Uniquely you

Jack eating cake. Eleanor hanging out with her favorite person.

Every time I write a new blog post, WordPress gives me the statistical information about the blog (how many posts, subscribers, etc.) and a quote about writing. This was their quote a couple of weeks ago, “There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are‘.    W. Somerset Maugham”.

I remember reading a story years ago about Georgia O’Keeffe’s sister. She was quite a talented painter herself, but some negative comment by Georgia, regarding her work, shut her down and she either didn’t paint again, or never made her work public. I can’t remember the details, but they are not that important.

So many of us have doubted ourselves and our lives. We fear that we don’t know enough, aren’t talented enough, aren’t sure how to begin, fear other’s won’t like what we want to do, fear we’ll make a fool of ourselves, and this self-doubt so often results in us not doing what we would love to try, or we quit too early.

I have never met a person who didn’t doubt themselves at one time or another. It seems to be a part of the human experience. So if you are doubting yourself, you are in good-company, and if you are ready to begin something that you have been wanting to try,…..yipee!!!

(An affirmation that I’ve shared here before, and have found extremely helpful myself, is: “I am deeply and profoundly Self-confident”.)

What each must seek in his life never was on land or sea. It is something out of his own unique potentiality for experience, something that never has been and never could have been experienced by anyone else”. Joseph Campbell

17 thoughts on “Uniquely you

  1. The blank page can be a daunting experience Mary, and sometimes it doesn’t take much for us become paralyzed – sometimes even a look or an offhand comment by someone not even closely related is enough to discourage the creative impulse:

    How much I regret the day I stood in the record department at Caldors when I was 16 years old with a recording of Leo Kottke in my hand – wanting to push my musical horizon – I was teaching myself to play the guitar in open tunings and was interested in trying (by ear) to figure out how he played – when I bumped into a friend who commented – “Leo Kottke? Oh that’s too hard.” Foolishly, I listened to her and put the album down for something tamer.

    That experience has stayed with me all these years. I have since learned to never say die. The creative experience – as terrifying as it can sometimes be – for me is so rich and life giving.

    I’d like to share a quote that I employ to keep me going when doubt comes knocking:

    “Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.” William H. Murray (from his book “The Scottish Himalayan Expedition”)

    ox

  2. Mary, I just about fell off my chair snorting with laughter over Somerset Maugham’s quote: “There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are’. I can think of many times in my life when I’ve doubted myself but the big step for me came in my early 40’s when I applied to and was accepted to Art College in Toronto and I was “JUST” a quilter. In my first year at the college, where I almost felt I had to be undercover being a quiltmaker, if you’ll pardon the pun, one of my quilt designs appeared in a Canadian national magazine and I earned the most I’ve ever earned with this costly (in terms of fabric) avocation of mine: I was paid $10,000 in royalties. The magazine sold over $100,000.00 worth of paper patterns in that first year. So, you see, no matter what it is you do, if you take that chance, are open to opportunities that come your way (and jump in blindly as I did, not knowing any better) sometimes they can be the best experiences in our lives. I’m so grateful that I didn’t let my initial negative resistance stop me from taking a chance on myself. Believing in ourselves is one of the hardest things of all but the rewards are often great when we can do it. Now I always ask myself: what have I got to loose and if it isn’t in dollars and cents, if it feels right, I go for it.
    SandyP in Canada

  3. Mary, I can’t begin to say how helpful your post is for me today. I signed up for a 3 week “boot camp” fitness event recently. It took me 3 days just to decide because of self doubt and all the negative thoughts I could throw at it. my husband finally said, why not? So I jumped in and am really excited (and nervous). So, yipee for me! Thanks for lifting my sails this morning! Lynne, your words inspire also:)

  4. Thanks Mary. This is a timely post for me. After taking pottery class for almost a year, I’ve made some progress, but am still not very good. And my not ever be. But for the time being it’s still fun, so I’ll keep it up.

  5. HI Mary. This post relates so well to life itself. As an artist and author, I have reserved a permanent place-setting in my office for Ms. Doubt. After years and years of grappling with the persistance of doubt and hesitation I finally realized that rather than fight it, I could simply acknowledge it is there. BUT I don’t have to dance with it! I find that now when I realize Ms. Doubt is siting next to me as I work on a painting or sit at my computer to write, I can ask her to be quiet and simply observe….over the years she has grown more contenet to be proven wrong. Sometimes when we embrace the very thing we are afraid of, it disolves.

  6. I’ve always felt I wasn’t a good enough painter – luckily my sister was not Georgia O’Keeffe! I have been taking some lessons and gaining confidence. I just finished a pastel painting of Jon Katz’s old sheep, whose photos have mesmerized me! I follow some folks on Facebook that paint and they are so confident! I realized one day, “Gosh, I can paint like that and they are selling their paintings.” I have forced myself out of my comfort zone and pushed aside my negative self-talk. People are seeing and liking my work! I have even made a facebook page for my art! You just never know until you try, even if it is uncomfortable for you initially. Thank you for reminding me, “You can do it!”
    Molly White

  7. I really liked SandyP’s comment, “What have I got to lose?” – The days will pass us by one way or another – now’s the time to jump in and do some wonderful thing we have been putting off, if only for today. Maybe even re-read the childhood classic about the Little Engine that Could – remember this? – I think I can, I think I can, I think I can!
    http://www.google.com/search?q=the+little+engine+that+could&hl=en&client=safari&rls=en&prmd=imvnsba&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=waH9T_zkJ6ae2gX17eGQAg&ved=0CFoQsAQ&biw=1123&bih=620

  8. Most people I meet, or have met, or worked with, or are friends with have, over the many ensuing years, always told me how calm and sure of myself I am and how I always impart a steadiness to any situation. I have never understood that because inside my own head, I am screaming with doubt whenever I am called upon to mediate something or make a decision. And yet, they all come to me still to ask my opinion and to garner advice. One friend has nick-named me “The Great Guru of Good Advice.”

    At some point I guess one has to wake up, put on their big-girl panties and say, “No more!” It goes to prove that our own perceptions of ourselves are what truly color our lives…for good or bad. I love Debra Saum’s line….”Sometimes when we embrace the very thing we are afraid of, it disolves.”

    Great post, Mary (as always), and I LOVE Eleanor’s relaxed, stretched-out front legs! That’s one happening cat!

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