A Guest Post by Libby Hardy
Hello to those of you who follow Benny’s blog or happen to stumble across this post. I can’t believe I am actually providing a “guest post” to someone else’s blog – someone actually trusts me enough to write something that could potentially live forever on their site…yikes.
Okey doke, so the background here is this – Benny and I have joined forces on a little project – a little, simple project. Both having an immense love for words and our own personal blogs, we have committed to hold each other accountable to a deadline of 6:00pm CST every other Sunday. I say that this is a little, simple project but actually it is not. Because if it was little and it was simple everyone would do it and everyone would be blogging for HuffPo or the likes thereof. Pursuing a passion as an adult while living in the “real” world of jobs and family and bills is not little and it is not simple. It’s a big deal and it’s hard. And it’s something that I don’t think we as creative humans give ourselves enough credit for.
I guess I can only speak for myself really, but I would venture a guess that others out there have similar feelings. The feelings of I’m not good enough or what if people don’t like what I create or worse yet what if people do like what I create then all of the sudden there is pressure to meet some expectation of the level of goodness of what was liked. When do we start thinking this way? At what point do our adult brains rationalize the hell out of our hearts? I think of my seven-year-old son – imagining him in art class and I certainly don’t believe he is sitting there thinking – “oh no I better not use blue paint here or I shouldn’t draw this picture that way.” No, in fact, I guarantee in that kid’s head there are no thoughts, no blockages, no insecurities, no questioning. He simply receives direction from his teacher, his head and his heart work together, and the result is often something that is quite profound.
Why is that we have such a hard time giving ourselves credit for the good work that we do? Why do we tend to focus on what is wrong or not good enough with our creative efforts or any efforts really? I suppose it could be a product of living in such a competitive world and that we learn to compare our efforts to the efforts of others very early on in life –in the classroom – in sports – in our homes. But if we spend our time constantly comparing our work to the work of others aren’t we essentially telling ourselves that we aren’t good enough? What if we didn’t compare our work to the work of others…what if we could say to ourselves “Wow self – you really kicked ass on that. Well done.” And left it at that. What would that look like? Kinda scary, huh.
As Benny knows, I find Liz Gilbert to be a ginormous source of inspiration. In her recent works, she talks and writes about fear and its role in the creative process. She references the fear we need and the fear we don’t need. The fear we do need is the fear that keeps us from danger or possibly life-threatening situations. The fear we don’t need is the fear that holds us back from being the greatest version of ourselves. The fear that puts limits on what we are here to do. The fear that tells you that you’re not good enough. That no one is going to like what you have to say. The fear that says this is good, but it could have been better if only…that’s the kind of fear we don’t need. It’s there and like every other thought and emotion we as humans have running through our heads and our hearts – it needs to be acknowledged and then we need to let that shit go. Because when we don’t let go and we hold onto stuff, that creates blockages. Think of it this way – think of the game Minecraft (and if you don’t know what Minecraft is just ask any seven-year-old and they will gladly tell you all about it) – every time you hold onto to something, anything – fear, anger, love, worry – you add one of those block piece things from the game around your heart. And before long you’ll have built a wall and then all the good stuff in your heart that wants to get out will be stuck and trapped behind this wall of Minecraft block piece things. And you’re better than that. You were meant for more than that. We all are and we all were.
So that brings me to this guy, Benny, who owns this most excellent, thoughtful blog. Benny is one of the most genius creatives I have ever known personally. Not only is Benny a skilled writer with a most dynamic imagination, he is hands down one of the best photographers out there. I mean, I like to take pictures and do an okay job – but his photos – well, I’m going to share of few of my favorites and let them speak for themselves. So, what does this have to do with anything that I have been writing about thus far? It’s this…I am friends with Benny on Facebook where he shares many of his pictures. And where he also critiques many of his pictures. Which, I get it – we all do it and even if we are working to not be so hard on ourselves it doesn’t happen overnight, right? But my point is this…where to his eyes he sees flaws and inadequacies; I see perfection and sheer beauty as do many others. So, the next time you start to question yourself or the work that you do and before you retreat and decide not to share what it is that you are creating – remember that someone out there will see only the beauty in what you have done. And in someone else’s eyes all that you have done will be perfect.
- Mysterious Equations of Love
- Thoughts of Christmas 2016