Celebration of love is the theme of February. Love brings out the best in us. My love for art, fashion and design pushes me forward as a creator through continuous learning and making. It is wonderful and amazing except this love comes with a dark side - a side that often breaks me and drags me down for weeks at a time. Self-doubt is the killer of creative consciousness and ultimately, happiness. The negativity that a creative self-doubting loop generates often permeates into other aspects of life, and it is so not productive because life is complicated enough as it is, why add more crap to it? This month, I have finally decided to not let self-doubt take hold of me ever again - If I can help it.
Every creative person feels self-doubt from time to time. Some even say it is essential in keeping one from becoming complacent. Books and articles have been written about this subject, and it feels differently for everyone. Personally, self-doubt is a force that makes me look at everything and everyone through a gray lense with a shitty attitude. I convince myself that the world doesn't think I am good enough. This self perpetuating loop usually ends in emotional tantrums and not-so-inspired work. I want to blame others or circumstances, but the wisdom in me knows better. I feel stuck in my own self hating bubble. How did I get here this time (and all the other times before)? I wonder if it has something to do with unreasonable expectations and putting focus on the wrong things.
Growing up, I was taught that being the best is simply expected and making mistakes were unacceptable. Much has happened in my life since then, I hardly was the best at anything and I have made my fair share of mistakes, but somehow till this day, I always expect myself to be the best in any situation and making mistakes often feel detrimental to my self-worth. With such expectations, I am on top of the world when my work is being praised and utilized at its max capacity, but when that is not the case, my soul feels crushed and I catch myself in the realm of self-doubt. I have come to realized that my emotional ups and downs that come with this unrealistic expectation is taking a toll and ultimately, working against myself. I have to change my perspective. In reality, anyone is lucky to be considered the best even just once in their lifetime. Why is being the best so important to me? It is unsustainable nor absolute. As long as I am serious about my craft, I shouldn't be so focused on the outcome. I need to believe that I am good enough no matter what. Period.
Self doubt also happens when I let other people's opinions become judgments of my work's worth. Sometimes, I care way too much about what others think of my work. When my designs aren't picked at work, or when my art post didn't get as many "likes" as I had hoped for, I let self-doubt creep in. I have to shift my focus. My work is the expression of my throughs and talent. As long as I have done my best and put my work out there, that's all I can do and control. That should be the end of my worrying. There are infinite versions of opinions out there. What others think of my work doesn't and shouldn't change anything. I I should take constructive criticisms from others, but I should not let others' opinions define my work's worth, and ultimately, how I feel about myself.
Creative people are the happiest when they are creating at their best abilities - freely. The creative journey is about making, learning and getting better. I will not let self-doubt plague my thoughts anymore because it is working against my creative journey. It is unproductive and killer of all initiatives. To grow beyond it, I need to staying present and be my own cheerleader. Believe in the power of self manifestation - I am good enough and my work is appreciated. That's all there is to remember!
Do you ever experience the wrath of self-doubt? Leave a comment, and tell me about it!