Tell me if this sounds familiar.
You just finished pouring yourself into your latest article. Maybe you shared that beautiful set of photographs that you are so proud of. You’ve hit publish on the short story you’ve been working on for months.
You wait for the likes and shares from your closest family and friends.
I mean, they are your support system, right?
Only to find nothing but crickets in response.
You watch them sharing work from all sorts of other random people they don’t even know, but you can’t get them to listen, read, look at, share, like, or even acknowledge your hard fought work.
Don’t they know how much it would mean to you for them to just hit that share button, make a simple comment, god forbid actually listen to or read the end product that you work so hard to craft?
It. Is. Devastating.
Not only that, it’s completely demoralizing and leaves you feeling resentful. Worse, it MIGHT leave you seriously questioning why you even bother because after all, if your own friends and family can’t be bothered to enjoy what you create how in the hell can you expect anyone else to?
Trust me, I know this feeling all too well.
On the off chance that family or friends are reading this, no hard feelings but would it kill you to blindly hit that share button once in a while? I mean I know it’s not as important as sharing your latest stats from Candy Crush FarmVille Sim or whatever game you are playing, but throw me a bone!
All kidding aside, here’s the real talk.
Those closest friends and family are not your audience.
At least not all of them.
Chances are, most of them know you do SOMETHING, but they probably don’t really know what that is. Also, they likely don’t really know how seriously you take it.
To them it is just some sort of side hobby that you do.
Even though you are striving to learn your craft because it’s something you are TRULY passionate about.
Here’s the thing.
Even though it sucks that they can’t be bothered to help share your work and spread the word to people who MAY be your audience, you have to just let it go.
You have to learn to treat it as you would any other rejection you might receive. If you get that rejection letter back from a publisher, it stings but it also is part of the game. We forget that when dealing with our friends and family.
Their rejection is more personal. It hurts more.
I wish I could say that with concentrated effort to change your mindset that it will go away, but at least for me, it is always there.
The difference is that by changing my mindset to truly grasping the fact that they are just not my audience, it lets me avoid dwelling on it.
At the least you can look at it like this.
Their silence is better than them taking time to read, listen, or view your work and then writing you to say it sucked and they didn’t like it.
Treat it like no news is good news.
Do your best to move the energy you spend feeling hurt about their lack of response into a more positive space.
Funnel that energy into celebrating and engaging with those total strangers that DO appreciate what you are doing. Those individuals are the ones you need to spend your time with because they are the voices that you need to help spread the word about your work.
THEY are the ones that really connect with what you do. And as such, THEY are the ones that will sing your praises to anyone they can because you’ve taken the time to not only create work they love, BUT you took time to reach out and get to know THEM.
I get it.
It sucks when your closest friends and family don’t seem to have your back.
But remember, they aren’t your audience.
And when it comes to your creative work, they also shouldn’t get all of your creative energy.
Give that to the people that actually give a damn about the work you create.
When you spend time with your friends and family, don’t hold a grudge. Don’t bring up your work and their lack of support. Rather, enjoy spending time with your loved ones. Talk about movies or hunting, enjoy a good meal, spend time making memories and laughing so hard your face hurts.
That is the value of friends and family.
They shouldn’t be just another number on the like, share, follower, comments section.