I wanted to start being a little more personal on the blog. I love The Fresh Exchange’s Monday Words series and decided to do something similar, sharing quotes with my own thoughts. I see it as a type of journaling and creative expression, which is what SarahMichiko.com was made for. I hope you enjoy, and feel free to share your own thoughts. Thank you.
I’m 99.9% positive that every creative (or human being in general) has gone through self-doubt in the process of personal growth. In my own experience, this website is an example of overcoming that self-doubt and taking the leap.
When I first read this Sylvia Plath nugget of wisdom, it really struck a chord. I have had so many instances in my life where I didn’t do something because I didn’t believe in myself. It’s not that I’m not confident in my abilities, but self-doubt is more than insecurity. Self-doubt is a series of questions that we ask ourselves out of fear: What if no one likes what I have to offer? What if there is someone out there who’s better than I am? What if my venture, whatever it may be, never gains any traction? What if I lose the passion I currently have and I give up anyways? What if it’s not good enough?
I can tell you that these are questions, doubtful questions, I have asked myself before I did anything out of my comfort zone creatively. I remember when I first starting taking pictures with my DSLR I got for Christmas a few years ago. It was mainly just practice and toying around, but as I got more serious about photography, I got scared. What was so daunting? I didn’t think that my work would be good enough for anyone to enjoy, let alone pay for (even though I still don’t charge to this day… yet). I didn’t believe I would ever get to the level that my professional inspirations were on, that my images would never be as good as theirs. Over the past few years, I realized that my images don’t need to be better than someone else’s. They just need to be mine, my style, my way, my tastes, and the right people who believe in what I do would come.
Even this blog is an example of creativity>self-doubt. Flashback to my middle school days, I had multiple blogs on Blogger about different topics with different names because I knew I had a voice, I just didn’t know what to do with it. Flash forward to a few months ago, after months of researching and saving up money, I felt confident enough in myself to start up my own little space. But before I took the step, those questions came, more specifically whether anyone would like what I had to say. I had a little moment within myself and said “you’re not doing this for anyone else: this is for you” and I just did it.
I think that’s why I’ve always admired creative people and why I have always wanted to be considered a creative over anything: they’re fearless. Creative people are fearless. They have to be confident in their style, what makes their work unique, and they put it out for the world to see.
One of the greatest things about this quote is that we can initially see self-doubt as an exterior obstacle, something outside of our own control, but Plath says it so beautifully that the meaning is almost disguised: the worst enemy to our own creativity is ourselves. The next time, in any situation really, that you start hearing those questions, those what-ifs, take a step back and look at who is asking them. It’s just you. You are the only obstacle to taking that next step. Maybe the reason you are so afraid is because it’s out of your comfort zone, and that’s okay. But some of the best decisions I’ve made are ones that made me take a leap of faith.
So step out of your own path, and great things will happen. The only person in the way of your creativity is you. Thanks to Sylvia Plath for this wonderful reminder.