Any Self Doubters Out There?

green man or red

I expect so, especially if you operate in the creative world.

Our heads are littered with quotes from literacy giants – “the worst enemy to creativity is self- doubt“, Sylvia Plath. Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt.” William Shakespeare, Measure for Measure. Mm, here lies a problem as self doubt is a trait strongly linked to the artistic temperament. However, I think there is some good news surrounding self doubt.

I recon a little bit of self doubt can be a good thing. It forces you to work right at the margins of what you can achieve. It pushes you to the edge but in doing so it can unleash some of your best work. It demands you to analyse your work very carefully and in doing so it may lead to improvements. It will be uncomfortable but the giddy roller coaster of emotional highs and lows is in itself is a creative process.

A disappointment which leads to self doubt can be motivational. I am speaking from experience here. I’ve been riding high since my linen ties were successfully launched in Brooklyn, New York last month by Scot Street Style. Then, boom, two shows I applied to exhibit at knocked me back. They of course had every right to and had good reasons for their decisions but they were big local shows and ones I really wanted to be part of. It scuppered my plans in one fell swoop. Scunnered.

So I wallow for a few hours in the murky pool of self doubt and ask myself, is it time to change direction? My ego is low and I’m wondering if I was kidding myself attempting to carve out a career in surface design. Self doubt casting its long gloomy shadow over me. But the gloomy shadow prodded my pride. I acknowledged the nagging self doubt, that’s vital – meditation  taught me to acknowledge negative thoughts, we must recognise them, allow them to exist but then put them aside, step past them.

I decide to aim even higher. My new mantra was in place and painful as it was that trusty old self doubt had served me well as my designs were scrubbed up and ready to go. And as it happens, perfectly timed for something rather wonderful that I am very much looking forward to sharing with you soon. So, I say to Shakespeare and to Plath, yes, self doubt can be destructive but it also serves a useful purpose, just give it respect but make darn sure to contain it and push it aside.

Are you a self doubter? If so, how do you deal with it?