I don’t mean that in the recycle way. I mean it in the ugly way.
Last week, after appearing on The Photo Junkies Blog someone asked me in a private message what my greatest struggle has been with photography. I thought for a moment and sighed. I knew exactly what it was, however, I wasn’t proud to admit it.
Jealousy. It’s an ugly word and rarely ever talked about because none of us who struggle with it are proud that we do. So I’m going to jump off a ledge here and talk about my personal struggle with jealousy and how I found peace.
With my hands flailing up in the air, I’d look at another artist’s portfolio and ask the question, “WHY don’t my photos look like THAT?!” Every. Time. I was very insecure in who I was as an artist and who I was as a woman of God leading a business. I was no longer spending my time brainstorming how I could better serve my customers or gathering inspiration for shoots, instead, I was feeling sorry for myself that I didn’t have what THEY had. Whoever “they” was on that particular day.
Jealousy is a sickness. It can eat away at your soul. It can hurt not only your business but your creativity, your artistry– the things that make you you.
One day I realized that someone else looked at my photos the way I looked at everyone else’s. She wrote me in a message, “why don’t my photos look like yours?!” It was a huge eye opener to me in the fact that I was essentially saying the very same thing about everyone else. I never dreamed anyone would say that about mine. But when she said that I realized that the reason my photos didn’t look like anyone else’s wasn’t because they were worse, or even better. It was because they weren’t me. And I wasn’t them.
What makes us unique as photographers isn’t the way in which we do lighting or in the camera that we use. It’s the way in which we see the world. God gave us each a talent to see it differently. It’s a beautiful gift and one that shouldn’t be taken for granted. We each record memories differently, and that’s what makes us artists. We paint the world for everyone else through a lens. We are story tellers. We are some of the most important people in the world. And each one of us is privileged to record different pieces of history, of lives and of beauty.
It took a lot of personal prayer and dedication to change my attitude towards others. But once I began becoming friends with other photographers and networking,making it a point to encourage others as I wished I had been encouraged, my outlook on business changed. It was no longer about looking at other’s photographs. It was about connecting with them as people and as artists. I could appreciate their work so much more because of how different it was from mine. And I could appreciate mine so much more because I began to revel in the difference. I fell in love with my art all over again. Thus, developing my own style. My own unique way of story telling. And I tell you friends, there’s nothing more beautiful than having confidence in your craft, no matter what craft that is. Not only did it make me a better photographer, business person, friend, photographer, but it allowed my relationship with God to grow with the burden of jealousy lifted.
It was weighing me down.
Feeling free and liberated, I still struggled every now and again, and still will in the future. But the more I learn about my own personal struggle, the more I can prevent it from happening. I know the evil one always attacks what we love and hold dear, and our passion for our art is no exception.
Faith in God not only in life, but also in business has been the number one help in me overcoming a struggle. He is the way to peace. He is the way to happiness.
There is a quote I saw and I remind myself of it often. Not only in photography, but in every day life, I find this to be so true.
”The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone elses highlight reel.” – Steven Furtick
Thank you so much for allowing me to share my heart with you! If you struggle with the same feelings, send me an email. We’ll share our hearts together. And send email hugs. :) And be BFF’s. For in my experience, the more I share my burdens with others, the more peace I feel. I know that’s why God gave us one another. Not to pretend like we’re perfect, but that in our imperfections, we can share and work towards His perfection. together.