How to stay positive when insecurity strikes

 

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A page from one of my early journals, nearly five years ago.

Everyone has moments of self doubt. Such moments generally arise out of our need for comparison. You tend to compare your work to that of others, regardless of how much longer the other person has invested in bettering his/ her craft. And then one of these two things happens:

Billy didn’t even deserve that project. I am much better at that kind of work. He just made a bunch of contacts and  gets all the good stuff.

OR

I’m worth nothing. I can never be like Billy. He is just lucky. I can’t be like him.

Both these attitudes are equally destructive and if delved in for a longer time, will leave you unproductive and anxious (like a cross between Homer Simpson and… an anxious Homer Simpson?), staring at the work of others pretending to learn from it but you know what you’re really doing. (Who ever benefited from stalking an ex on Facebook? Yes, it’s the right analogy- you’ll learn in time)

 

Feeling doubtful of your abilities? Need an instant mood lifter? Encourage others. Compliment them on their great work and see how most negative thoughts exit your mind. Most people, whether in the creative industry or others, go through such periods of self-doubt and insecurity. It’s a natural tendency and it’s OK to feel this way sometimes but the key is to never let it stop you. (Be unstoppable. Like Oprah. Or Spam.)

Everyone is trying. It’s not just you. Look around. Throw away anxious thoughts, you don’t need to hurry. There’s plenty of time.  Your story is unique. It will develop twists and paths meandering through some crazy forest and an Azkaban of its own – dementors and the whole shebang. (Expecto patronum!)

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Nobody can do the things you do or like you do them. Your voice is your voice. There will be situations where someone else’s voice might seem relevant and yours… not so much. There will also be events when you will be all everyone will want to hear. Again, the idea is to not let any of this stop you.

The reason you do what you do, is not to create rivals, enmity and insecurity. Hell no! This wasn’t even anywhere close! Then why drift from your original intent? Two followers or 2000 followers, you do what you do with integrity. A little bit of faith goes a long way.

For those of you who, like me, sketch daily and also use it as an exercise to calm down, continue sketching. Continue sketching especially on days you don’t feel like lifting a finger. The days you think your work means nothing, make two sketches. Look at your old sketches and chart your journey. You’ve grown as a person and your sketches narrate that story. Before I end this rather long post, I’ll share some pages from Danny Gregory’s book ‘Art Before Breakfast’ which as everyone knows, is amazing (At this point I would have liked to make up a word like Roald Dahl did in his wonderful books but let’s leave that for another day. Sigh).  I’d suggest you print these out and read them:

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and this…

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[I’ll probably write a later post about when I discovered Danny Gregory’s books and actually began to seriously sketch in a journal instead of scribbling and scrawling on random bits of paper and discarding them, no matter how charming the sketch. More on that later!]

Hope you’re feeling better, who ever you are.

Good luck and get back to work! 🙂

 

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