I find myself frequently wanting to send fan mail and gushing texts of love. I used to hold back because I thought that if someone had reached a certain level of success, wealth, fame, achievement, or — insert whatever word you’d like here for “bigness” — they were probably saturated with positive feedback.
When Money: A Love Story came out this last fall I had a big old case of the impostor syndrome, thinking to myself, “who am I to be out here teaching and speaking on money and inspiration?”
I got really tired. I felt incredibly confused about my path. And I thought perhaps since the whole process felt so overwhelming and exhausting that I shouldn’t be doing it at all.
One night when a group of girlfriends asked me how the launch was going I replied tearfully: “I don’t like it and I want it to be over.”
What saved me from throwing in the towel were messages from people who were reading the book and getting results in their lives. Knowing that what I was up to was making a difference for people was like an elixir of healing for my doubt and confusion.
Even though I can’t respond to every single message that comes my way, I treasure them all. I’m grateful for every single person who feels moved to share their experience and how their life is changing as a result of something I wrote that they read, or something they heard me say.
The Feedback Loop
Now, there is something to the whole spiritual philosophy that we shouldn’t invest too much in the feedback we receive, positive or negative. How people experience us really has nothing to do with us. It has everything to do with them.
It can be a bit dangerous to get too tapped into feedback loops of needing reassurance each time we put something out into the world. Sometimes doing the work is way more than sufficient satisfaction.
But, last time I checked, we’re all human. And what that means, at least for me, is that it feels good to get positive feedback every now and again. Abraham Maslow, a philosopher and psychologist, even included esteem, or respect from others, in his hierarchy of needs, just after the basics of food and shelter, safety and security, and love and belonging.
When You Feel Moved, Praise.
Based on my experience both during the book launch and since it ended, I send praise when I feel moved to.
I text my friends when they write blogs that bring me to tears. Sometimes they write back. Sometimes they don’t. Doesn’t matter. I know they got the memo.
I email gushing love bombs from time to time (okay, a lot of the time.)
Sometimes I get a response that they were having a really hard day and that my note was just what they needed to hear. And then my heart melts. And I feel really grateful for the collective human condition of not having it together all the time.
I’ve stopped censoring my love, because here’s the deal:
No matter how successful we may appear, we all need to hear that we’re making a difference. (Click to tweet)
So next time you’re about to send a message of genuine appreciation and you think to yourself, “I’m sure they get tons of notes like this. They probably don’t need another one from me,” just send it anyway.
Know that your words are valuable even if you don’t get a response. Trust that they’ve landed in the perfect place.
Be unabashed with your praise. Let your love be loose and easy. Remind people that they’ve made a difference.
Over to you:
Have you ever held back from praising because you assumed the recipient of your praise didn’t need to hear it? Do you send love notes and fan mail? Why or why not?
I’d love to hear from you so leave a comment below!