Image "Make Believe" featured in Coco Magazine, Model: Marissa F. muah: Lee Anne Wilson.
It has taken me a long time to finally get to this point and I am so happy I have because now I am growing as a photographer and person more now then ever before.
You know those feelings you get when you see a fellow photographer achieve something you really wanted to achieve or when someone artistically does something before you had the chance to to do it? If you are an artist you know exactly what I am talking about. I call it the "Compare game" and the sad thing is no one ever wins this game.
First the bitter feeling strikes and then the ego pops in. "I could have shot that 10 times better". Then the sadness takes over. We somehow feel personally victimized by other peoples successes and that in itself is sad.
I recently did a small presentation at a camera club & something really amazing happened. One of the sections of my presentation was about success. I mentioned that someone else's success does not take away from our own success. Just because "so and so" shot a campaign that doesn't de-value the shoots that you have created or the success that you have had. Success starts on the inside.
During our 15 minute break at the presentation a man came up to me and told me how he really appreciated me saying that another persons success doesn't take ours away. He went on to tell me that his son was really into skateboarding and he has had some wonderful successes but sometimes he gets down and starts to think about why the other skateboarders are gaining more popularity when he knows he has just as much talent if not more.
It was a whole other genre and a whole other goal in life that this boy had but it really made me realize that this feeling happens in every aspect and in every career in life. We have up days and we have down days. On those down days we get more critical of ourselves.
This artistic journey is just that, it's a journey and it's full of hills and rivers and anything else you can imagine. The obstacles are always there. If it was easy it wouldn't be so rewarding when we do feel as if we have achieved something.
It took me a while to finally get to that point where I said enough is enough. I will no longer feel sorry for myself and I will no longer compare myself to other people or their successes in any aspect of my life. It's not to say that sometimes I don't look at another artists work and say to myself "Dang Nabit I wish I had done that" or it's not say that sometimes what is popular doesn't stump me and make me wonder "Whats so great about that" the point is if Im just sitting around looking at other peoples work and feelng sorry for myself I'm not out there creating. I have stories I have to tell and If I'm to busy focusing on other people's stories I'm not doing anything for my own.
This isn't to say that I don't appreciate or become inspired by other peoples work because I do all the time, this is taking it one step forward and actually being happy for these artists successes. Some of them truly work hard and deserve it, and some of them sadly don't, but If I ever have such big successes I want to know deep down that I deserved it because I worked hard.
I (being the super nerd that I am) actually did research on why us humans feel this way and after this research I realized just how much the feeling of jealousy is a natural human experience, but it's how you channel it to make yourself a better person. I educated myself, I realized that this feeling will happen and it's okay and then I took the first step to being a more positive person and that was to actually be happy for others.
Have you ever heard those quotes that say if you put positive energy out that is what you will receive? Or What you put out there will come back to you? With the chance of sounding like a hippie child (which If you know me I kind of am) I truly believe in karma.
When I am happy and feeling good about myself and others many experiences become much more rewarding. In the last few months I have truly been happy for some of my fellow artist friends and their amazing successes. They achieve things because they work hard for them and I understand that. Even something recent happened to me where i looked at the success of another photographer and I actually felt myself being happy for them even subconsciously in my head saying "They deserved this". Then I caught myself. I caught myself honestly and openly being excited for someone else and I realized I was growing into a better person.
Just this morning I woke up to a fantastic opportunity and e-mail that could potentially change a lot about the business aspect of my photography and it could be for the better and I mean really, really good. I was inviting the positivity into my life and it was coming.
I also started up my yoga routine again this week, and already I feel like my mind is clear and the positive feelings are beginning to flow. Now you don't have to go out and do yoga to reap the benefits of being positive, you can start right now. Just be happy for someone or say something or do something nice for someone else.
Now in the chance that all this sounds way to "airy fairy" I have to say I and we are only human, so yes negative feelings happen and I'm sure they will happen for me. I am sure I will have one of those down days where I feel like giving up. But it's all just part of the human experience.
Don't give up and keep creating :)