The Biggest Threat to Our Art
We blame it on the critics, on our lack of time and our myriad of responsibilities, on the deaf ears of the muses, on Twitter, on Pinterest and all those other social distractions.
But our biggest threat isn’t external or supernatural.
In fact, it’s both intrinsically human and internal.
And it’s insecurity.
“Any fool knows that bravado is always a cover-up for insecurity. That’s the truth. And on that note, I’ll say goodnight. God love you.”
– Bobby Darin
We all have our own personal slew of insecurities that we drag along behind us, laboring our steps through life like Jacob Marley’s chains.
They appear in our most vulnerable moments, when we’re lying in bed draped in blue and lonely shadows. They appear in our moments of red-hot confidence.
And they constantly whisper in deceptively sincere tones:
“You’re no good, your art is worthless.”
“You’ll never be more than a second rate creative.”
But they don’t end with your art, they attack every aspect of your life.
“You’re much too chubby to be attractive.”
“She’ll never ever say yes to a date.”
And the tragedy is not in the lies, but the fact that we believe them. Every slanderous word, we believe them.
They seduce our hearts with silky doubts.
They keep us from beginning, from continuing, from finishing, from shipping our art, from taking life-changing risks.
When the truth is this: Our art is nothing short of masterpiece. And our lives are nothing short of beauty.
But we don’t stop the whispering insecurity as it takes root in our hearts, we gladly continue the cycle and plant those doubts in the heads of others, whether in blunt statements or spiteful subtleties.
“Well, I’ve seen better.”
“Not everyone has the genius of Nabokov.”
“Black is slimming, you know.”
“She’s way out of your league, dude.”
We don’t mean to. They escape as naturally as exhaling breaths.
And it’s because as we’re slowly being swallowed in our insecurities, we want to bring others just as low. We want to drag them down into the sticky mire.
And yet, they are only our scapegoats. We are the ones who feel less than professional. We are the ones who feel chubby. We are the ones who feel foolish approaching pretty girls and smiling at handsome boys.
We have no right to do this, to inflict this pain on our friends, our colleagues, our dear family members who will love us no matter what we say.
Can’t you see that we’re tearing each other apart?
We were never meant to exist alone, we were never meant to create all by ourselves.
And for goodness’ sake, we cannot go our whole lives without shipping our art, sending it out into the world to change minds and hearts and lives. How can our art transform the world when it goes unseen, unheard, untouched?
We need to create, and we need to encourage others to create. With abandon.
Insecurity is an insatiable beast, ever wanting to keep those talents hidden, shuttered and boarded over.
But please, please shrug off those lies of insecurity that weigh on your shoulders.
And please, please choke back those words of digging hurt.
Instead, share your art with us. Share your glimpses into genius, we see far too few of them in our world.
And in return, we’ll give you encouragement, we’ll give you praise, and we’ll give you constructive criticism.
Are you sick of wallowing in insecurity like me?