Monday, March 19

Get over yourself already

I already said this, but I can't say it enough (but twice is good, ok). Thank you. Your comments and emails have been so touching and I have read and re-read every one. I hope we can keep this super fun dialogue going!


Now there are tons of ways of getting over fear, or learning about being brave and all that stuff, but I don't know shit. I only know from my own life, so I am happy to offer you some straight up facts. Fact one: The best advice anyone has ever given you is to get the over yourself. No one cares about you, or thinks about you as much as you do. They (people in general, the very people who you are scared will judge you when they see your art, those people..ok) don't care if your art sucks, they don't even care if you are successful unless they are comparing their success to yours...it is a sucky reality, but humans be humans yo. There is a way to hump this hump though, and here it is...Get over yourself again.

I know...but listen. Don't focus on yourself or your ego. Put your energy (when you are engaging with other people, even in your head) outside of yourself and your opinions, and put it on other people. Think about them. Support them and encourage them and even love them and be genuine about it. Example...you are chatting with a new person and they are all "Dude, my art is so awesome, I make these glitter bird cages with skeletons in them wearing feather boas..." You are probably like "um, you and your art sucks" and even as you try to be nice to them, your not, you want to get away from that freaky bitch and it probably shows. Instead...remove your opinions from the equation, don't judge her (ok, try not to, I am even judging her a little right now...). Her art doesn't define her, just like your art doesn't define you, so why have negative thoughts about it? Just be supportive and genuine. Don't care so much about what you think, cuz who the hell are you anyway?

Try to think this way even when you are on Pinterest or trolling around the Internet and see a blog or some new art that isn't something you might gravitate towards. Don't even think bad things about it, and never say anything out loud that you wouldn't want that person to hear you say. I know I sound like a fucking Kindergarten teacher, but seriously, you have to project good energy out of yourself like a rainbow out of your every orifice because you will get it back. I promise.


You will be surprised how much more support you get when you become the kind of person who supports others, and this erases fear. At least it does for me. If you want some help in this area, try reading A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle. This book is all about being yourself, without your ego. Like step back and look at your ego and be all, fuck you ego, your not the boss of me. One of my favorite quotes is this:
"When you don't cover up the world with words and labels, a sense of the miraculous returns to your life" 

 So basically fear comes from you, so stop it! Here is one more line from A New Earth that really resonates with me because when he talks about the ego, I am conscious of the fact that our ego is what we are trying to protect when we are scared, and ego is is what motivates other people to be negative (also makes us negative, but you get my drift.)


"Nonreaction to the ego in others is one of the most effective ways not only of going beyond ego in yourself but also of dissolving the collective human ego. But you can only be in a state of nonreaction if you can recognize someone's behavior as coming from the ego, as being an expression of the collective human dysfunction. When you realize it's not personal, there is no longer a compulsion to react as if it were."


 I kinda struggled with this one because basically if you want to be fearless, you have to decide to be fearless. That is really all there is to it. But there are other things I think about that help.

1. Change your perspective: Think about how most of the people on this earth don't even have clean water to drink. Imagine how hard it is to be fearless in Syria...or Afghanistan. It kind of makes me sick to think about other people's misery to make myself feel better, so that isn't the point. The point it is to focus on what is good!

2. Make a mantra for yourself of what you are grateful for! Wake up every day, or right before you upload your work for the internet and just focus on all of the wonderful things in your life! Your health, safety, family, whatever it may be.


Since we are getting all touchy feely here, lets talk about self help books. I like em. Personally I have a problem with spiraling negative thinking. Like picture this: I am driving my car, going to work, it's a beautiful day but I can't stop fantasizing about my husband dying or something awful, by the time I get to work I am a bitter old lady who never found love again...and dies alone in a shitty apartment no one ever visits me in...it's that bad. I sometimes have to put in some headphones with Tony Robins or Eckhart Tolle just so they can talk me off the ledge. I have had some really great success with NLP, check it out. I learned how to stop having recurring bad dreams b/c of those people...I love them. I mention this because again, our self obsessions are the real problem, at least to me.


Last but not least, I am going to post some interviews I have put together with some very inspiring ladies, but I wanted to mention my friend Jessica Swift. She is simply one of the most positive people I know, and I love reading her blog because she loves to talk about motivation among other things. These posts are really cool because she shows her work as she takes an E course on being fearless in yourself and your art.


I would love to hear about how you get over your fears! Also, what are you scared of? How is your fear blocking your flow? Who would you be if fear were out of the picture?


27 comments:

  1. Boy! If fear were gone I would certainly take more chances with my work. Right now I know what works and I seem to do it in one version or another all the time. It looks good and it sells. However, I want to experiment and see what happens. fear!!!! I need to remind myself that it is only paint! ha!

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    1. Dude, I hear you. It is hard, but it feels good to just go for it.

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  2. Michelle - how timely this post is! I'm a fabric designer and things have been going well, but I've been considering a blog to get myself out there more. I'm so afraid that it will be a waste of my time and energy! So then my fear manifests itself into procrastination. I tell myself that if I spend time, energy, and money on something that doesn't work out then I can never get those things back, and it was a waste. So then I never even start. Or I just keep putting it off, waiting for the "perfect" time.

    I often think about how blessed I am, especially compared to most others in this world. I'm healthy, I have a healthy, beautiful family, a home - but I never thought about what it would take to be fearless in other parts of the world. That puts my ridiculous fears into perspective (cue the whining, "What if they don't like me?") And I know that God has plans for me. So what's stopping me? Shouldn't be a damn thing.

    Thanks for all your time and energy on these posts. They are not a waste;)

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    1. Andrea, its never a waist of time to try something new! You would be surprised how many new great things have come out of my mistakes, and mishaps. Just go for it! It snowballs from there.

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  3. I'm an artist who often struggles with self-doubt about my work. A friend recommended the book "Art and Fear" by David Bayles and its really gotten me motivated to be creative no matter what people say.
    I also like the quote by Echart Tolle (or maybe it was Oprah- I can't remember!)"People will always have opinions- good or bad- but you give them meaning." This makes me feel like I have the choice to let these opinions affect me or not.
    Great posts. Great discussion. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

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  4. Michelle! I love this post so much. (BTW, I love reading your blog, too, because you make me laugh, and you inspire me to be more myself!) I can relate to so much of what you said-- the spiraling negative thoughts (even though I have a prevailing positive attitude, they still get me!), the judging of new people who talk about themselves, the telling the ego to fuck off...! Love it. I am so glad you're talking about these things here! I think we all go through them, but we don't talk about them enough. Also, I love self-help books, too. :)

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  5. I think getting over your fear is hard but it needs to start with self. You have to be totally OK with who you truly are. When you find that peace, it doesn't matter what others think. When you get to a place where you creating beauty is what makes you happy with no concern of what others think - that is true peace. Peace without fear.

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    1. Beautifully put Miki

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    2. still a tough one though! i have an exhibit tonight. not many people have seem my paintings - they have seen my photography but not paintings. it is pretty scary - almost like exposing your whole soul and leaving it up to personal interpretation. But all in all i am proud of what i have created so in the end that is all that matters. :)

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  6. What a thoughtful, wise and generous post. I can say I agree with you on all counts - perspective is everything and I'm pretty sure it was A New Earth that began shifting my way of thinking. As for fear, sheesh, I think we need a very long dinner to discuss that one over. :)

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  7. This is why I love you Michelle. ;-) I pretty much agree with everything you said. And to quote Nike, "just do it". Sweet, simple, and to the point. xoxo.

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  8. I love this post Michelle! You are so wonderful!! If I could have a Michelle bobble head, I would.

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  9. yeah...i will re-read this post a bunch of times. wow. your honesty is comforting and gives such perspective. AND, what? no fair you are actual friends with Jessica Swift! that's too much art talent in one friendship. i admire her work so much especially her new "fearless" ones. awesome.

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    1. I know! I am super lucky to have Jessica as a friend, she is the best!

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  10. I can't tell you how happy I am that I stumbled onto your blog today - I know and love your artwork and now I want to be your BFF!! ...or, to sound less like a stalker, at least try to embody your attitude :) My biggest fear is failure and now I'm going to go get over myself. Great post - seriously, THANK YOU!

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    1. How funny, I could always use an extra Bff

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  11. this post is immensely inspiring, michelle, as is your artwork. thanks!

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  12. Thank you for this. I am also an artist that checks in with your work from time to time. I had a commission go bad this week and this post has helped my mood tremendously. Amanda

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    1. Amanda, Oh no, that is the worst feeling! So happy that I could help you feel better.

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  13. Gees. I just want to hug you. The more you write, the less I feel like a complete idiot. I have a major fear, which has to do with my own art and design, but it seems so logical to me. Not that it isn't good enough. But that it's too damn random. I am so friggin random! Everyone says that you have to have a cohesive look and feel to sell your work....but I fear that I will never find that common thread in my work. I'm all over the board. I guess I need to quit fearing how others will accept my work and just keep on doing my thing.

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  14. Oh Miz. November I am the same way!!!! Michelle how did you ever come to one style? I love everything and do everything. HELP!!!!

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    1. You guys should just keep going and making, eventually you will naturally sort out what either you enjoy the most, or what sells the most :) Just gotta make everything you like making.

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  15. Such honest words, Michelle. I'm not an artist, but this advice totally works for other contexts. I've been vacillating between complete happiness and paralyzing fear since I quit my soul-crushing job last fall because I haven't found a job since. I've really had to actively combat the hurt ego that I have because I never imagined I'd find myself one of the long-term unemployed. To do that, I've been listing out the abundant positives in my life (supportive husband, family, money in the bank, physical security, etc.). When I realize that my situation could be SO much worse, my reality doesn't seem nearly that bad.

    (Oh, and I'm about a decade late to the dialogue, but I am really enjoying these posts)

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    1. Wow, this is just the kind of post I needed to read at this time in my life. Such a positive voice, and such great advice! I never realized it but it's true, fear comes when we are protecting our ego! I have been trying to identify the source of my fear and anxiety and I believe this is my answer. I have never visited this blog before, clicked over from apartmentherapy and was enchanted by this post!

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  16. One of my favorite affirmations, "I lead a fearless life".

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  17. Gosh I keep re-reading this post when I am feeling blue or when I find myself closing out others and curling up into a little self-absorbed ball. It is such simple advice, such obvious-yet-helpful-to-hear-from-someone advice. It has psyched me into going to the local artwalks which, duh, is something I should be doing regularly anyway. Helping the energy grow. Everyone's energy. More art is good. More expression is good.

    I seriously have referred many other people to this post. This post and this talk by Ira Glass (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BI23U7U2aUY) are two great bastions of hope when the world gets cloudy and windy. Make lots of work. And be supportive of others. Such good advice.

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  18. Maggie! What a great link, thank you so much for sending that. I am so glad that you are getting so much from these posts, makes me feel good, b/c they are so hard for me to write, like pulling teeth. I still really feel like I am in that gap part, and I just have faith that some day I will climb out of it.

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