There was a season in my life when I made the subconscious decision to view myself and the art I made as one and the same.
This carried on until I was forced to realize something very important: my art is not who I am. It's just something I do.
From personal experience and a lot of reflection on this distinction, I'll share why I think making it is very important for you to make as well.
If your art is who you are…
Then your value as a person completely rests on whether or not others perceive your art as valuable.
That means when somebody says your latest piece is amazing, you take that to mean you are an amazing person.
But that also means when somebody says your latest piece is terrible, you take that to mean you are a terrible person.
If your identity is completely woven in and through the art that you do, then you will eventually become paralyzed. The fear of sharing your latest creation will force you into a corner, because: what if they don’t like it (me)?
But if art is simply something you do…
Then your value as a person rests in your personhood, and apart from, something outside of you.
That means when somebody says your latest piece is amazing, you take that compliment in stride and experience joy knowing that something you enjoyed making has also brought a similar experience about for someone else.
That means when somebody says your latest piece is terrible, you also take the comment in stride and are able to decide whether the criticism is worth listening to—and therefore going to improve your work—or simply one person’s opinion that is off base—and therefore doesn’t matter anyway, because the work you did was meaningful to you in some way.
I guess I’m saying this because…
I don’t want you to have creative meltdowns like I have had.