I am the only one who does this... at least that's how it feels. In reality, I bet everyone probably does. Do you? It's when you say things in your head along these lines: I'm not good enough. I'm dumb. Everyone else is ...better...more creative ...kinder...lives simpler...is more successful ...is smarter ...more clever. You get the idea. It's when you just feel kinda worthless. And I seem to do this a lot. I've noticed that it tends to happen when I start comparing myself to other people.
The other night I had a meeting with a graffiti artist (we are collaborating on a project) and I asked him about what he did/his philosophy/his practice and it was really interesting. He talked passionately about it, telling me about the terminology, naming graffiti gods, the fly-by-night aspects. And it was fascinating, but then I caught myself wondering if my art sucked because I do it differently. (Or, as my friend Brianna put it: am I that whitebread?)
The very the next day I was on-line and had 15 minutes to kill before another meeting, so I started looking at other illustrators' sites and that sent me over the deep end. I was a wreck. All the self-doubt and the negative voices were loud and clear. Blaring. Obnoxious. I felt like shit. And I couldn't pull out of it. (abort! abort!)
About a month ago, my very insightful friend Kate sent me a book called "There is Nothing Wrong with You" by Cheri Huber. When I took it out of the package and was immediately put off my the title... I started to hear: Yeah, I know that... why do I need another self-help book... I am fine...
But I gave it a shot anyway. I mean, Kate said it was really helpful to her, so why not. I opened it and was immediately engrossed. It was like having a permission slip to be okay with how you are right_this_moment. And it spoke to some things that I am now trying to keep in mind when the negative chatter starts to pop up.
The main quote that I keep going back to is this: "We must become our own best friend."
Now, I stop and think about this. What does a best friend say to you? They would never say: you know, you really do suck. You should quit because you're kind of dumb and everybody is way better than you. --No, that's just ridiculous. Best friends are supposed to be supportive and comforting, right?
What if we were all best friends to ourselves? How wonderful would that be? The negative self-talk would be replaced with kindness and forgiveness. No longer would we hear that we are dumb or not good enough. We'd hear that we are okay. That we do the best we can and that's is enough. We are good. Our path is valid.
So now I am trying to walk around with this and really absorb it...the habit of positive self-talk. It's not very easy. In fact, it's really difficult for me. Old habits die hard I guess. I bet this is something to struggle with for a long time. But at least I'm fighting. :)
I think it's starting to work just a little: When I was sitting in front of that graffiti artist, hearing that negative self-talk, I stopped for just a brief moment to say to myself: "Hey, I just do it differently and my way is okay too. Would I want to give up what I'm doing to do what he's doing? No. Not really. So that's good. I'm good enough." And listening to him went back to being fascinating... an inspiration, even!
I'm good enough. I'm going to tattoo that to my forehead.