Fear affects us all. In useful ways, it keeps us from making choices that could put us in danger. But what about those fears that prevent us from reaching our full potential? That fear of failure, disapproval, or looking foolish that stops us in our tracks, keeps us up at night, and eventually robs us of possibilities. You know the kind of fear I’m talking about.
I remember when I was a kid and my mother would warn me to ‘be careful’ when I went outside to play. “Be careful of what?” I wondered - what was ‘out there’ to be afraid of? Whether intentional or not, we have all received messages that warn us of the ‘dangers out there’.
Our painful experiences are turned into fears as well - who hasn’t at one time or another been laughed at or made fun of for wearing glasses, being overweight or underweight, having red hair or freckles, wearing braces, your singing or dancing, wearing the ‘wrong’ clothes, having ‘stupid’ ideas, mispronouncing a word, or just being different. Is it any wonder why we’re afraid to express our creativity with all this negativity?
As an artist, you put yourself out there and wait for approval - that’s a scary thought! What if someone doesn’t like my work? This is some of the chatter I hear in my head almost every day -
“What are you wasting your time and paper on that for?”
“When are you going to grow up and get a real job?”
“Isn’t there something more constructive you could be doing?”
“I can’t believe you want to draw that!”
For years, I have struggled to overcome my fears only to find that the fear is still there. What I’ve learned is this - fear actually doesn’t go away, we just learn to manage it. I believe that the fear will be there - I can count on it and its just part of the process. I’ve learned to accept it, take a deep breath, and do my best to move forward. We learn to live with it and not let it control our lives. I try to be brave enough to not let fear stop me. It’s what makes us courageous - you can’t have courage where there is no fear.
Did I make that sound easy? Well, it’s not - in fact it takes a lot of work and effort and some days I can’t do it. Oh, but the days I can are wonderfully powerful and magical. That’s the feeling I try to remember because if it feels that good, it has to be right.
It’s much easier to turn to addictions, procrastinate, beat yourself up, or live your life wondering ‘what if?’. I’ve been there and I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to waste any more time wondering ‘what if?’. There are ideas in your head that will never be expressed if you don’t express them - you owe it to us as well as to yourself.
Be courageous - don’t let fear prevent you from being your true, creative self - go for it!