Living for Yourself isn't Selfish
Lately, I’ve been pondering perceptions. Everybody has an opinion, right? Opinions about you, what you "should" do, how they think you are, and pretty much any other topic you can think up. I think that’s the main reason why it’s SO important to form your own strong opinions of yourself, independent of other’s perceptions.
Perceptions, judgments, opinions, whatever you want to call them, actually say a lot more about the people making them than the people receiving them. Some people may see my artwork as frivolous or silly. Others seem to light up when they receive my wands bc to them it’s something special and unique. It all depends on that person’s viewpoint, life experience and their personal definition of success.
I think if you live a life that makes you happy, then you’re a complete success. It doesn’t matter what your job title is, how much you make, how talented you are, how many awards you’ve won, or even how many people love you or don’t. If you’re living a life to impress others INSTEAD of living a life that makes YOU happy, then I feel like you’ve fallen into that “keep up with the Joneses” trap. Just don’t fall for it. That “thing” you think is going to make you “happy” is a fleeting moment. And then what? On to the next thing.
To me, being a successful artist means that I make items that fulfill my imagination. I make quality items that I personally would love to buy myself. I make my art at my own pace so the creative process is enjoyable for ME, and the people who buy my pieces, treasure them. I don’t need to make some crazy amount of money or get an art degree to prove I’m an artist. Just like I don’t have to justify to anyone who my friends are, who I married, or that I decided not to have children.
I’m the one who has to live my life on a daily basis. Making choices based on other’s opinions would put me in a people pleasing tail spin bc there are millions of perceptions out there of varying degrees and they all contradict each other. That sounds like a recipe for exhaustion to try to prove yourself to all those varying opinions. No thanks.
And NONE of it is real. You could ask 50 people their opinion of the same person and you will probably get 50 contradictory opinions of that 1 person. How can that be? She’s completely evil AND she’s a perfect angel, too. Hmmmmmm…..sounds like opinions are a bunch of useless crap. And so is your “reputation” bc it’s compiled of other people’s opinions.
Your ego and your self-worth are not the same thing. I can run around trying to gain recognition and admiration from others, "prove" myself to them and feed my ego. Or I can care about the opinions of those who truly matter to me. And I can have the guts to believe in myself even when the outside world disagrees. So many times I had people tell me I’m not an artist bc I don’t have an art degree. Tell that to the retail shops who sell my wares and the lovely souls who buy them. If I had listened to those people, I wouldn’t be living the life path that is meant for me. The life path that makes me happy.
If I had listened to other people, I would've married some "successful" wealthy, smart "perfect" man right out of college, (perfect on paper that is), maybe I would have pushed myself to become a "successful" lawyer or doctor to prove how smart and successful I am and raise 4 perfect little children in our McMansion. Wow. I'm so great with all my accomplishments lol. Sounds like a nightmare to me. Bc down the road, I would have ditched the husband bc he would have been all wrong for me. I would have ditched the high-powered job bc "something" would feel like it's missing from my life and the kids would wind up hating me bc in their bones they would have always felt I didn't really want them. Bc well, I didn't. DUH. Why would I have kids that I never felt I wanted? Oh, right bc according to other people I'm selfish if I don't have kids. OK sure. I'm just a mindless drone who agrees with what society tells me about myself.
By making life choices, just to be accepted by others, you mess up many people's lives, including your own.
Remember, YOU are actually the only person who needs to like you and I think following your intuition and heart is the core of making that happen. Allowing your self-worth to inflate or decrease based on approval or disapproval of others is actually not self-worth at all. It’s just your ego playing tricks on you. You are valuable simply because you exist.
“We keep waiting to be crowned, waiting for the world to judge us worthy of offering our brightest, most empowered and beautiful stuff. But that won’t happen. Your next certification or ordination or degree will do nothing for your expression in the world until you accept how unspeakably worthy and valuable you already are to be here and share yourself with us.”
― Jacob Nordby, Author