“You are your own worst critic.”
As an artist, I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard this phrase.
Every time I do something, it’s always like I’m obligated to compare it to someone else’s.
In elementary school, I would compare the way I cut out my jagged shapes to the kids who cut them out with smooth and precise lines.
In middle school, I would get jealous of the kid with the cooler handwriting– the way they could scribble down words without it looking like a doctor’s note.
As I got older, I continuously met more and more people who were effortlessly talented. People who could sing whatever they wanted, paint anything they see, or learn any instrument without hesitation.
It sucked, knowing I had to practice to my wits end while they could learn the exact same thing in less than a day.
In art, the feeling of inferiority hits hard. There’s always someone better, faster, and one step ahead.
I would say that’s by biggest setback when it comes to creating. Every time I feel proud of something I’ve done, I think back onto something like the Mona Lisa and I’m like, “Wow, why am I even still doing this?
There’s days I spend scrolling through Pinterest, somehow simultaneously getting inspired and disheartened at the same time. How can everything already exist? Why can’t I have an original thought?
Mark Twain said, “There is no such thing as a new idea. It is impossible. We simply take a lot of old ideas and put them into a sort of mental kaleidoscope”
Sounds like a buzzkill to me, but I guess he’s kinda right.
I recently realized that art isn’t necessarily about always coming up with something new. In fact, you sort of have to implement other people’s ideas.
The thing is, though, you have to make it feel like you’re not copying it.
Being an artist means being creative, but also taking inspiration.
Anyway, what I’m trying to say is, we all compare ourselves. We all feel insecure about our talent. It’s inevitable.
I wish this was an article about me finally learning to not self-criticize myself all the time, but it’s not. I do it all the time. I literally just did it yesterday.
In all honestly, I don’t think there will ever be a life without everyone comparing themselves to someone else. Honestly, I think the only thing that can beat it is becoming self aware.
We really are our own worst critics. There’s really no one else that can be as hard on ourselves… as ourselves.
And, yeah, it sucks, but there will probably always be a person who’s naturally gifted at something while you have to work hard for it.
I guess it isn’t fair but, hey, that’s life.
The bottom line is, comparing is unavoidable. It’s gonna happen.
The other bottom line is, you gotta be okay with it.
Because everyone does it.
Maybe one day I’ll figure out how to change that and let you guys know.