I was asked to do a simple yet challenging task: writing a blog entry addressed to artists, be it some useful tool, some advice on how to improve their business or something alike. It all seems too easy, you know, sitting down, writing stuff and sending it out. And it could be if it wasn’t for one tiny detail: my insecurity keeps holding me back from sharing anything I write.
You see, I enjoy writing more than I enjoy doing anything else (except for petting dogs, anytime, anywhere). And I must say myself, I do think that I am good at it. However, insecurity makes me not do it as often as I would love to, or with a purpose that would benefit myself and others (lately, it has just been some journal entries on my mid-twenties crisis). It’s like being in a toxic relationship that you keep bouncing to just because it has become your comfort zone, and I am sure most of you have faced this situation at some point.
If you are reading this, it means that you consider yourself a striving artist, a curious accomplished one or a good friend of mine that supports my work (love u <3). Either way, there are high chances that at any given time, you have found yourself wondering, “Am I good enough?”
I, by no means, am trying to write some pseudo-coaching article, or implying that I am now an enlightened being giving spiritual advice just because I did a sloppy version of the 21-day meditation challenge by Deepak Chopra. What I am looking to accomplish here is to make you (and me) realize that insecurity is:
- Based on distorted judgements we have about ourselves and others.
- An easy and undeserved victory for your Ego.
With a little help from my friends
I am usually pretty insecure and full of self-doubt when it comes to my creative side. I am sure a lot of people feel the same way because every head is a world (“cada cabeza es un mundo” definitely sounds lame in English, I am sorry for that). However, when us introverted people dare to speak out about what is going through our minds, we find friends, family, partners and colleagues, all agreeing that we are so dumb for ever thinking that we are not good enough in what we do.
In my particular case, I have shared this with my closest, most open-minded friends, and their response is always reassuring and clear: what I believe of myself is a big, fat lie, and that I am good at [almost] everything I do. It’s not that I ask my mom because she will always see me with loving eyes. I always try to speak with people that I admire, that I believe are doing a great job, and that are doing what they love to do.
That feedback has been so important for me that, otherwise, I would not be writing today, specifically about this, on this website. This would probably be still written in my journal, sitting with some poems that I am still too shy to share.
Time and space, your most sacred goods
Whether you are a painter, a musician, a writer, a designer, or whatever it is that you want to specialize on, it is essential that you ditch insecurities and have trust in yourself. But even most importantly, have trust in all the efforts you’ve made to be where you are and to keep moving towards where you want to be.
Think about it: all that time you’vespent learning new stuff that you are so passionate about, developing yourself, creating meaningful things; it all really has a worth of its own, regardless you believe in yourself or not. And by “you” I mean the aforementioned Ego. That annoying voice in your head that fills you up with harsh criticism, that makes you think that the post you just did was quite nerdy, or that the lyrics you wrote aren’t deep enough, or that just because this other person went to art school and you didn’t, your work lacks something, and you let that harmful battle going on in your head hold you back.
No. Please, stop. As a friend told me a few days ago, if there is a thought, ANY thought, that is not helping you improve, just say to it “Thank you, next”, and make room for a more useful one. You must get rid of the ego that insists on discouraging you and pulling you down. Ain’t nobody got time for that! You need to clear the space for more handy thoughts and ideas.
If there is any reason I’m writing this right now, it is that I decided to believe in my capabilities and to respect every single minute I’ve invested developing myself as a writer and as a professional. Also, because I know there are people out there, like me, that lack of self-confidence and are letting their art get covered in dust because they can’t see that their time and effort and talent are worthy.
Do not compare yourself. I repeat, do NOT compare yourself!
One of the easiest and most common ways of self-sabotage is to compare your work with someone else’s. Not only that but also we tend to do this especially when we are at our lowest point, so we end up all let down for not meeting our own expectations of what we think our art or content should look like. This happens usually at the beginning when you are still defining your voice and identity.
Needles to say, to be this unfair and merciless with yourself blocks your perspective and your ability to see beyond the “flawless” Instagram feed you are frantically scrolling through. If all you can see is how perfect someone else’s work is, and how talented and creative they are, and how every idea they come with is a hit, let me tell you, there is A LOT you are missing out.
You see, as far as I know, no one pops out of their mother’s vagina with pen and paper in hand and a perfect sense of proportion and technique. These things require time, effort, tons of practice and zillions of mistakes and regrets. Trial and error are basic in every artist and creator’s evolving process. Yes, that’s right, EVERY one of them. Not just you.
Accept and embrace your process. Enjoy it. Know that you are in the right place and don’t discredit your work just because it doesn’t look exactly like how you envisioned it. You’ll get there. Take your time to evolve and know that something doesn’t have to be perfect to deserve to be shared.
And remember, not because another person is super talented and skilled, it means that you are not. Your background, education, interests and references are unique. There is a whole universe inside your head that makes you create all the things you do. It’s the same for every person, so don’t let yourself be discouraged by other’s good work. Use it as an inspiration. It’s normal to feel intimidated or insecure, but don’t let toxic competitiveness paralyze you.
The moment has come: making your first move
Again, I don’t think of myself as an enlightened being, ready to bless you all with my life journey and experiences. Kind words won’t do the job. But you know what will? Action. Trust me, getting out there and showing what you’ve got takes only one simple thing: doing it.
And seriously, what’s the worst thing that could happen? No one reading you? No one double-tapping the collage you posted 15 minutes ago? Yeah, that would suck. But it would not be very different from what happens when you don’t do it.
When you actually expose yourself out there, you are opening countless doors and windows, and creating networking opportunities that will really help you make your path. Maybe it won’t be your main way to make a living. But maybe it will. It all depends on how much effort you put on it and how much faith you’ve got.
What is the most probable thing to happen at the beginning is that you share it with your closest friends and because they are all so awesome, they will tell you that you are amazing and that what you are doing is great. They might also give you some advice and good criticism. Be humble and take it.
Furthermore, you are also creating a brand new space full of possibilities: developing a creative network with all the weirdos out there with an internet connection and the same interests as you; a place to showcase your talent and let prospective clients see how you flow; a nice bullet point to add to your resume; the entrance door for the career you’ve always dreamt of.
The work is already done. Now, it’s time to share it. Explore all the different tools available on the internet to publish your reel and portfolio. I mean, Instagram is cool and everything, not to mention it’s partly essential for networking, but it doesn’t have to be your main platform. There are tons of others versatile enough to adapt to your work. Take a look at Semplice, for example. It works for everyone, whether you are a designer, writer, painter, architect, and beyond. The work is already done. Now, get the ball rolling and keep evolving.