Don’t compare yourself to others, ok? Just don’t.
This is ‘do as I say, not as I do’ kind of advice because I do just that from time to time and I can tell you it’s not worth it!
If you are approached about your work by someone who admires it, then your work deserves the admiration. That’s it, as simple as that. It’s so easy in theory, if you put yourself and your work down, of course others will follow suit. If you say your photo is not worth paying for, then why would anyone want to pay for it?
It’s so incredibly easy to be mean to ourselves, we tell ourselves things we would never say to a friend. I would never tell someone their work sucks or that they’re simply not good enough or deserving of the breaks and chances others get. Never! So why can I tell myself those things without thinking twice about it?
Imposter syndrome is a real son of a bitch and isn’t good for anyone.
Do you ever (all the time) feel like you’ve gotten to where you are by pure luck? That it’s just a matter of time before everyone realises that you don’t really know anything at all, that you’re a fraud? When people reach out asking to pay for your hard work, your gut reaction is ‘why?’ When you win an award you can’t fully enjoy it because part of you is afraid they’ll take it back when they realise you weren’t really worthy at all?
Yeah, it’s a real SOB.
I don’t have any real solutions for this so maybe I shouldn’t be writing about it at all. I guess I just want to let you know that you’re not alone if you’re dealing with the same type of thoughts.
I read something that really struck a chord with me, I can’t find it again but here’s the gist of it,
‘has anyone told you these things? Has anyone approached you and said you and your work sucks and isn’t worthy? No? Then it’s all in your head’.
And it is, it’s all in our heads.
As I said before, if someone is praising your work then it’s worthy of praise!
I fake it a lot, a whole lot. Fake it til you make it, dress for the job you want, not the job you’ve got.
I’m not saying I fake my photos, hell no, I’m saying I fake confidence a lot of the time and I can tell you that it works. With time you start believing yourself, at least a little bit.
I fake it because I don’t want anyone else to sell themselves short. Be proud of yourself and what you do, when you get a compliment, dare to fully take it in and be grateful. There’s NO need to tell them all the reasons you think they’re wrong. And on the flip side, when you get real comments like the ones you tell yourself, that are just saying you suck and lacking any constructive criticism, just let them go. Let them go or let that person know how messed up it is to say that to a stranger, because it’s always a stranger. Just don’t ever let it get to you. Don’t let that one negative comment drown the ten positive or constructive ones because it’s just in your head. Like I said before, I would never tell anyone their work is crap just for the heck of it and I’m sure that you wouldn’t either so don’t let anyone do it to you.
I can promise you this, letting the self doubt take over leads you down a deep dark spiral. It makes you miss incredible opportunities, you’re laying out trip wire for yourself and you’ll just keep falling.
No matter who you are or what you do, how big or small your ‘following’ is, how many ‘better’ or more accomplished people there are in your field – just be proud of yourself. Be proud of and truly enjoy every little accomplishment. Tell yourself that you’re good enough. Our brains are pretty easily manipulated so I mean it when I say ‘tell yourself’. If you say it often enough you’ll eventually start to believe it.
I’ll get there too one day.