They Won't Believe In You First (Shower Thoughts)
Shower thoughts - An infamous concept that entire Twitter accounts are dedicated to. If you're unfamiliar with the idea, it's essentially a term describing the phenomenon associated with thinking clearly and deeply in the shower. It's the idea that your brain's capacity to imagine and make sense of things is heightened in the context of hot water falling on your back, as you imagine yourself being a brooding protagonist in a rom-com in the rain, realizing something deep or important.
My theory: it has nothing to do with the shower, and a lot more to do with the fact that while in the shower, you have nothing distracting you from the task at hand, which in this case, is showering. Who would have thought that less distractions would lead to clearer thoughts?
Today I had a shower thought. It emerged from my subconscious so unexpectedly, so beautifully uninvited, like a long lost friend you find at your door step years after losing touch. It was a lovely thought. You didn't believe in yourself because they loved you; they loved you because you believed in yourself.
I play music. I sing, play guitar, and write songs. It's been my dream to do that professionally since I was 11 years old. Back in high school, I used to play gigs just about every weekend. With a lot of hard work and dedication, I was able to cultivate a good local following with my band. We played a local restaurant in the heart of my small town Texas town square called Roots Bistro. Generally, we packed the place out! The community was extremely supportive of my musical endeavors, and certainly played a part in bolstering my confidence. But I was highly confident in my abilities and love for playing music well before I started packing out Roots Bistro.
I can pinpoint exactly when that confidence failed. It was June 22, 2014. I was a contestant on a TV show called Rising Star. The mention of the show usually warrants an initial confusion and lack of recollection. I have watched the wheels turn in peoples' heads countless times as they try to remember the show. I'm not sure if their eventual remembrance is feigned, but more often than not, they'll eventually say, "Oh yeah! I do remember that show!"
I'll spare the details, but my tenure on that TV show wasn't pretty. It wasn't ugly, but it felt very ugly. I got cut from the show after my first appearance, after honestly believing I was the obvious future winner (remember, I told you I was highly confident). The day my plane landed back in Austin, Texas from Los Angeles, I was a different person. I was a grown up. I understood failure, and how crushing it can be for the first time. That was day 1 of a nearly 6 year journey to today's shower thought.
After that show, I continued making music. But my confidence was shot. It has been for 6 years. I still knew I was talented, but my belief that I could actually make anything of my talent had been affectively zero, with little unsubstantiated signs of life popping up every so often. A year after Rising Star, I wrote a song called Hometown Hero. The song was about how unsupportive my community was. I felt betrayed by them at the point - like they had given up on me.
The reality is, I had given up on myself. The confident 16 year old kid, pre Rising Star my community had supported so wonderfully was gone. I had turned into a jaded 18 year old who spent a lot more time thinking about what was wrong with things than what could be right with a little grit and determination. What is there to believe in about a person like that? People are always looking for something to believe in - something to inspire them. There is absolutely nothing inspirational about a display of self pity. I had nothing to offer my community. I was just hoping they would start telling me how great I was again. But even if they did, I don't think I would have believed them.
People will not believe in you before you believe in yourself. If you are being consistently overlooked and ignored, you are likely lacking in believable qualities. Believable qualities are more precious than diamonds. They are far more fragile too. Me saying this is not me saying, buck up and believe in yourself. It is me saying, believing in yourself is key, and I wish I could tell you exactly how to. Learning how to do that will be a journey. But I urge you not to waste another minute believing that the affirmations of others will come without first developing an internal belief system; they won't.
Back in my high school days, I believed in something big. It was far bigger than me, and I was convinced that my musical talents would help bring glory and recognition to that bigger thing. That belief was palpable and evident. It was easy for people to rally behind. They didn't believe in me; they believed in whatever it was I believed in. So like me, if you are feeling apathetic, betrayed, and uninspired, the missing piece is just that: something bigger than you. Seek it out, and ye shall find. Give people something to believe in. It isn't about you. They'll never believe in you first. You have to be the believer. They'll follow suit, but you have to lead the way.