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Keeping a level head in the face of potential rejection. Oooh what a thorny topic this will be!
Of course this is going to be all about me — how can it not be, it’s the only thing I’m an expert on — but let’s just agree on the egoism being a shorthand rather than self indulgence. It’ll just make this whole meditation (already wanky) a lot less clunky if we do it this way.
I have a few different things going on at the minute, and they’re all kind of coming to boil really kind of by sheer multiplicative synergy; once you start pushing one thing out into the world, people inevitably start asking about the other things you have on the shelf behind you. Some things that, in my mind at least, still aren’t at the public stage yet, are now coming up in conversations and I’m radically having to reassess my feelings on them for the sake of not having the conversation fall flat on it’s arse.
But this now means that I’m actively inviting rejection, whether I’m ready for it or not. When someone asks about something, and I tell them, it’s completely open and justified for them to go “huh. Sounds dumb!” Most people might not be so blunt force about that (some might, I like those people and actively seek to work with them), but it’s easy to see when someone’s phoning it in for the sake of preventing civilisation from burning to the ground.
How do protect yourself from the fact that some people aren’t going to get the joke? How do you insulate against a cold shoulder?
You have to look at the root of what that might feel like. Let’s use an example.
When I wanted to get my novel published (oh yeah in 2016 I was writing a novel), the fear of sending it to publishing agents was based on a core idea of ‘if they don’t like my writing, it’s because I’m not good enough.’ It was a common yet fundamental misattribution: they couldn’t judge whether or not I was good enough, they didn’t know me. They could only not like my writing. I made this misattribution because I had, fairly consciously, pinned the success of the novel as the remedy to my dissatisfaction with myself. I didn’t feel like I was worth much, held the strong belief that I would always be overlooked by others, and therefore I needed to do something radical (like becoming a bestselling author) to move me out of one status role and into another.
I think a lot of us do this with art. ‘Why do you want to be famous?’ ’I want to be the headliner of a massive festival with thousands of people staring up at me in admiration.’
Think about that. When you answer that kind of question with that kind of answer, what you’re saying is you want something to validate you. You build your self esteem on that foundation, so when something challenges that foundation, your self esteem crumbles.
Careers that are built on vulnerability are all susceptible to this. It’s how a lot of the con artists get away with hoodwinking people, by preying on this kind of aspirational self-worth that’s contingent on success.
The solution, at least for me, has been to recalibrate the purpose of what I do, treat it like work that needs to be done, not a gap that needs to be plugged. When you have a job to do, the job needs to be done. It’s just work. Everyone will pitch in and say ‘oh I like this but this needs to change, wouldn’t it be good if…’. Most of the time, it doesn’t need to change, and it definitely wouldn’t be good if. People often just miss the point, or want to give an opinion for the sake of giving one.
By knowing what I’m making and who I’m making it for, I can make a more logical judgement about how much weight someone’s opinion is going to carry for me. I can see where they’re coming from, see if they’re someone who I’m doing the work for, and if they’re not, then that’s fine. It just wasn’t for them. There’s a lot of things I don’t like; I don’t like football, does that mean that football is terrible? It’s just not for me.
Base your identity on the fact that you have worth purely because you’re a human. It’s not dependent on what you achieve or how much you earn. If your friendship group makes you feel that way, if you get rejected by a love interest, that can be an absolute juggernaut to someone with a poor view of themselves. But the reality is, you’re probably just not for them. They value something different, that you don’t bring or at least aren’t perceived to bring by that particular group or person. That’s fine. Just get new people. For every person who rejects you, there’s probably another who finds you mad attractive.
I think that’s what it means to cut ‘toxic’ people out of your life; surround yourself (and you can very much do this) with people who don’t drain you. Surround yourself with people who energise you, and you’ll quickly find where your real strengths are; as an artist, as a worker, and most importantly, as a human.
Have a bloody lovely day.
Image credit: Giorgio Parravicini on Unsplash
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If you find my work valuable, or you just really like my taste in music, then you can pay what you feel to support me on this journey. That's really all there is to it! Your support means I can focus more energy in this space, and continue the psychodynamic odyssey. All support is appreciated equally & emphatically
Hi my name is Matt, but my friends call me Matt. I’m on the wrong side of 29 (damn I hate it every time I have to update that number), definitely feeling my age, but never felt happier and more content than I do at this point in my life. I’ve been through some rocky patches (who hasn’t) and lived to tell the tale, and boy do I gots some stories.
When I’m not giving opinions absolutely nobody asked for, I’m doing a worldbuilding with my passion project, vivaellipsis. If you like offbeat nonsense delivered through immersive escapism, then go and get involved. Or don’t, I’m not telling you what to do. I’m not yer boss.
I’m a simple man with simple interests. I like Yorkshire tea, the sound of rain on the window, and a bloody good story.
9 August 2021
What today’s insight has granted me is the knowledge that if you don’t check in on yourself, you’ll lose touch with yourself. You’ll become unfamiliar with each other, and it feels very strange. I honestly think this is what it means to feel out of sorts.
27 May 2021
The cinematic score to your psychological journey with Matt Jenko. Featuring artists like: Bonobo • Yotto • Emancipator • CamelPhat • ODESZA • Carpenter Brut • Tinlicker • Four Tet • Jacques Greene • Tchami • RÜFÜS DU SOL
28 April 2021