"No one else can do what you do," is an oft used phrase to motivate and inspire people.
In other words, no one has the perspective you have. No one has lived the life you have. No one will express themselves in the way you do, and the fact that you have your own unique way of doing things is powerful.
If you were to write a song, no one would sing it in just the way you do. If you were to create a shirt, no one would design in the exact same way as you. No one would teach, heal, or speak the same as you. You will have ideas and ways of executing them that will be entirely unique to you, and because you can put new things into the world, the world needs you!
Sounds great, right?
I guess so...
To be honest, for most of my life, this motivational message did not motivate me. It terrified me. It pushed on all my self-worth issues and made me not want to show up at all.
If I put my unique work out the world, which is essentially me putting myself out there, what happens if no one likes it? What if people don't actually want it the way I do it? What if my way is in fact the worst way? What if I'm in the way of someone better? What if my own unique perspective is one no one relates to? What if people just absolutely HATE what I put forth?
Does that mean they hate me?
And this is where people would say, "Don't worry what other people think!"
I mean seriously, UGH.
We're constantly telling each other not to worry what other people think while living in fear of being judged ourselves.
Can we all collectively stop telling each other not to care? We care, okay. We all care. Telling people not to care is like telling them not to be human. People never stop caring. We just put up walls upon walls, which is not the same as not caring - it's just shutting off the flow of our feelings. This in turn causes a major backup in the emotional system, which leads to depression, anger, and sickness.
I don't want you to get depressed and sick. I do want you to know it's okay to feel sensitive to other people's opinions. It doesn't mean you're not tough enough. You're not failing in some way. It's challenging to put yourself and your work out to a cynical and critical world. Especially a world where our humanity depends on us listening to each other and keeping our hearts open.
If people tell you that you should follow your passion because you're unique, and the world needs your unique vision, and that scares the shit out of you, I can relate.
In this world, achievement and ambition is almost always valued over self-love and self-care. And so for that reason, we are often quicker to encourage someone to "go for it" than we are to ask them how they feel and if they feel ready.
And so, if no one's asked you, are you ready to pursue this thing that scares you, or do you need a moment? It's okay if you do. In fact, I would prefer you took that moment to pause and breathe. That moment of recognizing your feelings and valuing them, that's the thing that's saying, I'm here, I'm alive, and I'm worthy of being heard.
You cannot value your unique gifts if you do not first value yourself as a person.
I wish you could. I know it seems it'd be so much simpler if we could do our thing, have everyone tell us how amazing it is, and then our self-worth would explode. But that would actually have the opposite effect - it would make you entirely dependent on other people's approval. It would not raise your self-esteem. It would just cause you to live and die based on outside opinion.
The only way to truly put your unique work out, and feel good about it, is it to start with a solid foundation. Start with you. Nurture yourself. Treat yourself like precious cargo. Do whatever you need to do in order to see yourself as a valuable and unique member of team humanity. Go to therapy, meditate, talk to a coach, float in an isolation tank, read all the self-help books you can. I've done all those things and more.
It took me years to build up the kind of foundation I needed in order to value my unique gifts and perspective.
It did not happen over night, and it did not happen because I charged ahead and overpowered my fear and did it anyway. I have put things out to the world when I was scared, insecure, and did not feel ready. It did not help. It only made me more scared.
How long it will take you to build your foundation depends on where you are and where you're coming from. I have no idea what kind of life you've lived nor how big your dreams are. All I know is, you have something to do that's entirely unique to you. And you will share and do that thing when you feel ready and in a way that feels good to you. Your way might involve two people, it might involve 20,000, it might involve the whole world.
It's all up to you, cause it's your life, and only you get to decide what your heart and soul need.