You value people’s opinions. Like everyone. We are a gregarious species. It’s natural. We won’t ever escape that. The problem comes when your self-worth is informed and shaped only by what other people say. Somehow, that’s natural either. But opinions are easy, and ignorance is free. You have to always remember that.
If you’re surrounded by the wrong environment for your development, you can end up valuing yourself very poorly. I always remember the ugly duckling tale. It’s incredibly useful. If you don’t know it, look it up.
If you like making art, is that enough for you? Do you have the mandate to make “something” of it? Do you have to make a career, do you have at least to be good at it? The answer is most probably yes. Because it is imbedded in our society. You can’t just enjoy something. You have to be good at it, and if you like it enough, even more: you have to be the best. This is not related to art at all. Or you.
If you’re not surrounded by swans (again, the ugly duckling tale), people’s opinions will most often than not focus on the wrong things. Have you drawn those lines clean enough. Is your art realistic enough. And if they’re not, sooner or later you’ll start valuing yourself, your whole self, by what others think of your art.
Please know: this is a mistake. A very costly one.
You are NOT your art.
Your art is something that you make. Nothing more. It can be better or worse that someone else’s (and that judgement will vary depending on God knows how many different measures). But whatever grade your art has for someone, doesn’t say a thing about your worth as a human being. Your worth is not directly linked to the results of your efforts.
Your worth is in the enjoying. In the making. In the trying. NOT in the result.
This is a results society. It’s driven by results because it’s convenient for other people. Not for anyone individually.
Your worth, all of our worth, is in the process. If we only could see that every once in a while…
Barbara Din is a visual artist, graphic designer, painter, interior designer, crafter, musician and writer living in Argentina.