I’ve had a bit of a wake up call, a reminder of sorts, if you will. A friend went through something extremely difficult and I was fortunate that I could be by her side. It meant taking time away from my creative goals and dreams, but as we all know when a loved one needs your help, priorities change and you do what you can to help. There’s no contest between the safety and health of people important to your life and anything career-based. That’s what you do for people you love and care about. But what I was actually reminded of most throughout this is the following: it is in times of difficulty that you see the measure of a person.
One individual approached me in the midst of all the drama and said it’s great you can help out because I work. I stood there. Dumbfounded. Despite conversations about me building a business, and trying to take stress off of my spouse and his stressful job by also doing most, if not all, house stuff, this person made it quite clear how he valued his time. He valued his own time way above and beyond my time. It gave me a small glimpse into the world of judgement housewives face today when they make the choice “not to work,” and I can tell you, I didn’t like it. (And I can assure you from first hand experience of having a mother who raised children in her house for 37 years there is nothing easy about being a housewife). I was so beyond angry when I heard this I was speechless, and my face hardened. He looked at me again and said well, I guess you have things to do too, don’t you?
It has been a long time since someone has said something directly to me that has made me feel belittled. It was more than clear to me in that moment just what that person sees in my choice to not be working a “real” job. Because I’m building my own hours and trying to build an online business, my time is worth less than his. I wanted to drop a bunch of expletives on the man, and maybe even a punch. Instead, my introverted self had an imaginary go at him. I walked away after his feeble attempt to cover up his true opinion of my life choices. I ignored him as he awkwardly left.
This week has made me proud of my values and my family. They raised me to be loyal and give to my loved ones. And I do. And I’m always so grateful for being available to help loved ones in my life when they are struggling. I will give and give and give some more to people I care about. Yet, it reminded me that making the choice to be an entrepreneur, or an artist, or have an online business… any choice that other people feel is too high risk to take, will be undermined or undervalued by naysayers. Often it is those people that need to hear this message the most. I’m positive they are blocked creatives jealous of the choices I’ve made or missing their own “what ifs.” I’ve been so fortunate to be around people who support my goals and dreams. I can’t begin to tell you how fortunate I feel to have a husband and extended family that is so loving and supportive of my dreams and goals. It helps me face moments of sadness where someone is clearly unhappy and they are taking it out on me.
I’m going to do my best to withhold judgement of people. I can’t say I’m great at it, but I am conscious of it and trying. And I’m sure the person who threw this barb at me didn’t really think about what they were saying, were stressed from the experience of a shared loved one in distress, and maybe they even just misspoke. Once I’ve acknowledged my anger and moved on (and gotten some sleep!) I’ll do my damnedest to forgive and forget. Who does it help to stay angry? I’m going to use his naysaying as additional fodder to strengthen my resolve. My resolve is stronger for every naysayer I face and ignore. I’m following my calling, and I’ve never been happier.
It is true that in times of difficulty that you see the measure of a person. The bravery my friend showed as she struggled is something I will always remember and be honored to know about her. I’m damn proud of the people I have by my side. Who do you think will help you when things are tough? Who do you think will help you as you struggle towards your creative goals and dreams? Trust me, if you don’t value yourself, your goals, and your time, the naysayers in your life will certainly see no reason to value them either.
BE COURAGEOUSLY CREATIVE: Consider devising a strategy to deal with the naysayers in your life. Do you want your art or someone in your life who brings you away from your creative dreams? Perhaps avoid interaction. Impossible? Construct an easy phrase to use as a ready response when you hear their barbs, or make a conscious choice to identify the persons and ignore their words. You, and we, deserve your dreams.
Free Art Challenge: Create an Original Artwork in 10 Days
Play with me in the Soulbrush Sessions: ten days of creative prompts that guide you to your unique artist voice.
It's an experience that shows you something deep down you already know: you’ve always been an artist. Unleash your inner artist --> get stARTed today!
(Enjoy this free bonus when you sign up for Artist Strong's weekly newsletter.)
We honor your privacy - read more here.