I’m still battling with the fear of success. That is right, success (not failure). Failure is part of the process of creativity and nothing worthwhile is ever gained without some failure from time to time. Success doesn’t come to us if we don’t put ourselves out there, sometimes again and again and again until we finally strike a good note. Welcoming success is another story.
Each year I participate in plein air events. Artists gather to paint outdoors often to assist an arts organization raise money. Many months ago a young man said to me after realizing I won first place the year before… “I hated you”. I felt badly that he had that negative feeling about me. His work was very good and he and others also deserved to win.
The next day I totally self sabotaged unconsciously. Normally there are steps I take myself through when creating art: Checking values on all the shadows, eliminating tangents, creating a study first for composition and color harmony, title the painting early on, making sure the focal point is strong and more. Yet, this day, I did very few of them. I remember thinking “Que sera, sera”. Instead, I thought about everything else including how I didn’t want to be un-liked. Subconsciously I set myself up to not even be in the race so that I would not be dis-liked.
When I told this story to a successful man, he laughted and said “this young man had psyched you out to throw off your game”. “Do people do that? “I asked. I didn’t think he did that though. It seemed to me he was just being honest and revealing his feeling of envy.
Unfotunately, having a few people being unhappy with you is part of the success equation. A well-known artist said that some people do and say things that are very hurtful as you begin to climb.
This week I got accepted in prestigious exhibit with artists from all over the world. Then on Facebook I read about a friend’s disappointment about not getting in again. Despite the fact that I have received my fair share of rejection letters, I held onto the thought of her feeling badly instead of celebrating my own success. Is this because I was afraid she would no longer like me? Crazy, right?
A good friend, Lisa Jimenez, said “It isn’t your business what others think of you”. I guess the next time someone says “I hated you” I will just have to say, “Somedays I feel that way about myself “ and just laugh.