Unleashing your creativity and finally deciding to do something about it is fun and exciting. However, every artist (regardless of your craft) is vulnerable to taking a dangerous path that leads to disillusionment. Here are two of the easiest ways to do it:
1. Compare yourself with others.
There’s a whole world of difference between having someone’s work as a source of inspiration and enviously looking at someone’s work as a point of unhealthy comparison.
Two things can happen when you start comparing yourself with others. It’s either : 1. You exalt yourself and believe that your work is superior (which is really pathetic) or 2. You get cranky for being “not good enough” and eventually find your way to discouragement (which kills your creativity).
I love the wisdom from the Desiderata: Do not compare yourself with others for you will become vain and bitter. For always there will be greater and lesser person than yourself.
2. Always seek external validation.
Just like how you spend hours refreshing your post on Facebook and Instagram for the sole purpose of checking how many likes and “nice” comments you get, convincing yourself that you are indeed likeable and everyone is really excited to see that duck-face selfie photo with a caption that says “just being me”. (Yes I know that kind of smile you have right now. A lot of us are guilty of it to some extent. Probably not the duck-face selfie.)
I want to make it clear that it’s not wrong to desire for appreciation. That’s part of us and we need something to satisfy our need for love and belonging. But if your core motivation in doing your creative stuff is praise and self-exaltation then I won’t be surprised if you need antidepressants later on. Because there’s no such thing as enough “praise” and “likes”.
Here’s my encouragement:
Do your craft to build meaningful connections and as a way to give back to the world for receiving such great talent and gift.
Always believe that you are good enough. No matter what. Because that’s how you were created in the first place. Remember that there was no one in the past and there will never be someone like you who could do the special things you are doing right now. You are unique, irreplaceable, and beautiful. Don’t let anyone steal that truth in your life.
Lastly, realize that your creative journey is not really all about you. It’s about connection and love.
And when you finally get it, you’ll walk in peace and serenity.