Instinct? Or Over-thinking?

How do you know when to listen to your first thought — your instinct — and when to think about things first before you make a decision? How do you know if you are giving a project due consideration or over-thinking everything?

Getting lost in the psychological maze occurs more often than not. And its especially rough when you are working in a creative sphere.

That nasty little devil big mouth sassy bored opinionated faerie often sits upon my shoulder. Yours could be a little angel, a seasoned sprite, a naughty muse, or a shadowed spectre. It doesn’t matter who second-guesses you. They’re always there, hanging around.

Do any of you sell your artwork? Do you sell at art fairs or online or at a gallery? Did you have a lot of paperwork to fill out? Did you wonder if your wares would impress the masses along with friends and neighbors?

Self doubt sucks.

Whether you’re sending something to a publisher, submitting something to a contest, applying for a booth, or being critiqued for a gallery showing, it all tests your confidence, your imagination, and your business sense. 

These are good things, of course — but they do test you.

You can apply the same doubts to applying for a new job, changing your hair color, or starting new classes. Any time there is something you want and/or need to move forward to get it’s stressful. Any time there is something “more” that is within your grasp, it’s stressful.

Any time you have to work towards a goal, it’s stressful.

How many times does someone have to say they like your work before you believe them? How many kudos and pats on the back do you need before you believe in your work, your art?

I come from a history of self doubt. I’m so much better these days, but somewhere in my past I fell down and didn’t get right up. And not getting up for a long time skewered my view of myself and what I could do.

But as I got older I found I wasn’t such a bad flower after all. I fell in love with writing, with my family, and with art. It was all new and glorious and, I tell you, I’ve never looked back.

But preparing to show my recent art wares to the world is stressing me out. That little faerie keeps bugging me, telling me no one will like my work. 

It wouldn’t matter if I were preparing to take a final in college or submit a story to a publisher. If I were putting together a proposal for work or submitting a bid for a house. I’d still think I thought too little or too much.

Don’t let your self-doubt stop you from doing what you need to do to get where you want to go. Let that faerie/angel blabber away, nod and say I hear you, then go with what you believe. With your gut feeling.

Tomorrow is waiting.

 

 

The Life Or Death Happy Happy Flim Flam Sales Man

My muse was at it again.  I was standing in the shower, trying to remember what was still clean that I could wear to work, mentally making a grocery list, and trying to remember to bring a pair of scissors to cut flowers by the roadside, when my spicy Irish muse jumped into my head with a great idea for a short story. 

With barely enough time to brush my teeth and curl my hair, I asked her to come back later when I had more time to listen. That evening she returned, but I couldn’t hear her, as I was thrown off by the barrage of super-loud commercials in the background. Once again I was interrupted by the Life Or Death Happy Happy Flim Flam Man.

Every day we are bombarded with advertising, advice, inspiration, and warnings. We are overweight, wrinkled, and messy.  Our bodies are toxic and we have yellow teeth. We don’t have time to sort, exercise, chop vegetables or play with our kids.  But there is a cure for that ― just ask the Info Man.

The other day on the radio I heard that the infomercial business is a 30 billion dollar a year enterprise.  Just think — 30 billion dollars spent a year on ways to clean-up, tighten-up, and detox-up our bodies and our minds.  Not only can we firm our thighs and flabby under arms, but we can buy bling from movie stars while we’re firming. We can organize our closet, scrub up doggie accidents from the carpet, and slice up vegetables in one swoop.  

How did we ever survive this long on our own?

 Most of us wouldn’t mind being a little thinner or have beautiful hair or be able to drain spaghetti in the same pot as the drainer. But these informercials know just how to tap into our low well of confidence. Advertisers do such a good job of pointing out our inadequacies that we buy improvement on the spot without having to think about it or leave the comfort of our sofa. What a convenient way to get better!

I’m not against advertising.  I learn about a lot of new products every time I watch TV or read a magazine or walk through the grocery store. I get tired of cleaning up spills on the carpet, and I keep thinking I’m too old for pimples. But finding a solution to my mini dilemmas should be fueled by my judgment, not advertisers. We shouldn’t let our insecurities rule our self-worth. We shouldn’t have to spend hundreds of dollars to feel better, think better, be better. 

We have the capacity for unbounded love, compassion, and understanding.  From astronomy to astrology, we have the power to discover magic both inside and outside of ourselves.

And discovering the magic doesn’t cost a thing.    

There is something wrong when we are told how messed up we really are and how that can be changed with a quick purchase off the Internet. To believe that the answer for happiness and peace of mind is outside of us is playing into the hands of marketers and profiteers who take our money and our trust and leave no instructions behind ― people who have never met us, never sat at our dinner table, never took the time to find out why our closets are so disorganized in the first place.

 So go out and buy that great pair of jeans or that diamondish necklace or those celebrity-endorsed pots and pans.  But realize that you are just as fantastic in those beat up jeans with the elastic waist, and that your homemade lasagna will taste just as good in your worn out baking pan as it will in the latest non-stick wonder.

Sparkle is free. The fire inside of you is free. Everything else is just hype. 

The only infomercial that matters is the one that broadcasts in your heart.