A particular pattern has been showing up in my sphere lately. Many of the incredible artists and creatives I know have expressed feelings of “not being enough” and “imposter syndrome.” It is certainly something I struggle with every day. Oftentimes, it is paralyzing. Let’s unpack that.
So why is this such a widespread disease? So many times I’ve seen a group surround and shower an artist with compliments. Yet the artist goes home to cry because they feel like they’ll disappoint everyone - their friends and fans just don’t know it yet. People get quiet in a team because they’re afraid if they speak up, everyone will discover they aren’t smart enough to be there.
From where I’m standing, nobody is actually telling us these things other than ourselves. (And if somebody does, we literally cock our heads and go, “seriously?”). Who knows how many meltdowns I’ve experienced from feeding myself these thoughts. The idea that people would realize I’m actually a terrible musician and this idiot has no idea what she’s doing is mortifying. In the small moments I’ve been brave enough to actually say that outloud, close friends and family literally laughed. They consider it ridiculous. When I’m not in that moment, I recognize that it’s ridiculous too.
I would never, in my right mind, tell somebody they were stupid or bad at what they do. Even if they were truly struggling, I would help them get through their task or offer an ear to talk to. I could never accept the idea that they were “a waste of space” or “incompentent.” So why on Earth do we drown ourselves in that crap?
Think about how you talk to yourself. When you lose your keys or make a mistake, are you hard on yourself? Sometimes you may roll your eyes at your lack of thinking and sometimes you may punish yourself for existing. Intense, right? If this isn’t something you relate to, that’s amazing and I am incredibly happy for you. Keep it up. Nobody deserves to be spoken to like this, especially by themselves. Yet so many of us still struggle.
I’m currently part of a theatre production that is a gem of an experience. I’m wearing multiple hats and making heartfelt connections with brave, vulnerable artists. Yet this theme crops up again and again. When the director thanks us for our hard work or compliments our “insane talents,” most of us shrug it off. Oh, they don’t mean me. Oh, they just haven’t realized that they shouldn’t have cast me.
But take a step back. Why would our leaders provide positive feedback if we weren’t doing a good job? Why would they compliment our talents in awe if we sucked? We have to be better at recognizing that people don’t say those things for kicks. They always mean them.
Our “not so perfect” performance or skill doesn’t mean we aren’t meant to do it. If we find light and passion from something, we must pursue it. We must make friends with mediocrity before we can achieve anything greater than mediocre.
You are beautiful. You are worthy. All of us have absolutely NOTHING to prove, only to share. Whether you believe we are born from God, Gaia, or organisms, we are, in fact, innately born with gifts. Predetermined or not, every human has something different to offer. We need each of us to share our gifts in order for the world to find balance. Hide your gifts, and you hide them from others too.
For those who wrestle with these feelings, this is a song from the perspective we need to listen closer to:
If you could see what I see, you'd be blinded by the colors
Yellow, red and orange and green, and at least a million others
So tie up the bow, take off your coat and take a look around
“'Cause the sky is finally open, the rain and wind stopped blown'
But you're stuck out in the same old storm again
You hold tight to your umbrella, well, darlin' I'm just tryin' to tell ya
That there's always been a rainbow hangin' over your head
Again, you are beautiful. You are worthy. You have nothing to prove, only to share. We are so lucky to have you. Please share your thoughts and inspirations in the comments below! Shedding light is the only way to recognize our shadows for what they are.
Until next time,
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