I think of myself as fearless.
But. I’m. Not.
About 8 years ago I publically declared my intention to become a crazy old lady in my later years. That statement liberated me. It made it possible to be creatively fearless and do stuff that would make the faint of heart run and hide. I put my art into the public eye with reckless abandon. I wrote my thoughts and confessed feelings that I shouldn’t publically admit (still doing it…you can’t stop me…yes, you could…please be gentle…don’t hurt me). I felt free to live with verve. I would be like the Idiosyncratic Fashionistas (more here).
When we don’t care about what other people think of us; when we do not beat ourselves with the social climber’s measuring stick; when we simply do our best and our heart knows it is good enough (for now)…that’s when the magic happens (click to Tweet). That’s the place where we give ourselves permission to flourish. It’s the fertile learning ground, the joyful happy place, the vast creative field where innovation and daring meet. We are authentic, courageous and fearless when we live and work from there, like children. Deep down, I know it is my obligation to protect this place in myself.
Lots of times fear creeps in. It does so like the fog …on little cat feet. Thank you, Carl Sandburg. We don’t hear it coming. We raise our heads and there it is – BAM! IN YOUR FACE!
Yesterday, I spent some of the afternoon sketching and painting. Drawing is somewhat new for me, so I’ve chronicled my journey from the start and am pleased with my progress. I cavalierly posted a picture of a botanical on Facebook. A friend replied, “Love it! You are getting so good.” Promptly I removed it. I knew the rocks weren’t right. Shame. Shit. Shame. Nothing had changed but the voice in my head. The seeping self-judgement…thief of joy.
I’ll bet you do it, too. Sometimes? You do, right?
For a lot of artists their work springs from joyful self-expression. For a lot of people their best comes when they embrace whatever work they do with joyful abandon. THIS IS WHY YOU DO WHAT YOU DO. It feels good.
Then…here comes the voice; the fear of judgment. Worse yet, we turn our judgment to others and compare ourselves to their goodness or a golden standard. Suddenly, mine is not good enough. I am not good enough. It doesn’t matter who you are, or what your dreams – you fill in the blank:
- My art is not good enough
- I’m not a good enough parent
- I am not smart enough
- I’m not a good employee
- I’m not pretty/handsome enough
- My voice is not good enough
- I’m not a good daughter/son
- My house is not good enough
- My writing is not good enough (then why are you still reading?)
- My clothes are not good enough
I’ll spare you the pain, because the list goes on and on. Know what? Sure, you could be doing better. That’s why it’s called a journey. There is always room to improve – that’s the BEAUTY of it! (click to Tweet).
It’s the voice that must be controlled. Silenced. Replaced with the cheerleading voice. Some coaches call the negative voice the Gremlin, and everyone has one. Shame researcher, Brene Brown talks about it, researches it extensively. She says only sociopaths don’t feel shame. Whewwww! I dodged that bullet!
So in the spirit of being a crazy old lady, because I know better, because I choose courage, because I made a commitment to work from a place of joy and abandon, I am sharing. This is why I do what I do.
“I will not let the voice of fear rob me of my best life” (click to Tweet).
What about you? You make a choice to listen to a voice. Do you choose the fearful one, or the champion? What is the price? This blog is a safe place, a tribe, where you can share. I find most people are supportive and wonderful. Those who aren’t have their own work to do. Do not go down without a fight…be brave…be happy.
I have no doubt, you are good enough,
Michelle Andres is a coach, writer and artist who teaches creatives business behaviours that boost their productivity and happiness…all the while honoring their unique and artsy selves. Follow her on Facebook on Twitter
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