How To Keep Showin' Up Through Unfollowers, Unsupporters, De-frienders, and Unsubscribers
Because who wants to be rejected, right?
True story: Every week I get at least one of these. Every week someone either defriends me on Facebook, unfollows me on Twitter, unsubscribes from my weekly updates, or flat out demeans what I'm doing. I've even been called a "false teacher" by a family member. So I'm quite familiar with the feelings associated with having your work or yourSELF come into question.
Here's the thing: at the end of the day, we're all entitled to our opinions and to like what we like. We're even entitled to unfollow someone we don't care for, whose pictures are offensive or boring or who just rub us the wrong way.
This is expression. It's authentic expression.
This would be beautiful, well, and good if that were all there is to it. But it's not.
There's feelings involved with certain people who don't support your introspective lifestyle.
There's anger when someone wants to go making their "right" to extract you part of a family discussion when you're not there (and you find out later).
There's disgust when you spend hours writing a piece and someone hits the unsubscribe button that week (for you introverted entrepreneurs or online bloggers). These things can knock you right in the gut.
If you let them...
Let's take a look at some of the scenarios I've named so I can show you some things maybe you've never considered before. These will help if you'll call them back to memory and make a choice to choose the positive.
By unsupporters, I'm addressing your family or friends who think your book-reading-painting-gardening-wanting to rent a movie and stay in-knitting-listening to music-hanging-out-with-your-cat-or-dog self is depressed, weird, anti-social, or needs therapy. And trust me, they more than likely don't mean it to come across this way - but that's what it feels like to you.
Here's something I want you to try. I know you probably tire of verbalizing, so start getting creative. Think of different ways you can say how you feel or express it. Do you paint? Paint a picture of what your personality is like. Do you sing or are you a musician? Write a song that expresses this.
The idea is instead of saying the same things over and over and over (which is damaging to your assertiveness muscle), use other forms of expression to let people know that 1) you're totally 100% completely aware of who you are and your behavior (and it's understood) and 2) you are totally 100% okay with it and aren't going to change.
Mainly, I'm referencing Twitter. Really, this is nothing to get upset about. Consider that some people follow people at specific times in their lives - maybe their currently hooked on your website, a TV show, and a comedian. In 6 months maybe their ill and they only want to follow physicians & holistic health coaches who can help them. People follow and unfollow - it may not necessarily be personal (as in having to do with offense).
As in Facebook or in real life. This is a sticky one, because while I could say to just not worry about it, people get offended when de-friended, especially on Facebook. The main reason being there are ways to filter now where you don't even see people's updates in your stream. You can have someone on your friends list and not ever see any of their updates. So defriending seems harsh. But a few things to think about:
- Some people honestly don't know how to do this - Facebook changes almost every day, and it's annoying for us all. Unless you're a guru, you might be a little lost on figuring out all the changes that quickly. So someone might think defriending is the only way to go - just give them this one.
- If someone defriends you because you're being you on your own Facebook account, there's nothing more that needs to be said. I'm proud of you for expressing your individuality, and if they don't want to look, you should be happy they're going quietly. Let them go while you continue to express the fullness of who you are to the people who love it.
When it comes to real life, there are a plethora of reasons people will leave your life. You may never know the fullness of it, so it's best to be grateful for the lesson(s) you learned through that friendship. Continue to express your gratefulness daily following a friendship ending - write down what those lessons were and how you've grown or want to grow from it.
For all you introvert entrepreneurs in the crowd, people will sign up for your list for many reasons. I learned this from Tara Gentile in an interview with Anne Samoilov. And while it seems elementary, it isn't. I never knew that! I thought people signed up for one reason and one reason only - they like what they saw. That is not true.
Some people will love your writing, your values, your voice, your approach, your services, your products, your social media presence, your lifestyle, your Pinterest boards, etc. There are many ways humans are drawn to each other, and none of them are to be demeaned or lessened.
And the same way there are many reasons for signing up, there are that many or more for when they exit. Maybe they just get too much email. Or maybe your last post just didn't resonate and they acted on a whim instead of thinking of the big picture of how you can help them in the long run. Whatever the reason, let it be.
In any of these scenarios there's a term I want you to become comfortable with in your life, and that word is sifting. Sifting.
Like sifting wheat, people will come and they will go. Some folks will simply just be jealous of your life, your success, and your rising notoriety. The sifting is an important metaphor because it teaches us about this process of separation in order to get the desired result, which is flour (or in your case, peace).
You certainly don't want anyone in your life who constantly drains you, makes you feel less than, bad about who you are, or like you need "help" in your introversion.
In addition, we have to understand that there is a difference in the ego and the self, so self-care (what we're learning here about moving on in our expressions regardless) is not egoism. The ego focuses on one thing and one thing only - an outcome. The ego has a fixed mindset - meaning it has to be proven over and over, it wants to be confirmed on every hand and constantly wants affirmation from everyone in every situation, and it says "if I fail, it was all a waste."
Self-care calls for you to remain focused on who you serve and why, whether you're a business person or you're just being YOU on your Facebook page.
There's a line between self-care and the ego. Self-care is endearing. She is caring, focuses on growth and the process, and she sees that the basic qualities she desires can be cultivated through her. She is able to honestly identify her own strengths & weaknesses, and do so with class. Instead of what the ego screams, self-care softly says "it was all worth it because I grew." It was growth expanding, and for that? I'm grateful.
Self-care has the right focus. The ego remains fixed on why someone doesn't want to connect. It has to have an answer and again, demands an end result. Don't let the ego take over - remain focused on your own self-care because when you do, you'll be better able to show up for the people who need you the most - the ones who love you for you.
Now I'd love your thoughts on these....
Have you experienced any of the above before? What did you feel or what have you learned from that experience that could also help someone else? If you can, please share it with us.
And I never leave without saying thank you sincerely for reading & contributing.