I was trying to decide on a topic for my blog post today, and I was having a conversation about that with my bf. (BTW, I’m AAA — Ambivalent About Abbreviations — but I prefer “bf” to “boyfriend.”) In the course of that conversation, I asked him if he had been reading this blog lately. He said he hadn’t read any posts recently.
And there are other people in my life who rarely read these posts.
I have to admit to you, dear reader, that who reads this blog, how frequently or infrequently, does have an effect on me.
I work on losing my investment in the outcome of readership. And I can often do that.
At the same time (probably like other bloggers), I also have this fantasy of people waiting for every post and DEVOURING EVERY WORD.
And I do have some readers who actually come close to fulfilling that fantasy of mine. And I feel incredibly lucky and flattered about that.
But, here’s the deal. The NOT reading feels more powerful — more important — than the reading.
The Negative sticks. It can seem more powerful than the positive.
During the first month of this Year of Blogging Daily, I considered writing a post titled “My Boyfriend Doesn’t Read My Blog.” I thought that was a catchy title. (And I was also wondering how long it would take him to see it.)
I didn’t write the post, though, because the title was … not true. He does read it. Sometimes he reads several days in a row.
But look at how I re-cast that balanced story in my head, to accentuate the negative. I made it all-or-nothing: “My boyfriend doesn’t read my blog.”
Because the negative is more powerful.
When people aren’t reading my blog posts, here are some negative thoughts that can rush in:
They don’t like my writing! If I was a better writer, they would be reading more frequently!
And if The Somebody Who Is Not Reading is somebody close to me, those negative thoughts aren’t just rushing in, they’re carrying extra luggage:
The people who know me best don’t find me interesting.
If people really cared about me, they would want to read my blog.
Those negative thoughts all involve the cognitive distortion of mind reading. So, to challenge that, I need to go to the experts on that experience — the experience of not always reading my blog.
Those people who are close to me tell the story differently. And when I let that story in (instead of my fear-based, self-judgmental story), I hear things like this:
Those posts are good, they’re well-written, but you know what? I’d rather hear those thoughts from you in person.
I like that story better. I hope I can remember it (especially when those pesky, matched-luggage-carrying thoughts are trying to rush in).
Thanks for reading (whenever you do).
I read your blog. I read your blog. I swear it.
(Will there be a test? Gulp.)