I find myself in a particular pickle.
On one hand, I am full of goals and ambition. I have so much drive that I find it impossible to simply “relax”. Which, I love. I am a do-er and prefer doing things to not doing them. Yet on the other hand, I find when at the cusp of sharing the fruits of my labor, I am disgusted. All of a sudden, I wonder where I get the audacity to put my opinions out in the world. I am sick of me so who in their right mind would want to experience anything I have to offer?
It is a particular pickle isn’t it? When it is the outside bullies that cause us to pause in our ambitious efforts, our friends and family swoop in to rightly advise us in ignoring those trolls and keep doing us, but it isn’t that easy when we, ourselves are the trolls.
It is worth asking if these defense mechanisms are in place because we don’t really want to share? Are we creating for the love and ritual of creating itself? Or is this a trick deployed by our Fear Weasel and Ego Al to prevent us from getting uncomfortable and exposing ourselves?
After much back and forth, I know in my situation that I do indeed want to share. The possibility of inspiring someone to make the weird art they need making outweighs my self-loathing. So how does one move past it?
Do it when it feels good and ignore it when it doesn’t
The creating of a piece is full of enough emotional ups and downs that the self-hatred doesn’t usually come into play until the end. So, while you are in that beautiful messy phase, be all in. Keep those blinders on and make the thing that needs making. When the time comes to share your work and the self-deprecating monologue begins, walk away. Post your creation then leave. Ignore it. Immerse yourself in a new project. Take a break from creating and indulge in a little consuming. When you begin to feel good again about the piece you made, go check on it. See how it is doing in the world. See if anyone has caught a glimpse of their own story through yours. Then when the negativity creeps in again, creep back out.
You do not have to be all in all the time. It doesn’t invalidate you or make you any less serious. Learning when to be in or out is learning how to take care of yourself. It is important.
I know. I know. How hunky-dory but it is worth considering. If a friend was doing the exact same self-deprecating thing to themselves, you might swoop in to give such advice. All the while deep inside you are still punishing yourself for that embarrassing thing you did over 15 years ago…
Try. Try to forgive. Oh, and practice! The self-loathing skill has taken time to evolve into the monstrous thing it is today, so allow yourself time to get better at forgiving. Keep practicing and trying and it will get better. And when it isn’t better, you can always escape and come back as soon as it feels right.
When you find yourself annoyed by your own self and want to quit all together, pause. First ask yourself if you indeed wish to share your work. When you do, share it. Leave when you get too full of the bad and work on the whole forgiveness thing. I don’t know if the self-hatred ever fully goes away, but all we can do is show up and try.
So, tell me, do you suffer the same fate and how do you deal?