Back in December of 2017, I was gathering courage to start my pattern business. I was beginning to seek out inspiring voices and ideas. Books and profiles of people who said, “You just have to try,” and “you’ll definitely fail if you never start.” I was told I should read Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert and I chose to listen to the audio book. I'm so glad I did. In her book Gilbert introduces the idea of questioning your fears. While I listen to her rattled off a long list of fears I felt myself respond to each one, ‘yeah I’m afraid of that and that and THAT.’ She challenges her readers to question each fear, to turn them over in the mind to see if they’re logical. It seemed to me that if I could objectively look at each thing I'm afraid of maybe I could prove to myself, at least for that moment, that the fear doesn't actually make sense. Today I’ve picked one of those fears, fear of being unoriginal, and done just that. I came up with a personal argument against it with idea that articulating it for myself, out of my own head, could help me remember it the next time it creeps back in (I'm sure it will). The argument is as follows:
My fear that everything has been done before or that I can’t come up with anything original to create could prove false by acknowledging that there could still be people out there who haven’t seen IT or who do not know what I have to offer. With such a large population of uniquely minded people I can’t possible claim that everything has been done, that everyone has seen it all. I get inspired and see new approaches to things in my life all the time for the simple reason that they are new to me. So its possible that my creative ideas will be, seem, and feel new to someone just as they might not to another.
Also, the same idea coming from multiple people around the same time can form a ‘collective idea.’ These ideas can speak louder, can amplify something or can remind us of the things that really spoke to us at some point in the past. In our distracting world, in our distracted minds, we might need to hear or see something many times to get and feel the full impact. Even the point of this argument has been stated before, shouted from rooftops maybe even. How many times does it need to be said to be truly heard? Probably as many times as fearful thoughts enter our minds. We don’t always know when we need to hear something again, that’s how insidious fear can be.
So often an outside voice reminds me of what I thought I believed but haven’t been acting on. Until I am able to fight the negative stories, spirits, voices, or ideas of fear on my own day to day, I look to others for reminders, guidance, encouragement and inspiration.
It may all have been done before, but even if it has does that matter?
As I publish patterns and start my website and blog, the faster the fear-based and anxious stories rush at me. I know that reminding myself of more realistic, logical versions of the these stories can be a huge relief. The fear I addressed above has been at me a lot in the last month. So I still need to reread my own ‘wise’ words to keep the fears in their rightful place. Not in the foreground, keeping me from making progress, but nicely in the backseat. There they can quietly remind me that I don’t know what the future holds. Then I can turn my head, just slightly, and remind those fears, ‘that’s how it always is and I can't change that.’