Who get you.
People who respect what’s dear to you. People you share common experiences with, to whom you can say, “Hey remember that one time…” and they smile and say, “Yes.” People who don’t take it personally when you can’t make it for coffee because they know you’re writing and they love you all the more for following your dream. And you love them for following theirs.
Because more and more I’m learning there is something damaging about sharing your gems with people who don’t get it.
“Look,” you say, holding out your hands for them to see. And they just make a face, or a judgement, or worse, just shrug. They don’t get it. Your gem is nothing to them. It’s out of their understanding or their caring. And their indifference changes how you see it.
Maybe that gem isn’t so special after all. Maybe you’re not so special after all.
After I wrote my first 3-Day Novel (which had won third place), I asked a person I respected to read it, hoping to get some ideas for how to revise it. She returned the manuscript to me with a note that read, in essence: “You should do something other than writing.”
A number of years ago, I met with a friend for lunch to discuss a business deal we were working on. During the visit I mentioned to him a recent trip I’d taken and how during the trip I’d met someone quite famous. Someone I’d dreamed of meeting for years. My friend gave me a strange look and said, “So? What good does that do me?”
Needless to say, I don’t associate with either of these people any more.
It’s not that I can’t take criticism. Quite the contrary. I value workshopping my writing and getting feedback. My skin’s not elephant hide yet, but it’s thick enough to sit at a table with major New York editors and listen to them work over my chapters. Criticism isn’t what I’m talking about here.
It’s understanding. Respect. Sharing.
It’s having people in your life you can trust with your dreams. With your heart.
Do you have people who get you? Have you told them lately how much you love and appreciate them?