The Art of High-jacking the Counterfeit High of others opinions. by River Bennett

River Bennett (Photographer Rahkela)


Have you ever had an absence of encouragement to something you have worked really hard to create?
Has there ever been a time when all you have waited for was a response, an approval from someone, anyone, that confirmed you were on the right track? That what you spent heart and soul on counted? That it mattered to them? Or that it mattered to at least somebody on the planet?

When this absence of encouragement happens, humiliation's power can hover, then make its way into our mind and down into our heart. 
"Where did I go wrong?" we quiz ourselves. 

The problem is we have banked our success on what others have thought about our craft. We rely on their praise to build our confidence, which in reality produces a 'counterfeit high'. And in turn, we make a false connection that what they think about our craft must be what they think about us. 

Later in the day we may tend to feel irritated and annoyed at ourselves. Let's be honest, to put our craft out into the world takes guts and shows true vulnerability.
Maybe Rebellion starts to speak in a superficial way.
Some may fantasise about finding ways we can "show them how wrong they were for not taking any notice."
Then Doubt begins to speak in a soft, seductive way and tells us that our craft actually does suck. And that we should stay silent. That we should not go on. Putting ourselves out there is a bad choice. Because no one likes it, or you. Because no one ever commented or gave us any praise.

Sheesh. Sounds intense. And immature when you read it out loud.  But is this our reality at times? 

So what if we didn't care what others said? Or thought? 
What if we decided that our seeking praise reflected an amateur way of thinking?
What if we silenced that game of "success and failure" determined by someone else's words or response?

What if we began to think like a professional? Like Woody Allen who took the phone off the hook on Oscar night. He went to bed early and discovered he had won an Oscar the following day, in the paper as he sat down for his coffee and toast. He then headed off to work as usual. 

He wasn't fazed by what people labeled his craft to be. He was simply doing what he loved to do - regardless of encouragement or criticism.  Head down. Focused on the end goal. Focused on what he knew to do. 

Sometimes we need to high-jack the counterfeit high that approval brings so see that we are no longer artists whose craft is just part-time. 

Let's start to see our art as our success and joy, that we are professionals, that our sense of worth doesn't come from someone else's compliment or criticism or even silence. Rather our approval comes from the pure joy of doing what we believe we are on the planet to do.