Yesterday I had a mini pity party for one in my office. Tears ran down my face, my chest hurt, I was sad, and I kept thinking to myself, "AM I GOOD ENOUGH!?"
Self doubt snuck its mean little self into my yesterday y'all. It sucked. BOY did it suck. That feeling of "YOU ARE NOT THERE YET" or "YOU'RE NOT GOOD ENOUGH" or "THEY ARE SO MUCH BETTER THAN YOU" just kept knocking on that door to my head and heart. I hated feeling that way, and I didn't want to tell anyone because I wasn't fishing for compliments, and I know if I would have called my friends and family, they totally would have just supported me, loved on me, and said all the things I wanted to hear. I mean, yes, that would have been the easy road and probably would have helped some with these feelings, but I didn't want to do that. I just sat here, editing away, tearing up, frustrated, wanting the answers, and of course that was dramatically accompanied with depressing music. Naturally.
Lately, I've been feeling out of sorts with my work, my life, my schedule, and just trying to do it all, and desperately trying to make everyone happy in the process. Just the entire the balancing act of it all...it just caught up to me yesterday and I saw a scrolling marquee in big bright red letters that said, "YOU'RE FAILING MISERABLY!" Why gee, thanks Mr. Scrolling Marquee. Preciate it.
I have days where I'm on a high with my creativity and I make lists of the things I want to work on WHEN I am all caught up "one day". It's a nonstop battle with my inner muse. I then began to notice that I was feeling more down than usual, like that feeling you get when say Christmas comes and comes...and then BAM. It's over. That sadness you get when you realize that you have to wait a whole other year for that beautiful time of the year to come. That sadness takes over me, but more often than I'd like.
Creating, wanting, hit and missing, brainstorming, aspiring, battling my inner demons, celebrating accomplishments, leaping on Faith, working my rear-off, and actually finishing projects has been the wildest ride. There are so many highs and lows between all of these things. It is exciting, it's intense at times, but once I get to a certain point in this journey, I start to feel empty, lost, not good enough and just well, defeated. I feel like a birthday balloon. I was once full of helium chillaxin' up by the ceiling...and now I'm just hanging out in the corner, losing air day to day, and slowly making my way to the ground. The insidious feeling just takes over my soul and all those happy, successful check-points I've made drown out into the background. A little "dark side" if you will that I am embarrassed to even admit. I shouldn't feel this way, and I think that's why I am so frustrated.
What IF I am never to the point I want to be? What if I get stuck in a rut and people notice? What if I can't create anymore? What if people don't respect my work? What if people don't like what I have done? It all boils down to one thing: I CARE WAY TOO MUCH WHAT PEOPLE THINK.
That feeling is just down-right exhausting. I've come to realize that it will just set you up for failure. Acceptance is just a part of life. It's just how we focus on it that makes all the difference. I really wish I didn't feel this way sometimes. I really do. But I'd be lying to myself and you would be lying to yourself if you said you never felt this. That moment when you begin to question your abilities is the quickest way to let yourself slip into a creative stupor. There will always be a lull if you continue to let these thoughts and feelings drain your creative energy. It's the simple truth my friends.
There's my answer.
BUT how in the world am I going to STOP feeling this way? I can SAY I don't feel that way, but the truth is, that would be a lie. The trick to the matter is simply FEELING the answer, rather than just knowing the answer. There is so much truth in that. We all KNOW the answer, the success in knowing the answer is taking action and actually taking those steps to create the FEELING. It's the hardest part, which is why so many people fail to get past this demon of conquering self-doubt.
When I begin to feel this way, I honestly am the most sensitive, emotional, and lost person in the world. I am quick to take things personally. I could always just ignore it and give into any disappointment when things have not gone as I have expected...but guess what? I wouldn't even be HERE right NOW if I did that. I've been hurt A LOT, especially in this past year, but I didn't let it stop me. I decided to take an alternative approach. An approach that wasn't easy to take, and yes, the self doubt is the price I have to pay because of it sometimes.
That approach is just being me, and being the best ME that I know how.
Being motivated by these thoughts and just staying TRUE to myself. Wanting to do better, create better, improve leaps and bounds in my work and trying to show that along the way. Each disappointment, each doubt, each moment of comparison... I have CHOSE to just swallow it, and use it as a starting point for another, better, and creative endeavor and thought. Self doubt has a way of getting under your skin. And when it does, that sucker doesn't want to leave. In all honesty, I don't think it ever does go away. There is no way in hiding it because after all, we are human. I feel that as a creative, self-doubt will always, always, always be present in the back of our minds. It's using THAT as the key motivator and not letting the little gremlin win.
When I begin photographing, creating, and dreaming of the things I want to happen in the future, often times I start to feel discouraged and ready to give up. But then my muse would smack me in the head, and then on my bottom and say, "STOP WHINING. STOP COMPARING. DO YOU. AND START CREATING!"
I have to use these feelings as fuel. I have to use them to better myself.
Trust your instinct, trust that gut of yours, and use what you have INSIDE of that heart to CREATE.
Trying to navigate through all of this is a struggle for me, and I'm sure for every creative out there. We will all have those demons that want to take your hard earned work, your blood, sweat and tears and turn them into something negative. The key to doing your best work, and being your best YOU is just having the right attitude. Having a strong, open-minded, ready to fight mindset and trusting your inner-being will set you free. Our teachers always said, "If at first you don't succeed, try, try and try again." So cliche' but so true. Getting back up when you're knocked down (Chumbawamba, anyone? Anyone?), acknowledging failures, learning each and every day, dodging the negativity, and not giving in to those demons that consistently discourage persistence, positivity and faith in one's self. Smack them in the face. Stomp on them. Keep moving forward doing the best you absolutely can.
Everything you do in life is a choice. Everything. Your actions are a choice. Your decisions are a choice. Your attitude is a choice. I'm honestly still working on making the best, yet smarter choices, and I can't say I always succeed. BUT I'm learning. I'm letting my mistakes teach me, and I'm trying my hardest not to let myself be sucked into self-pity and feelings of self-doubt. It is so easy to get lost in this sea of other creations of other amazing and talented creatives out there succeeding and being recognized (for good reason), and guess what? YOU will get there too. YOU will. You just have to believe it and push through moments like this. It's a constant struggle, but I know that struggle is worth it.
P.s.) For any of you reading this with a passion, love and appreciation for your creative line of work and find yourself battling these same feelings... I just want to say one thing: You aren't good enough.