective. Maybe one reason I keep writing is that the feeling of being connected is addictive.

5 St. E { 08.28.15 at 5:14 am }

Approval is everyone’s opium. We are humans, afterall!

But I am known to not change my liking for something just because others are saying nay about it.

6 illustr8d { 08.28.15 at 1:40 pm }

I would have answered no. But then I had something happen that caused me to look differently than most people, and that creates a lot of judging by people who have no freaking idea why I look the way I look. So pretty much it’s a constant stream of negativity, from being ignored when I’m talking to someone (ie: can you tell me where you have xyz in this store), to being charged at by a museum guard, to being spit on, to being kicked out of stores. It has pushed me to the brink, often. And frankly, it’s a miracle I’m still alive. So yes, the way other people treat me affects me, no matter how hard I try to make it that it doesn’t.

Now I find people scary. And before this I was a huge people person. But even thinking about being around people brings tears to my eyes.

BECAUSE of this, I have become a more serious writer, where I can write a world that this doesn’t happen to me, and the fictional people are happy I show up and continue to write them.

(c) 2006 Melissa S. Ford
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