(This column is posted at www.StevenSavage.com and Steve’s Tumblr. Find out more at my newsletter.)
Many creatives spend time bashing themselves. They’re angry they’re not doing more work. They’re enraged their writing isn’t better. They worry they’re not making enough at their supposedly “fun” calling.
No one can be crueler to a creative than themselves. Creatives know their weaknesses and have the imagination to find new ways to harangue themselves.
I’d lay odds you do the same thing to yourself.
Normally I’d advise compassion for oneself, in the vein of Pema Chödrön and similar philosophers. Much to my surprise, such self-care doesn’t fly with everyone. Some people invested in hating themselves as a twisted version of responsibility.
To those trapped in self-loathing creativity, let me suggest another tact. You’re not worth hating.
Are you blessed with a great destiny that you’ve failed to reach? If you were failing your great mandated fate, maybe you’d be worth some anger. But you’re just a person, so why waste time hating on yourself?
Are you a person of fantastic talent unmatched in history, a skill that will define the future of all humanity? It’d be nice, but in reality, you’re someone trying to do the best they can and trying to grow. So if you fail now and then, it’s just being human, so why burn cycles despising yourself?
Are your works epics that the world has to experience lest it is forever impoverished? Probably not; you’re just another person trying to do what they like and contribute. Epics are declared such in hindsight. So since you’re not supposed to make The Greatest Work Ever, are you worth your own contempt?
Guess what? You’re not worth your own hatred! You’re just a person, just like me, your friends, and so on. You’re not worth the time you take to be angry at yourself.
So let’s all go forward, we legion of screw-ups, weirdoes, and flawed humans. Let’s stop wasting time hating ourselves. If anything, wasting time hating ourselves is another one of our mistakes.
Maybe then we can find some compassion for ourselves when we’re not busy being disappointed in who we are.