As the end of the year approaches, you are likely reflecting on the year, the hits, the misses and the what-ifs. You then start to formulate a plan for the new year and all the things you want to accomplish. Of course, then there are the things you want to do or always wished you could do, but you just don't have the confidence or even know where to begin. One of the biggest hurdles I see many in the paranormal field try to overcome or face is that they don't feel worthy of taking up space or feel that no one wants to listen to what they have to say. Many of us feel this way, but we can't let this fear stop us from even starting.
Many will tell you it is a rite of passage to have a book reading where no one turns up, a lecture to an empty arena, a live stream with not one person tuning in, a new book no one buys, you name it and many of us have gone through it. I still remember how heartbreaking it was to spend months working on a talk curated for a festival and having the two people in attendance walk out mid-way through. Character building .. Yes. Also, soul-destroying.... Yes. It is what you do in reaction to these moments that is what matters. It is much easier to say OK well I tried and then shrug your shoulders and never even think about doing it again because you couldn't stand to go through the pain of that rejection again. The hard part is to keep going, to keep hustling, to keep trying. The reality is that all the pages you follow with thousands of people, the people you admire on the television shows, your favourite content creators and authors have all gone through this more than once and that is one of the reasons why they are where they are today. They kept going. It hurts, but they kept going for themselves and because they felt like they had something worthy of being said. It probably even comes down to a much simpler reason and that is that they simply just love doing it so they keep doing it.
It can be pretty overwhelming just to put yourself and your thoughts out there. Why? Because we fear rejection. We fear rejection in the one place (the paranormal field), where we finally feel like we belong. The harsh reality of life is that there is always rejection. The biggest thing that holds me back is rejection. This is why I don't submit my work for consideration to be a part of projects or publications. It may be taken by some as not wanting to be a part of it, but the reality is I am scared that my work is not good enough or up to the high standard that many of the other contributors to these projects put out. I am too hung up on the prospect of rejection rather than the possibility that it could just be accepted. I suppose my compromise is running my website, as I can freely put out my thoughts and while there is certainly still judgment and criticism, I am in the driver's seat and that is how I have made it work for me. I said last year at the same time I was planning to submit my work on several projects and put myself out there. The truth is, I didn't do it. I didn't even try and now I sit here at year's end regretting that I didn't even give it a go. Why didn't I give it a go? Fear! I have set this again as my goal for 2024, but am I going to get caught in the fear cycle again?
I am sharing this story not for sympathy or to invite encouragement, but more to show you that we all have our doubts and again, all the people you see out there creating content go through this as well. The ones who are successful are the ones who work through that fear and while it is still there, they fight through it and give it a go. There will be rejection, there will be disappointment, but with that also comes achievement, accomplishment and success. So what I say to everyone is that little voice inside telling you to put yourself out there and give it a go deserves to be heard. Not just by you, but by all of us. We all have something to say. When it comes to the paranormal, there is not one particular way to do things. There is not one point of view. Whether you have been in this field for 5 minutes or 50 years, everyone has something they can contribute and that is their voice. It doesn't necessarily mean creating videos or writing books. It can be finding the courage to simply ask a question. So many times on investigations I will meet someone who is investigating for the very first time. Usually, afterwards, they will contact me and want to ask a question or verbalise an experience they had. The reason they didn't on the spot? That fear again. Fear that it was a 'stupid question'. Fear that they would be judged. Fear that they would be told they were wrong or that it was all in their head. Fear that because it was their first investigation, it wasn't their place to speak up. I am here to tell you what I always tell them. Your voice matters. The question they may have thought was stupid could have sparked a whole new train of thought. It could have been the beginning of an intelligent conversation. It could have been a moment where we all bonded because we all experienced it. We could have felt a sense of comfort knowing that we have all been ridiculed in the past—so many what-ifs from a person simply finding the courage to use their voice.
I know it is hard. I know I need to take my own advice, but maybe it is something we can all do together.
Wishing you a happy new year and 2024 is the year the paranormal field finds its voice!
Cover Photo by Andrea Piacquadio
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