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Shipping Is An Act Of Kindness

To ship our creative work is to act kindly.

First, we’re being kind to ourselves.

I have quit more creative projects than I’ve completed. In fact, I’ve walked away from this post two times. A pestering voice called doubt kept ringing in my ear:

  • Why would anyone listen to you?
  • Person X did this better. You’re just copying.
  • What’s the point of this anyway?

I’m learning that these thoughts are opportunities for self-love. It’s important to invite these thoughts in and sit with them. Listen to what they’re saying. Feel their impact on my body. Now, I respond to these thoughts with a kind and gentle voice:

To “why would anyone listen to you” I say, “Every living being has a unique perspective that’s shaped by their memories and experiences. We all have something to share”.

To “person X did this better. You’re just copying” I say, “We are all connected. We learn from each other and grow together”.

To “what’s the point of this anyway?” I say, “It feels right. My heart beats faster as the words pour out and a soft smile forms on my face”.

These responses are small acts of kindness that help me regain my focus. They provide some armor to help me withstand the voices that are rooted in my fears of self-expression, failure and not being heard.

Gwendolyn Brooks said it beautifully, “Art hurts. Art urges voyages — and it is easier to stay at home”.

It’s easier to tell ourselves that no one will listen or that we’re not innovating. What’s hard is having faith in ourselves and believing that the toxic thoughts that emerge are not indicative of who we are.

By being kind to ourselves throughout the process, maybe we can forge on with our work.

Second, by publishing creative work, we’re being kind to others.

When work is shared with the world, there is a chance that at least one other person will stumble onto it. And given our increasingly connected world, there is a chance that at least one person may resonate with the work. I’m finding that the possibility of this is motivational on it’s own.

At a deeper level though, when we put something out into the world, we’re sharing our time with others. To produce something takes time, and time is the most valuable thing in the world. To give another person time is to give them love.

Published 14 Nov 2016

Husam Machlovi

Looking inward by transmuting ideas into writing, music and software.