March 30, 2012

Living without Worry

After many years of worrying, this month, my brain is finally quiet. 

The fever broke, so to speak.  I use to go to bed at night and think :

"What did I forget to worry about today?"

"What was that thing I did/said that was really stupid?"

and so an endless cycle of restless nights and tired mornings, wrestling with confidence and career-satisfaction - leading to more worry.  

eating healthy helped put me in a good mood, right from the AM

For my whole life, I was sure - absolutely certain - my life would include art in some way.  I trained for it in school, studied it in college, referred to myself as an artist, all my friends were artists...

And then suddenly I wasn't sure anymore.

For some reason, I wasn't happy with anything I was producing, and panicked at the thought of finding bad comments about my work on the internet.

I stopped sketching for fun, art was becoming a regular, soul-crushing job, instead of a passion.  Wasn't I supposed to be "living the dream"?  Combining passion and work?

finally sketching for fun - [this is after Wally Wood] - with paint pens

I was choking myself with worry about a future I wasn't even sure was going to happen.

Then, one morning in the shower after having a particularly rough night, it occurred to me: You are causing all this worry yourself.  All these worries are illusions.

Let's break the problems down

Worry: People hate or will hate your work

Reality: Do people really hate it?  If they do, will the police come to your house and arrest you for it?  Is an angry mob going to ride you out on a rail?

Of course not.

So why care?  Why even consider the negative?

Usually, the people who are negative about stuff are more vocal than the majority of people who like it, or don't think anything about it at all.

And, it doesn't mean they hate you as a person.  You are not just your work.

Worry: You're not as talented as you think you are

Reality: You're being way too hard on yourself.  Stop being your own horrible boss.  If you work for yourself, why be a jerk to work for?  If you're really not as good as you think you are: get better.  Take a new class, learn from your peers or find a mentor.

You're never too old or too successful to learn new things.

In fact, it's mandatory.

Worry: You can't seem to say what you really want to say

Reality: This person will be fine.  Just say it.

Not doing so is just bad news.  You leave feeling regretful, the other person has no idea how you really feel, and you are doomed to repeat the situation again.

No matter how uncomfortable it is to tell someone the awful truth, you are actually making it worse if you don't.

Don't carry around mental baggage, chances are the other person isn't.

In business situations years ago, I used to be afraid to tell someone that they owed me more money, or that their deadline was too soon for my schedule - so I'd just keep it all in, stress out, and rush the final product.

In the end, it makes your work suffer and your clients unhappy.

It feels so good to punch worry in the face.  

It's like taking off a very heavy coat...

cooking became a new hobby, learning about food is so exciting to me

// Remember // 

You can do anything!  

No one holds you back - not even you!


  1. Thank you for all of this. Bookmarked it for future reference.

  2. What an inspirational post!

  3. As they say, you are your own worst enemy. I think all of this can go with a lot of thing in life. In a lot of cases, if one finds themselves upset a lot, reevaluating and improving perspectives on things can change everything. Wonderful post, and I'm glad things are working out for you as far as worrying less and lightening up!

    And the food posts, as usual: MMMMmmmmm *drooools*

  4. You are so awesome and inspirational. This post helped me tons. I gotta bookmark it too. Especially "Stop being your own horrible boss. If you work for yourself, why be a jerk to work for?" You are so wonderful and wise grrrl! And I'm glad you are feelin' better.

  5. Very inspiring. Don't let the haters get to you, your work is fabulous and I hope you continue with it for as long as it pleases you!

  6. What a great post! I have the same issues from time to time. Beating ourselves up doesn't make us any better. Anyways, I love your blog. Each post is always filled with awesomeness.