However, strong-minded as I am, I am also easily influenced. Not so much about my opinions on other things, but about myself.
A year or two ago, on my daily commute to work, I'd pass a small art gallery that had a beautiful painting in the window. Many days, I thought, "I wish I could have that. But I can't afford it. I'll probably not ever have the money to spend on something like that." *sigh*
One day, I thought, "What if I can't ever HAVE that painting - does that mean I can't enjoy it? What if instead of feeling sad that I can't afford to look at the painting every night & weekend at home, I think, "I'm so glad I get to look at this painting twice a day as I walk to and from work. How lucky I am, to get to see such beauty on a daily basis."?
I resolved to begin working on seeing things of beauty and not desiring to ACQUIRE those things, but to appreciate the beauty of it RIGHT THEN, and to consider that really awesome, too.
I've done a so-so job on this over the past few years.
In the last few months, I've spent a lot of time reading crafty blogs and have been really impressed with the graphic design skills, the never-ending supply of topics, the beautiful handmade crafts featured and the work that so many people put into their blogs. Unfortunately, I almost always close the blog I'm reading while simultaneously thinking, "My blog should be more modern/colorful/consistently updated/funny/thoughtful/photo-centered/etc., like this blog."
I think the same things about the handmade art I see all over my world now . . . my Etsy shop should have better photos, should offer more variety, should be connected more, etc.
I really can't compete - I work a full-time job, have a family to take care of, an education to try to get jump-started - and I just can't keep up with the people who have 8+ hours to devote to this stuff every day. If I did, maybe I still wouldn't be able to really compete.
A lot of the ladies who have come back from the Creative Estates conference have talked about speakers who reminded them not to compete with one another, but to compete with themselves. I'm taking that lesson to heart, but it just occurred to me that this whole "I'm not good enough" thing is a lot like the lesson I (halfway) learned w/the beautiful painting.
I can admire a great blog, a beautiful handmade craft, a well-written story - and just drink it in. I can be happy to EXPERIENCE IT. It doesn't have to be a judgment of what I bring to the table. Instead of being sad I can't POSSESS that amazing blog/shop/online persona, why not just appreciate the ones I run into, and stop putting so much pressure on myself? Aren't I enough? I've got lots of friends, even a few great ones. I have family, I have a good job and a (hopefully) bright future. People like me, I know they do. And they like me for ME.
I hope to learn this lesson really well before I hit old age . . . I'll keep you posted.