What thing do you do, that you really enjoy, that you don’t care if anyone else sees you doing? Take a minute to think about it. What do you find yourself doing without even realising it?
For me, one of these things is drumming. As well as sitting behind a kit and hammering away at the skins with drumsticks, I also find myself drumming on my knees while putting songs together, and air drumming while I’m out and about walking. I find it such an easy thing to fall into that I stop thinking about what others might think and simply enjoy the music and rhythm.
There are few things in life which encourage us not to worry about what we might look like doing something, and focus on immersing ourselves and enjoying it. Music can fall into both categories. When starting out the journey of learning to play an instrument or learning to sing we might want to do so in private, with our only audience being the shower or a mirror. This is a perfectly fine way to do it. Once we have a bit more confidence we may start to feel comfortable playing our instrument or singing in front of others. Other times we want to share with anyone and everyone, and sometimes this is the best way to learn. Finding the right teacher, or the right audience that might not be experts but are encouraging in the right ways, can propel us forward on our journey more quickly than if we journeyed on our own.
It has taken me years to work this out for myself, especially when it comes to playing music and writing stories. In the past three years I have slowly started to come out of my shell. I have shared more of my music with friends and family, even if it’s not in the final form I would like it to be. I try new things in a public setting when playing guitar and singing at church. They are not always a success but they give me information I didn’t have before I tried. All are learning experiences, even if I can’t see what I’ve learned straight away. Seldom does expressing myself in these situations lead to embarrassment actively intended by others.
It takes courage to put yourself out there, even in a situation which seems as innocuous as walking down the street. Letting loose by singing your favourite song, or dancing down the pavement, or even reading while on the bus can seem counter-cultural or against the tide of what is socially acceptable, hence increasing the likelihood of feelings of embarrassment. Pushing past this because we enjoy the thing, to share our creativity, is one way the world becomes a more liveable place.
With writing, I find acknowledging that I am a writer is the first step. This means I believe others may enjoy what I have written and in some cases, even give ideas for improvement and what to write next. I have found others who are writers themselves with wonderful wisdom to share from their experience, and advice on how to improve my writing. Without sharing that I am writing a book, a poem, a story, a song, they would never have known. Without sharing this writing, they would never be able read it and let me know what they think.
Some things are just for us. Some things are for us, but we can share our enthusiasm with others; actively or unintentionally. Some things provide benefit to others as well as ourselves, so sharing them is more than worth our while.
It is difficult to push past the barrier of worrying what others will think about what we are doing, and whether we are doing it well enough. We cannot control how others respond to what we do. What we can control is what we do, how we spend our time, and how we communicate with others.
Sometimes it’s not easy to know what to do. Sometimes it’s not easy to share what we’ve created, even when we really like it and believe others will enjoy it.
Take heart, steel your courage, and put the best you out into the world that you can. You’ve got great ideas, work hard at bringing them into reality.