You don’t need fear in your life. Everyone knows that. Especially if you are a creative. But are you even aware you have fears? You may not think so.
Fear is often the underlying trigger to other problematic traits for creatives. For me, one of those is people pleasing. A trait I didn’t realize stifled my creativity, but I’ve come to understand it does. It causes me to work harder and work more, often with negative outcomes.
I know that I am a people pleaser. I’m the perfect job candidate for customer service positions because all I want to do is make people happy. But I also know that I hate those jobs. They stress me out, because I have a big fear that I won’t be able to make someone happy. (I also have a fear anyway of unhappy people.) Actually, it’s part of a bigger fear that causes me to people please. I have a big fear of judgement. That others will see the bad, the boring, and the wrong things I do. Then they’ll let out all my secrets.
So what does this have to do with creativity? What does it have to do with photography? Or any other creative art? You may know that saying, ‘You can’t please everyone.’ Of course you can’t please everyone, so of course someone is going to judge you and not like what you’re doing and think you or they could do it so much better. Time to suck it up and move on. That’s case number one against people pleasing.
Here’s case number two. People pleasing stems from a fear of judgement that holds you captive. It holds you captive so you aren’t free to create. You aren’t free to put yourself into your photography. You won’t have a definitive style and your photos won’t have as much meaning to you or others. You don’t create from your heart using what you see. Instead, you create what you think others want or what others are creating or doing. And you see only what you think others might see. When you let go of the fear, then you let go of the people pleasing, and you start creating what you see from your heart. As a result, you have more freedom and that freedom leads to more creative outcomes. It allows you to define your style and use it to express yourself, your thoughts, your world, and what you see.
I’ve started to shed my people pleasing habits. I look at those creeping thoughts that someone may judge me as the enemy. Something that wanted me to fail. Since, I’ve noticed I jump up and do more, say yes to things I wouldn’t have said yes to before because it benefits me. I’ve said no to things I wouldn’t have said no to before because I felt obligated. I also shoot with more intention. My vision is more focused (not my sight but my purpose). I am a work in progress though. I still feel the people pleasing creep up at times. When I do, I step back, take a look at what’s going on, and ask myself if what I’m doing is truly what matters to me or if it is extraneous and what others want or expect to see.
I love the introspective part of creativity, which is why I have posts such as this every now and then. They are my thoughts and I’ve found writing about them helps me organize them and think about them more thoroughly. I’ve also found a lot of growth because of them. It’s becoming a part of my style as a creative.
Do you ever think about your own fears? Where they come from? How you conquer them?
Books That Address Fear For Creatives
The War of Art by Steven Pressfield
The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron
The Creative Fight by Chris Orwig
Any that you recommend?