Wednesday, March 28, 2012

How to Rid Yourself of Wet Blankets

Do you know someone who constantly brings down the mood? Someone who might make you feel insecure about yourself, or your dreams, or your job, or anything? Basically, do you know any wet blankets?

Chances are, unfortunately, that you probably do. Not all are malicious on purpose, most actually aren't. Some might try to help with unsolicited advice ("You know, you could make a lot more money as a doctor than as an artist. You should really think about medicine." Another type of wet blanket is the kind that tries to make everything a competition, even when it's not. Others might spout lots of statistics that rains on your parade ("You know, art schools have a high graduation rate, but only x% actually get an art job after graduating.") Still other wet blankets might get your goat by saying things in false support like "I'm not telling you not to follow your dream," or "Yeah, that painting looks pretty good, but...oh nevermind, it's great, honest!"

Poo poo on these wet blanket! "But Monkey +Seal," you might be thinking, "of course poo poo on them, but how do I deal with these jerk-face donkey butts?" Well then, if you are thinking that, you must read on!

So, how to deal with wet blankets? There are a few ways to doing this. The first is protecting yourself from wet blankets before you even really have to deal with them. If you can identify these people early on, don't share you ideas with them because you know they'll shoot them down. What's the point in being generous with people who will try to bring you down? There is none! Don't show your dance recital to people who are gonna hate on your choreography, and don't take your sketchbook out of your bag around people who are gonna take it without asking and then criticize your drawings. Skip the jerkwads!

"But Monkey and Seal, what if I work with these buttholes?" Well friend, if you are in a situation where you can't just avoid the party-poopers, you need to identify their behavior as what it is to emotionally distance yourself from them. If you absolutely have to listen to the poop they're gonna say, if you brace yourself for the idiocy, you can create some emotional distance. It'll still be crappy, and you should try to avoid wet blankets if you can, but if you have to deal with them, here's some more tips:

You have to realize that the reason these people are wet blankets and keep hating on you is that whether they know it or not, it's not really about you at all. When someone is harping on your dreams, or your art, or basically just bringing you down, most of the time it's not really about you, but it's about them.

You see, you have to remind yourself that it's their own lame worldview and sad paradigms - they're really just unhappy with themselves and they tend to take it out on everyone else. Their ideas are never awesome enough, so they have to make sure that you know that yours aren't either. Maybe they're unhappy with themselves or were discouraged somewhere along the line, but regardless they're just downers, and it really has nothing to do with the quality of you or your work.

Alternatively, if their garbage-talk is bringing you down, you need to honor your emotions and take care of yourself. Identify the negativity and call it out for what it really is: pure negativity and self-hatred (on their part). Others will want to quickly patch you up by saying "Oh, it's a learning experience," or maybe "Well, that's sorta standard in this industry," or "That's just how he is," but NO! Don't listen to them! The wet blanket is a wet blanket, and that's that!

Administer some self-care stat! Go take a bath with your rubbery ducky, or snuggle with your blankey, or do whatever it is that you do to make yourself all cheery and happy inside. Eat a pint of vegan ice cream and wash it down with some cookies! Take a shot (or two, or three, but only if you aren't driving or have something you need to get done later). Whatever it is, make your inner kid happy.

If all else fails, talk to someone who is going to support you and help you remember that the wet blanket is the crazy person, not you. If you don't know if you can trust anyone, there's always a therapist (or you could also vent via email to us).

Finally, sometimes push comes to shove, and the wet blanket just needs to get put in their place. You officially have Monkey + Seal's blessing to put up a fight if need be. You can call them out on their poopy behavior and regardless of whether or not your actions change their behavior, your heart will know that you stood up for yourself, and that's a really powerful step in itself. Besides, if you call them out in front of a lot of people in a way that isn't full of name-calling, but is very factual, you can very possibly shame them into reform.

So avoid your wet blankets and love yourself. Don't try to dry out the wet blanket, it'll only get smelly and mildewy and eventually will become a wet blanket again. Dangerous!