This past week I found myself doing something I had never done before…. reviewing my photos to present in a vendors portfolio. It should have been an easy task …. well perhaps easy is not the best word choice; but I definitely was not prepared for the amount of courage it took to hit ‘send’ on that email.
Okay – let me clarify. It was not the physical act of hitting send that was difficult. It was finding the courage to stop listening to the years of negative self-talk playing on repeat in my head. It was like listening to an old 45 record with the needle skipping (and if you don’t know what that is … may I suggest Google?)
After I shared the photos with some people, while their comments were not negative, I did start receiving conflicting comments. Which, of course, just added to my own self-negative talk. For example, at this very moment, as I write this post, I received a comment that one of my recent favorite photos of my pup Harley standing in a field at sunset, was too dark.
I am not going to say that I did not just not take that personally; because I did. The story I was trying to portray in that image was exactly how I took the photo…. not quite a silhouette but dark enough to catch the rays of sun reflecting off the wet rye in the field.
Which got me to thinking… which you who know me will immediately start quaking in fear; because y’all know what happens when I start thinking. Anywho… how do you find the courage to stand up for what you believe in? Especially when it feels like the majority of the world does not understand you? How do you keep yourself from following the status quo because maybe then your work, your vision will be noticed? Sadly, not because it is special, but because it looks like everyone else’s? How do you keep moving forward on days where it feels like the only person who believes in you (or your work) is you? Yeah, yeah… that was more than one thought.
Well??? I’m waiting <tapping fingers on the table top>…
Okay. Time’s up. I guess I will just have to jump to the part where I answer my own question. Not that I have the answers, but here is what I have learned:
1. Developing a thick skin:
Now bear with me. I realize this is starting out to sound very cheesy – and a concept you have heard a bazillion times; but think about this for a moment. In order to find the courage to share what you love – whether that is blogging, photography, being a fashionista, a DIY’er, a travel expert; you have got to have thick skin. Because I guarantee you someone is going to think “why in God’s name do I want to read what she has to write” or “her photography is hideous” or “how can she think she’ll ever be a fashion designer – she wore mismatched clothes her whole life” or “Ha! She can’t even hit a nail on the head. How does she think she can be a successful DIY’er?” You get the idea.
Come on… admit it. You’ve heard those comments (or something similar) at one point in your life. And how did you overcome it? By having a thick skin and saying, “Not today Satan, not today!” (Okay – if you haven’t seen the video of Jimmy Fallon and actress Kerry Washington performing a Mad Lib theater – go Google it RIGHT NOW! I’ll wait. And make sure yowatch to the end – because in all honesty it’s not as funny in the beginning.)
2. Finding the why:
Why are you struggling with comments someone else made? Why does it matter to you? Why do you want to do what you are trying to do? Why are you seeking approval? Why don’t you believe in your passion? Why do you expect anyone else to believe in your passion if you don’t? And this one deserves to be asked twice – Why do you want to do what you are trying to do? If you can sit down and honestly answer those questions, and have more positive answers than negative ones; my bet is you’ll be able to hit the ‘send’ button because you will have found your courage.
3. Recognizing that passion triumphs over fear:
After spending some time discovering your why, you’ll find out whether you have a passion for something or whether it was just kill the time. If it’s a passion, you will realize that’s what is driving you to keep moving forward. Passion is one of the toeholds you need for reaching the apex of courage.
4. Realizing that the courage you need, you’ve had all along:
When I look back at the things I’ve faced over my lifetime, including being diagnosed with breast cancer and surviving chemotherapy, I made the realization that the courage I was looking for was within me the whole time. I just needed to push aside the naysayers (including myself), find my why and my strengths. When all those came together the bells started ringing, dinging, and chiming. So incredibly loud in fact, I had to ask them politely to keep it down. (Me, polite? Right….)
Typing and/or reading this – it sounds easy doesn’t it? Trust me when I say it’s not. But anything that is worth something is never easy (think giving birth, surviving chemo – you know what I’m talking about). The truth is, if it was easy not only would everyone be doing it, but it would not be as satisfying to accomplish it. The only things I’ve ever truly valued are the ones I have had to work especially hard at – so I am going to keep working diligently, love the process, and allow my courage to shine through; instead of worrying about the “what-if’s”. I hope you will too!
In fact, leave me a comment and tell me what do you want to accomplish? Or, how will you help someone else accomplish their dream? Can you like their page on social media? Can you share their post? Invite your friends to follow them? Can you offer to watch their kids while they work on a project? Can you talk to them and find out what their dream is? If you do, leave me a comment and let me know – I’d love to hear all about those dreams!
Until next time, capture life kreatively!
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Photography by: Kreatively Captured | Myra J. Horner