As an artist and a dreamer our greatest weapon is our emotional sensitivity; for it enables us to dream, to imagine, to empathize and to feel. But this great weapon sometimes feels like a heavy curse… especially when rejection and criticism rain on down.
As creative souls our sensitivity makes us vulnerable to great wounding; and deep wounds if left un-medicated have the ability to paralyze us.
But there in ends the bad news, for wounds once healed increase your ability to dream, to understand to feel. There is strength and power to be found in our scars.
For scars tell stories of battles fought, of not only our survival, but of our continued commitment to fight for our dreams. Scars, like wounds, are a part of our journey. Let me tell you a story…
Two years ago, I was working in a small studio in Hollywood, where a man (a well known Hollywood Director) verbally abused me beyond belief. To do this day, I have no idea what caused him to say such horrible things.
He looked at me with much derision and scorn and snarled, “No film you make, or are ever part of making will ever be watched by more than a few of your friends.”
He then added the walking cliché; “I can make it so you never work in this town again.”
Oh how deep that wound was; for he had aimed a mortal blow right at the heart of me, right at the heart of my dream. I was wounded, desperately wounded, but only for an hour or so. I healed quickly. What saved me from this mortal blow?
The answer I believe is two-fold… Faith & Friendship.
We can never remove ourselves from criticism or rejection; it’s all part of the game we dreamers play. But it’s so tempting to change the way we play the game, to become hardened and ruthless (much like my abuser); to throw off that sensitivity that made us so vulnerable and creative in the first place.
So my question is this how do we remain vulnerable and stay alive to our dream?
When that man cursed me, when he promised me failure, the strength of his promise was defeated (and quickly) by the promise of my dream. For our dreams don’t rest in our own strengths. I believe that my dream was given only to me; that the steps I walk have been and are being constantly arranged; that the God who arranges my steps is far greater than any Hollywood Director.
Faith, both in the dream and in the “Giver of our Dreams”, allows us to throw of criticism and rejection. They are just part of the journey, foes that come to distract us and tell us of another safer way; that really isn’t a way at all.
What doesn’t kill us will make us stronger; and in the creative pursuits I believe they make us stronger and more vulnerable at the same time.
The other part of the journey is Friendship. We’re not supposed to endure our wounds alone. When our skin is wounded, we need a band-aid to hold the edges together so that the skin can heal. So it is with our dreams; friendship is the band-aid that holding us together allowing our dreams to heal.
When that man in Hollywood attacked my dream, I ran straight into the arms of friends; people who held tight their own dreams, and so valued the dream in me. And there I remained, encouraged and believed in. A scar formed, strong and beautiful and I was ready to fight again.
Having a place of vulnerability to process rejection and criticism is vital for those of us who dream. It allows us to heal quickly and stay true to who we are in even the toughest of circumstances.
Faith & Friendship, are they part of your dream?