I struggle big time with fully putting myself out there.
“Putting out” to me means walking through life with my true self at the helm. (And not the sexual innuendo, although I’ll admit it’s a sweet gimmick to get your attention. Stay with me a moment as I explain…)
See, I’m fully capable of sharing the vulnerable aspects of me that I’ve sorted out. The neuroses and insecurities that I’ve neatly analyzed, compartmentalized, and digested as ‘comfortably uncomfortable enough to share.’ Like the fact that I have a fear of abandonment, but I’m working through it enough to be able to anticipate its entrance, quickly talking myself back into the present moment, with phrases like, “don’t go there, be open, be loving, if they leave then that’s what’s best for everyone anyway, you’re a beautiful flower, there’s wine in the cupboard.” I’ve somehow grown comfortable admitting this one, as I’ve turned it into a tool instead of a masochistic weapon.
But what about the rest of my mess? The stuff I haven’t gotten a chance to work through? The demons that come up to haunt when the deep triggers are activated — like when I’m working on a passion project about a personal story that I desperately want to see through, and I hit roadblock after roadblock? Or when I’m building a beautiful relationship that I would hate to have my insides kick dirt onto, and I’m suddenly bombarded with anxiety and discomfort?
It’s easier to let go when you’re OK with walking away.
Bottom line is: I’ve let fear stop me from putting out, and it has kept me from happiness & success. But I’ve also cracked the code every so often, and I want to share those nuggets with you, just the same.
Putting out has been difficult with a few of my things. With my scripts, my documentary, with my true feelings in relationships, and with my next level of self. We each have our unique hot buttons — we all have insecurities hidden in separate compartments, and sometimes it takes a new project or relationship to open up a shelf and show you something you never knew you had hiding.
I don’t share my deeper work publicly, and I shut down when my lover doesn’t say “the right words” or doesn’t reassure me enough to make me feel “safe.” I pitch my beloved project to a few brands, but don’t persevere with full force after a couple “not now”s, just like I share love with my significant other, but I pull back when it gets too real & I feel like I’ve given too much.
Sounds like a recipe for self-defeat, doesn’t it? And it’s not helpful. At all.
So what am I really afraid of?
My answers usually come from observing how I create. My art mirrors my life — and often, when I want something badly & I sense that it is deeply interwoven with my purpose, I get overwhelmed. I try to build it in a day as a flash of excitement propels me, but ultimately I buckle under the pressure of my strong desire seeming too impossible, and I flee out of fear of losing it all.
Is it rejection I’m afraid of? Of putting my whole heart on the line and getting it deemed insufficient? Or is it success? Could it just be that I know that I’m a unique aspect of the Universe’s goodness, sent here to do wonderful things, and I’m just too much of a wimp to woman up?
Yes. Yes to all this. I’m tired of hiding in the corners of the easiest excuses. I’ll own them all.
Bottom line is — it’s been safe for me to keep my labors of love, my complex emotions, and my heart to myself — because, and here’s the thing, what I don’t share can never be rejected.
That’s not the most effective approach.
Is my self-preservation keeping me from connection, from success, and from ultimate love?
Probably. No one else is blocking me.
So, in an effort to take responsibility and unblock myself, I’m sharing some of my go-to reminders that I use to knock down those walls I keep on putting up.
How To Break Through Fear By Putting Out
CHECK YOUR INTENTIONS
If your intention is to share your gifts, to entertain and bring comedy to people’s lives, to positively educate, to distract from the world’s tragedies for just a moment with creativity — whatever it is, if your intention is conscious, if you’re aware of why you’re creating, and you’re solid in it, and in what you’ve written/painted/sculpted/filmed/sung, then PUT OUT!
It’s the same in a relationship. If you’ve asked yourself some deeper questions about what it is you want, and you’re clear within yourself about it — whether it’s with online dating, the new boo, your long-term relationship, or your marriage, then why not fully put out? Why not go for it?
It’s funny to think that marriage would fit in this category, but I believe that in every level of relationship we are challenged to share more and more of our authentic self, sans fear, or judgement, or agenda. And sometimes the deeper into a relationship we go, the more comfortable we get with tucking away pieces of our mess. We almost forget those pieces are there.
There is no perfect. Scripts can be rewritten, paintings repainted, sculptures added to, films recut, and songs harmonized….but at some point you have to arrive at a seat of peace in your own heart and mind about your creation. Good enough can be really, really good.
Same with a relationship. There is never a good time to be the real you, because it’s always time. The question is how soon can you grow the ovaries and start viewing your fear as an opportunity to expose more of your authentic light? Sure, you can be ambivalent about a guy or girl you’re dating forever, but at some point you have to dive in, go all in, and commit (or commit to walking away). Unless you’re considering polyamory, in which case refer to my VULNERABLE CONVERSATION on sexual ambiguity. For some light watching click HERE!
CHANGE YOUR RELATIONSHIP TO FAILURE
If failure is the end of the world for you, then of course you’ll never put out. Why would you? You’re bound to see your world crashing down.
Art is enigmatic, relationships abound, and not everyone is going to love you. What I mean to say is, there are so many opinions about one painting so there really is no failed artist, even those childlike scribbles belong in an art gallery like the Broad in Downtown LA (seriously, they have damn scribbles on the wall!)
Similarly, “there is someone for everyone.” Whether or not you believe anyone suits your crazy downstairs neighbor, I challenge the perception that a breakup in any way signifies a failure. I have so many girlfriends who complain about the painstaking process of dating. Well, I love it! Sure it’s hard, but I want my soulmate harder.
Nothing is “bad” until you declare it so.
RESTRICT THE FEAR NARRATIVE
Everytime I get close to putting out, a voice chimes in saying, “Are you sure about that? Last time you shared your prized work you got a couple hundred views, your friends commented only because they love you and not because you’re that great. Don’t bother; sure, you were hired to write someone’s web-series, but that was dumb luck. You’re wasting your time and you’re not getting any younger. Here’s a good idea — keep wasting time by stalling. Don’t put out!”
What really happens when I stall? The fear doubles and triples. Inaction fuels the fire of discomfort like lighter fluid does a flame. And the longer I stall, the tinier that glimpse of hope becomes, and the passion that once fueled my fire dwindles and puts itself out.
NO! That’s definitely not the way to go. I lose anyway by not putting out. So at least put out to rid myself of the FOMO, of the “what if”. Right?
It’s way cozier to think “well, I could have done it if XYZ” — if I were born to rich parents, if I had connections, if Spielberg was my neighbor. It’s easier to create stupid narratives than to just own a serious power move and put out.
Now. If you’ve sat with step #2 (above) then you know that failure is but a perception. If I redefine failure as any time I do NOT put out, then I must put out. The act of consciously creating becomes in and of itself the win. As is all of the growth that comes from constantly putting out — refining your voice, learning from every turn, and confidence! Lots of confidence.
In work, in love, and in most all areas of life — by sharing of yourself, by putting out, you are showing the Universe that you really want it! And to trust that statement, you have to have belief. Belief in a greater good, an interconnectedness between us all, and in the presence of a higher power above our cognition. It’s not about religion, and if you’re an atheist you can still connect to the notion belief — find it, and harness it. There’s more than just YOU in this world, trust in that.
This final step is big for me. I’ve had to close my eyes and jump a lot in art, in love, and in life. And the ghost net that I trust is somehow catching me — (a ghost net is a net that’s there, despite our not being able to feel or see it) — is the Universe’s net of proud support. I think the Universe secretly sends those asshole fear monsters to test us, to try to get us to buckle. But as we push through, as we resist listening to that twisted voice, and instead share of our deepest and most vulnerable selves, the Universe smiles, rejoices at our having somehow passed one of the many tests sent our way, and therefore rewards us with that sweet sugar of earned fulfillment. Each time it’s something different — as I pass one test I win new writing clients, as I pass another I meet the man of my dreams. And the tests never end, which is awesome, because that means that the Universe really is trying to shower me with all of the things I’ve always dreamed of — my ultimate fulfilment in creativity, in love, and in life!
The ultimate win-win is when everyone puts out.
OK OK, this is starting to sound a little raunchy. But think about it. The best relationships are when both parties invest of themselves fully, when both are incentivized to do so because they feel equal stake and ownership. The same applies to a project, a team, art, and creative collaboration, among many examples — it most certainly applies to our relationship with the Universe. If we trust that the Universe has our back, then we’ll give it all we’ve got.
So what do you say?
Let’s unblock…and PUT OUT together!