For years I spent too much time angsting over how much better other artists and photographers were than me. It held me back. Eventually, I realized that I needed to let all that go. I was never going to better my work by trying to be like someone else.
When I stopped comparing myself to other artists and photographers, there was a marked difference in my work and how I felt about my work. I was an artist because my brain wanted to spew things out and create, not because I wanted to be artist so-and-so who’s work I happened to like. I was a photographer because I wanted to capture images to share with others and because I wanted to use my love of photography to bring attention to the need for conservation. These things were important and making sure I focused on them was more important than my ego…it made all the difference.
And then I came to realize something that was life changing. Its SO flippin’ simple that I literally want to punch myself in the face for not realizing it sooner (and again when I forget) : you don’t become awesome by trying to be someone else, you’re awesome because you are you to the best of your ability.
Think about it…whenever you meet someone that you just adore, its not because they are so good at acting ‘cool’ or ‘funny’, its because they are just so themselves all the time. All those unique things about them that you love are things they’ve let themselves naturally be. And thats how others see us too.
Those times when I can completely be myself, those are the times when I make friends, or people say something nice about me. I’m always surprised, because its nothing I think of as special about me, but others do.
So remember that. Be yourself. Just relax and don’t think too much about what others think about you. Be comfortable with your oddities and ‘flaws’ and eccentricities. Be comfortable showing your honest emotion. Be the genuine article of you, whatever that may be. I promise you it will make a difference. Not only will people see a difference in you, they will be more comfortable being themselves.
And in the extreme off chance you find the people around you don’t appreciate the real you…its not your problem, its theirs. Go find a better caliber of friends.
Love to you all…whoever you may be.