Blogger Confession: Taking it Personally

Posted October 8, 2014 by Felicia S in Blogger Confession / 19 Comments


Purchased from iStockphoto


Blogger Confession: I read something yesterday that had me “taking it personally” even though I know it was not that meant that way!  Sometimes it is hard not to take things personally.

Words! Such a small word with such a huge impact. They can be good, bad, sensual, scathing, and everything in between. I know when we were young our chant was “Sticks and Stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me”. If only that was true. Words very much have the power to hurt. In fact,  to me, the pen has always been mightier than the sword.  Most (not all) physical wounds can be patched and healed but the ones that mark our heart often take longer.

So yesterday I read an article that an author wrote that stated:  “unlike most professions, people reading our work are opening a window to our very raw, very exposed soul”

I agree with part of that statement: Authors do pour a piece of themselves into each of their works and expose themselves through their work

The part I disagree with: unlike most other professions.

Anyone who is passionate about their job leaves a piece of themselves in each and everything they do and exposes a part of their soul a long the way..

  • Have you ever seen a lawyer argue a case that they are passionate about? Each and every time they leave a piece of themselves in front of that jury and judge. Their soul exposed for everyone to see because you can’t help but to see it in their argument.
  • Have you ever had a really good customer service experience with someone who was passionate about the product/place they work? Each and every time you see a piece of themselves in that interaction. You see inside their soul that they have commitment, drive, fear that you don’t like what they love as much.
  • Have you ever been to the doctor and had them sit with you through a surgery, questions, fears, and excitement? There is a huge part of themselves in that interaction. Their soul displays an amazing amount of giving, patience, fear, and healing.
  • Have you ever seen a teacher give their all to each and every class they teach? They leave a part of themselves with every student that walks through their doors. Their soul displays a amazing amount of teaching, hope, and fear.
  • Have you ever thought about the people who take calls at 2am to make sure your company’s servers are running/making sure the non-sexy stuff is running to the ultimate peak running performance? Since this is what I do, I can tell you that each server build, each project, each go live is very personal! Each has a huge piece of me in it and my passion for this technology (a piece of my soul is my passion for making things run smoothly, doing a great job) is exposed during the process of the planning. What I care about, how it is structured, what changes are made come from a part of me that cares deeply about how the product is displayed and how my work is viewed.

Just to be clear about what I am saying: Every person who is passionate about what they do (creative or not) leaves a piece of themselves with their projects, creations, and daily duties. They also expose their souls in the process through their interactions, work ethic, and final products! There is no way that can’t happen because passion has a way of showing in even the most surprising of ways.  They are also open up to criticism a long the way (often from both strangers and not) so that part is not exclusive to the artistic world too.

I know I shouldn’t have taken it personally when I read that. I know the person was not meaning to be disparaging to other people by saying what she did. I know creative people tend to be more “out in the public” with their art than the server admin, doctor, teacher, etc. It is just that everything we do has a chance to expose our souls. We all have put our blood, sweat, and tears into something that we are proud of. It does not take being a writer, to expose your soul in a project. That can happen in any realm at any time. All professions when done with passion, time, and dedication will expose us to criticism, vulnerability, and enjoyment.

So this is for all us non-creative in an artistic way people (actually I think all of us is creative but that is another topic for another day): Thank you for being passionate about what you do and for exposing your soul in the process. I appreciate it. To all the authors, actors, directors, artists, and other creative types: Thank You too! I appreciate the part of your creative soul that you have shared with us.

I just had to say something.


Felicia S
Follow Me

What are your thoughts?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

19 responses to “Blogger Confession: Taking it Personally

  1. While you’re right when you say she probably didn’t mean it that way, I agree with you — if you’re passionate about your profession in ANY WAY, you leave part of yourself when you do whatever you do. It doesn’t matter if it’s welding, working at a recycling center, teaching, lawyering or any other job on the planet, if you have passion for what you do, you are putting your heart and soul into it.

    • Yep! I don’t think there is a way that you can hide that if you love what you are doing. It may not be obvious to all (then again neither is it in the artistic world) but it is there! 🙂

  2. I don’t know if what I think/feel is an expression of agreement or disagreement with you.

    You are absolutely correct that all jobs leave a part of the person in it – whether it is well or badly done. But that is not the primary reason or intent. I think that is what the statement you took personally was written to convey. And, it doesn’t always work well – that’s why I believe the most important thing in any artistic endeavor is sincerity.

    I think it is fabulous when someone really puts themselves into their jobs. I don’t think most people are deliberately expressing their souls in the same way and as an individual statement, a protracted experience as in the arts. Writing is a deliberate communication of from one person to a wide or personal audience. I don’t think the person definitely has to know what those things; the content of the writer’s soul; in themselves are. The communication is a process of choosing subject, materials, placement, words, etc. Sometimes we learn about ourselves in the creation of a book or painting or other piece of art. That is often in itself the communication.

    When the communication is not sincere, it feels contrived to me.

    I paint, and when it works, it is like I have peeled myself down the middle and opened my soul quite deliberately onto the canvas and spread it all over the canvas deliberately in an attempt to communicate something from myself to the viewer(fortunately my soul is made of art materials so it doesn’t get all, “OMG is that her soul stuck to the painting?! Ewww!).

    When I write a review I am communicating my response to a book in a very direct and verbal way. And when someone writes fiction and it truly works it is a very deliberate and direct exposure.

    Some other jobs where some part of someone’s self is necessary to the interaction also exposes the soul to touch another: for example, In my fundraising work where I design an event, I am telling others this is important, this issue touches me and I put effort into it so you can experience how important it is too. I could just say oh, look poor, sick kids — give them money but it works better if I expose part of my own commitment.

    But, when I took an order as a customer service person, even though I derived satisfaction from helping people and solving a dilemma, the purpose of the job wasn’t to communicate my soul, my beliefs or understanding of the world. It wasn’t about me, it was about the customer. Maybe that is a direct communication as well — that what the person wants, a longer purchasing experience or a quick experience, is more important than me even leaving myself in the interaction. Gah! I don’t know.

    • I will use your example with my career–

      I just went through an almost year long project where I created a server farm. Each server farm is unique–you have to decide on what parts to use, what specs to put into it, and how each one will be configured. If you look, you can see that I have a fear of not having room to grow (this comes from not only the outrageous specs I started with but the ones that actually went into the farm). You can also see I have hope for the farm to be used in years to come and a bit of a control issue when it comes to what is allowed/not allowed in the farm. You put another engineer in my seat and their creation of this farm would be different aka their fears could be centered around something else entirely. That has nothing to do with the nuts/bolts of the server farm. If it was just a job that I was not passionate about I simply could have followed a pre-cut server spec and not thought twice about it. Just like an author or a painter or a actor could just “do the job” but never display their hopes and fears behind their project.

      I think the difference is that you probably run into more people that are passionate about their art than in other careers.

      I think the difference lies in how people look at what they do: is it a “job” or is it a “creation, career, and passion”. I believe that you can run into that in any profession. I have absolutely dealt with customer service agents who are passionate about their jobs. You can tell they want to help the customer. It is less about the product and more about how you see them as a representation of a company or a product. How can they help you either be satisfied or not leave with a bad taste in your mouth. How do you see them as the person who helped you. You may not think of them as exposing their fears or feelings in that interaction but if it is someone that is passionate about what they are doing then they do. You don’t walk away and they just move on to the next person. They think about it, analyze it, wonder about it, and next time that impacts how they do it. This isn’t every time or ever person who is in customer service but the person who is passionate about it.

      It is OK to do jobs you are not passionate about in order to support your passions, family, etc. Not every one in any profession is going to expose their soul because quite frankly it might be invested elsewhere.

      However, it is insulting to those that do feel passionate about what they do (their creations) to insist that because it is not artistic in nature and you might not see the fears, hopes, etc poured into something that it isn’t there.

      Maybe I see it that way because I am passionate about what I do. I know those who look hard enough can see my fear and hopes in how I engineer something. It isn’t something everyone will see when looking at it but it is there. That is just something that can’t help but bleed into my work and the legacy I leave at the company.

      • Also I should add that maybe it is perception: it may feel more exposed as an author, painter, actor to have your work out there because it feels like it is right there in front of the person. Where as what I do will not be obvious to many people and most won’t even think twice about it.

        However, again I think that even though both times the soul is exposed it is dependent on the person interpreting it to pick up on that exposure. A person may read a book, be totally enthralled with it, and never once think about the person who wrote it. Even though the author feels exposed through their work, the person who read it may never identify it that way. They may a) not think about the person who wrote it or b) assume it was a creation and has nothing to do with the author’s hopes/fears. So really in any profession it is only as exposed as the person receiving it takes it. If the person who viewing, reading, looking, or interacting is not looking deeper then the exposure is just on the creators side and not consumer (for lack of a better word). 🙂

  3. Very thought provoking post! I agree with everything you have to say here, and I’m glad you brought it up. It’s my tendency to take things personally, and I like how you addressed this article head on.

    • I just read things sometimes that are in no way directed at me and I still take them personally. I try not too but it does happen. Dang tephlon around my heart not working LOL

    • Subtweets make me grrrrrrrrrrr! I don’t understand why people do them in the first place. A) If no one can tell what you are talking about then it was just a misuse of a tweet and B) If they can tell what you are talking about then you should just come out & say it. It reminds of the girls in Jr. High would be like–“I smell something in here, don’t you” when someone was around they didn’t like. Then everyone who is not part of that group wonders if it is them? DRIVES ME NUTS!

  4. I agree with you. Perhaps they were referencing the people who go to do their job but hate it or just to survive? I’d like to think so because I would hope that someone who does a job that is known to be creative would be able to see the creativity others can bring to their own jobs not normally associated with intrinsic vulnerability.

    • I don’t think so or that would include authors. I also don’t think she meant it in a negative way but it stuck with me. I know a lot of people don’t think of some professions as soul baring or personality marking but to me anything can be (and should be). I have had jobs that I haven’t loved but a part of me was exposed every day I did them.

      So yeah I took it way more personally than I should have.

  5. I COMPLETELY agree with your point of view. No matter what my roles have been throughout my career, each had me showing up giving everything I had to offer. Whether it was a presentation, a strategy or a written policy, I took pride in having it be the best I could do. If I received critical feedback, yes…I took it personally. How would I not? My blood, sweat and tears were in those works. Whether it is a stereotypical creative product or not is irrelevant. If it was important to you, you’re vulnerable if it’s subject to other critical eyes.

    The author missed the mark there and should come out of that bubble of thinking. He’s/she’s not in a profession that’s unique in leaving one emotionally vulnerable.

    Thanks for a provocative topic.

    • I think she didn’t mean it that way but I just know so many people so passionate about what they do. They are creative, inventive, and fearless when doing it. Many of them have nothing to do with the artistic world. They pour their heart and soul into it. So I read that and went “oh heck no”. I would have been fine if she had left off the “unlike other professions”. I know enough creative types to realize their world is a bit more dramatic than mine and I love them for it. To make your point though you should never put someone else down. Debate rule 101: prove your point first because you will always gain more ground than disproving (or disparaging) the other point.