I was talking with a friend today that made an all too familiar comment about themself…
“I’m just not creative, I’d like to think I am creative, but what I make isn’t good enough”.
I hear this comment all the time. I suggest the reply be the following: “good enough for what?” and Yes you are, on both counts! As human beings we tend to compare our abilities to others. While comparing ourselves is good for self awareness when we are trying to learn and grow and improve, comparison to others’ skills and abilities is hurtful, unnecessary and frankly, an inappropriate way to judge yourself. Would you really enjoy tolerating that kind of critism from someone else? Of course you wouldn’t.
Why judge your own ability? You are fantastic. You are your own individual you and what you create is uniquely yours. Embrace that and be proud of it! So be nicer to yourself and love what wonderful things you are able to create all by your lovely self. It doesn’t matter how you compare to others, what matters is that you are being creative regardless of how you think you compare.
Really, have you seen my art? I doodle. I doodle penguins that are shaped like eggs and coffee cups with smilie faces on them. I create little tags out of cardboard and buttons. Real Picasso stuff, don’t you think? I’m not Picasso. While I appreciate his work and his talents, I don’t want to be Picasso… I want to be Jen Goode. I’m proud of my doodling. Now, in reality, it took me a long time to be ok with my results. I still struggle with comparison – wishing I could draw like someone else or think up something wonderful like someone else or creating beautiful things that get praises by thousands. But why…
Because as human beings we want approval. Some of us moreso than others. We instinctively want to be liked and loved and appreciated. So yeah, I want everyone on the planet to love my work… the reality is, not everyone is going to. That’s too bad for them, I say. My penguins are here to stay, just the way they are… if you don’t like them, I encourage you to show me a penguin you prefer and we can have a fantastic penguin party full of creative diversity – heck, your penguin can be an elephant or a piece of bazooka gum for all I care. Whatever is it, bring it on and make it yours.
Dare to do your thing – do your best and then stand up proud to say, look at that dang great piece of gum I chewed all by myself! I say you are magnificent, talented, beautiful and gosh darnit – there are all kinds of people that like you!
Side note – while I am coming across as a corny cheerleader, you need to remember, you are your own best advocate. You need to stand up for yourself, believe in yourself and make yourself shine. Even on your bad days, you can’t rely on others to boost you up, you have to do it for yourself because you love u. Now go create something already!