“Am I good enough?”
Have you ever caught yourself asking that question? I know I certainly have, especially in this calligraphy journey of mine. My doubts certainly stem from the fact that I grew up thinking that I did not have a single creative bone in me and that “art was never my thing”. I was the kid in school whose mum used to do her art homework for her. I was also that kid in school that absolutely dreaded those weekly art classes in school. Now, thinking back on those days, I reckon that those doubts I had about my artistic ability was definitely a result of comparing my work with those of others and I just never felt like my artwork was ever ‘enough’!
It’s been just over a year since I picked up my first pointed pen, and I still catch myself asking if I am good enough to share my work and to try and teach others what I have learnt through this past year. Pretty sure this is what people call the “imposter syndrome” – like I’m a fraud and everyone is going to find out sooner or later. So what is one to do when this syndrome starts to find its way into your mind? In this blogpost, I would like to share with you the top 5 strategies that I use to help myself deal with this (at times) anxiety-inducing situation.
#1: Remind yourself why you are doing what you are doing.
Don’t let yourself to the point where you feel so emotionally crippled by the fear of not being good enough! ‘Imposter syndrome’ is intrinsically linked with perfectionism, and trying to deal with this internal issue through external validation and achievement is not the way to go! Start from within first, and ask yourself why you are creating through your form of art. Is it to gain followers on good ol’ Instagram? Or is it because you truly love sharing your love for your art with the people around you?
#2: Accept that YOU have played a role in your success to get to where you
Hey, who is the one who has done something to get to where you are? Who is the one who said yes when you could have said no (or vice versa)? Sometimes we feel like imposters because we are not able to internalise our successes. Remind yourself that YOU are the one who has made decisions along the way to improve in your craft. YOU are the one who has constantly made decisions to better yourself. Yes, it’s all been YOU!
#3: Focus on providing value to others.
I find that I feel like an imposter mostly when I start thinking only about myself. This happens when I start thinking thoughts like “What will others think of me?” and “I have no right to say anything on this topic because I don’t know as much as what the other person knows.”
Trust me, the quickest way to get over feeling like an imposter is to try and help others. It has taken me five years in my teaching career to finally understand this for myself. Don’t worry about trying to impress everyone (that’s never gonna happen – you just have to accept that). Even if it’s providing value to just ONE person, you’re going to help get rid of that notion of you being a fraud!
#4: Resist the temptation of comparing yourself to others!
Comparing yourself to other people in your industry can be so destructive. Remind yourself that what you see on their Instagram pages with their huge followings are really just the best-looking parts of their work. Switch that mindset around and remind yourself that there is a human being just like you behind those profiles who certainly face the same challenges that you do. Just that little shift could make a huge difference in the way you think about your work.
#5: Focus on progress rather than perfection. Focus on how far you’ve come rather than how far you have left to go.
What even is perfection?! Accepting that perfection does not exist in this world is one of the best steps you could take when it comes to addressing this ‘imposter syndrome’. Remember that we all start somewhere, and everyone is on their own individual journeys. If you keep your mind open and understand that your creative journey is a never-ending road, just keep reminding yourself to keep taking steps on that road.
I certainly hope that these 5 strategies will help you shift your mindsets a little, it’s these little steps that will take you a long way! Also remember that you are an artist if you make others feel something with your art. So stop this minute, and ask yourself if there is someone out there who has appreciated your art and felt something when looking at your artwork. I’m sure there’s bound to be at least one! If so, you are doing a great job, keep working on your craft and don’t forget to show yourself some self-love too!