Last week I picked up our local newspaper at the grocery store and saw to my dismay that it was half the size it usually is. Having worked at a community newspaper in the past I have a deep appreciation for the work that goes into putting out a weekly newspaper, there is little profit, little appreciation and much work. Newspaper people are a dedicated bunch and the local paper is no exception. According to the masthead, our little Gazette has a crew of one. An editor who I imagine does all sorts of different jobs. I know he's one of the most recognizable faces around town, behind his camera at the grade 8 graduation, the local Santa Claus parade, the hockey games, he is right in there shooting his pictures and making his paper.
The dwindling number of pages concerned me so I wrote a letter to the editor and in it I appealed to the readers and the advertisers to take note of the treasure they have here, an independent community newspaper with a dedicated editor, but one who can't survive on good will alone.
I just received an email thanking me for my letter and the editor in his email said that they were not so good at "self-promotion" and that I had said things that he wanted to say to his readership but hadn't.
So that got me wondering, why? Why do we not promote ourselves more? I'm not talking about bragging about every little detail of our lives and I'm not talking about presenting ourselves as better than the next person, I'm talking about having a sense of confidence and appreciation for ourselves and all that we are and all that we do. And coming out and saying so.
All too often we depend upon the opinion of others as a compass to guide us as to whether we are doing a good job, being a good person, behaving in an appropriate manner. The problem with this is every single person outside of us has a different opinion as to what is good and appropriate. I think that while we should take into account the opinions of others it's very important to value your own opinions, your own true self as much as, if not more than another and I think it's also important to say so. It should be said in a kind and gentle way, but it should be said.
The danger of becoming dependant on the opinions of others is that you become removed from what you really believe. I know there were times in my life when things were going along swimmingly and then the opinion of another person suddenly completely changed my outlook in that moment. Suddenly, I doubt myself, wonder if I've been thinking in error, wonder if maybe they are right and I've been mistaken. To be confident in your own true authentic self is a great gift to yourself that often takes effort but it is truly worth the work.
It's taken some doing but I've grown more confident over the years in my own inner voice and my own value. I take other opinions into consideration and weigh them in my mind but I've let go of any emotional attachment to their opinion and know, truly know that my ideas, my opinions are equally valid and, maybe even more valid because they are, in fact, mine.
So the next time you feel offended or hurt by what someone says about your opinion try a little shameless self promotion. Let the opinion of the other person slide off your shoulders and slip on a cloak of confidence and self appreciation. And let them know you have done so. Try a little self-promotion, let go of modesty and just be out there in all your wonderful glory. You are valuable and you are important and your voice should be heard.
And also, when someone says something kind to you, accept that compliment. When someone says "That was a good point" say "Thank you" and resist the urge to minimise your contribution to the conversation or credit the opinion to someone else. I like the following quote. You know when you do good things. You know when you have good ideas. Trust in yourself and present yourself confidently to the world. The world will appreciate it.
"The moment we begin to fear the opinions of others and hesitate to tell the truth that is in us, and from motives of policy are silent when we should speak, the divine floods of light and life no longer flow into our souls".
Elizabeth Cady Stanton, 1890