Most day to day fear is not useful. It only pretends to be useful. It is not there to save our lives as in the caveman era. It is just the perception of fear that we are experiencing, and it needs a gentle reminder to move along. Well, Taylor Swift’s reminder was not really gentle.
Recently I attended my third Taylor Swift concert with my daughter – the “Reputation Stadium Tour.” Taylor continued to dazzle her audience with her vocals, pyrotechnics and dancing, but what made this tour different was that the pop megastar opened up for the first time about the major social media backlash she experienced two years ago — and admitted that she initially thought it might ruin her career. Let’s face it. She was fearful.
In 2016, Swift strongly disputed her involvement with Kayne West and Kim Kardashian, and called it “character assassination,” yet it was too late. The internet branded Swift a snake. Kardashian gleefully fueled the flames. Shortly after, Swift went underground — at least, as much as possible for an A-list star.
Fear Will Not Kill You
So, why do you think Taylor went underground. I suspect it was out of fear. In many ways, fear does serve us. It keeps us from doing things that will ultimately hurt us. We can allow fear to stop us in our tracks, which is what initially happened to Taylor. However, someone (most likely herself) reminded her that this fear would not kill her. No one was going to die. So, she must of reconsidered.
And during this tour, she revealed that my suspicions were right. On stage she stated “A couple of years ago, someone called me a snake on social media and it caught on, then a lot of people were calling me a lot of things on social media. And I went through some really low times for a while because of it. I went through some times when I didn’t know if I was going to get to do this anymore.”
Acknowledge the Fear and Take Action
But Taylor is back. Back in full force. I am guessing she is still a little fearful, but you don’t have to be fearless to take action. Taking action while acknowledging fear can be one of the most powerful things we do. And Taylor did just that. She took action and produced another album and tour, as an acknowledgement of that fear.
“I wanted to send a message to you guys that if someone uses name calling to bully you on social media, and even if a lot of people jump on board with it, that doesn’t have to defeat you. It can strengthen you instead,” Swift said, as the crowd cheered. “And I think something that came out of it that was good is that I learned a really important lesson that I’ve been telling you from the stage for about 10 years, but I never had to learn it so harshly myself — and that lesson has to do with how much you value your reputation.”
Choose Your Own Thoughts
We can overcome fear by deciding not to believe the thoughts causing it – not believing what social media said about her. Instead we can understand it, find its cause, find the thought patterns that are causing it, and then change them. Taking action while feeling fear is a skill you can develop. And changing your thought around the fear is in your control.
Taylor concluded: “I think that the lesson is that you shouldn’t care so much if you feel misunderstood by a lot of people who don’t know you, as long as you feel understood by the people who do know you; the people who will show up for you, the people who see you as a human being.”
Taylor changed her thought from:
My reputation is ruined because of social media and this incident.
My reputation is just fine because the people that know me understand me and support me.
I think the sold out crowds are evidence enough that Taylor’s reputation is not ruined and her choice to think differently about the incident and not be fearful for coming out and performing again is the right one.
Fans were left with one final parting thought from Swift on the video screen: “In the death of her reputation, she felt truly alive.”
Looks like the Big Reputation is still alive, on her terms.