Being an artist sucks. No, really. It’s mostly torment. I find I am happier locked up in my room creating something, than I am in a room full of people.
There, I said it. It feels good to finally get it off my chest.
All artists know how it feels to be in a room for days working on something that you love. The passion and energy that you put into it is immeasurable. Many artists, including me, spend countless days and sleepless nights trying to create something that will encourage and inspire people. It is our mission and calling. We know nothing else.
What really sucks is when we emerge from our lonely cave of creativity and we find ourselves surrounded by a lot of people that don’t understand us. What sucks even more is when we make the mistake of sharing our art with some of those people.
I’ve noticed three possible responses I get when I share my art:
The first response is the best. This is the one where the person is excited, asks questions, and looks at more than you asked them to. They are genuinely interested and they really like it. This is cool.
The second response isn’t as good as the first but it’s not so bad. This is the one where the person looks, says that its good and they at least try to act like they care. They don’t discourage you but they really don’t encourage you either. They don’t like or dislike what you did. They just don’t really care too much. Again, could be better, but at least they weren’t just complete jerks. Not so bad.
The third one is the worst. This is the one where the person is just a complete jerk. Where they look at your work and completely avoid saying anything positive, and instead, make some snarky, snide remark. They always seem to know the exact wrong thing to say to you. They always seem to completely and utterly obliterate any good feelings you had before you talked to them.
Let me tell you what response number three is; insecurity. Big, fat, ugly, rotting, oozing, hairy, smelly insecurity. Some people cannot stand to give another person a compliment because when they look at other people’s work, it makes them feel like a smaller person. They only thing they feel they can do is try to bring everyone else down with them. They are pitiful humans really. They are miserable and they’ll never be happy with themselves.
It sucks when you work so hard to create something that will inspire and encourage others but then you run into one of these sad souls and they spew their poison. It affects artists deeply. Artists are givers, persistently pouring more of themselves into the world. These losers are just takers; they have nothing good to give and they want to take everything out of you. It’s worse because they are your friend.
Let me be clear: I don’t care what these people think about my art. I really don’t. I like what I create and that’s good enough for me. L’art pour l’art. What truly bothers me is their complete disregard for me–their friend who is sharing something with them that is meant to be uplifting and positive. I am offering them something that I have poured my heart and soul into, and they just throw poop at it.
That’s crappy, if you ask me.
I’m not the kindest and gentlest person in the world but I go out of my way to tell everyone that I believe in them and that they can do anything they set their mind to. I truly believe it. I cannot even begin to understand how someone could be in a position to speak life and encouragement into someone, and yet, so shamelessly speak death. It blows my mind. Insecurity is a dark, horrible thing.
So, how do you deal with these people?
I say, forget ’em.
You don’t need them. Honestly, you don’t want them. My wife made a sign for my studio that reads, Good Vibes Only. Why? Because I have no use for dream-killing, hate-spewing philistines.
I choose to surround myself with confident, supportive, genuine people. For instance, my good friend, Kenny, is such a blessing to me. He is constantly pushing me and supporting me when no one else will. I can always depend on him for encouragement and honesty. Insecurity never plays a role in our friendship.He’s always made me feel like my every idea and creation is of value.
My wife is the same. She is always encouraging me and she sacrifices so much so I can chase my wild dreams and take steps towards my goals. For the most part, she is the reason I have set such high goals–because she deserves the world and everything good that’s in it. She’s a major source of my motivation and she knows exactly the right things to say and do to keep me encouraged.
I have so many other friends that will be big parts of my success stories. So, I cling to those people. Not because they tell me what I want to hear or sugar-coat everything, but because they are honest and secure in who they are. Their words and feelings aren’t directed by some underlying lack of confidence. They not only support my ideas and creations, but they support me. They don’t only value what I do but they value who I am. That’s legit.
As an artist, that’s what I need.
As a human, that’s what I need.
That’s what you need.
So, fellow artists, forget those insecure people. You keep on creating and enjoying what you create.
Let them be the miserable ones.
Remember: your ideas and creations are valuable, but more importantly, you are valuable. You have something amazing to offer that can touch someone’s life like nothing else can. You are the only you there is and that’s awesome.
I would love to see your work! Please comment and share your blog or website. Also, feel free to click the share buttons below and encourage some fellow artists.