Reflections

What Was I So Worried About?

It’s hard to believe I took this photo over a decade ago in Bruges, Belgium.

In 2008, I agonized about sharing this photo for days. I edited, fretted, edited some more – repeat. Once I finally shared it, I clicked refresh over and over again and relied on the validation that came with every like.

I look at this photo today and have no idea what I was so worried about.

We hear the cliché, “it’s all about the journey,” often. But it forgets to tells us that we can’t see the journey we’re on while we’re on it. It’s only while looking back that we can make sense of it all.

My decade of on-and-off photography hasn’t been smooth. I stressed over details that now seem trivial. I was looking for it to become “something” without understanding what that meant. I was too focused on the opinions of others which is why it was never sustainable.

Looking back, I see I experienced the most growth when I shared photos I liked without worrying about the opinions of others. One of my favorite photos is also the one that got the least amount of attention. It doesn’t mean that it’s less “good” to me.

Sharing photos got easier as I shifted my attention towards myself. It became less about making photos that other people liked and more about my own exploration. I found things like spiderwebs, the spots on burnet moths, and the hint of purple through a blooming agapanthus. It was these discoveries I loved. Sharing them became secondary to that.

We worry about criticism and judgment from others. We feel like imposters, compare ourselves with others, or we feel like we don’t have the right do things. Do you really think that someone is “out there” is waiting for you to share something just to tell you it’s horrible? It’s possible, but we can’t do anything worth doing while pleasing everyone.

If we get out of our heads, we can remember that it’s the act of making something that’s enjoyable. You have the right to create something and share it. It’s your own inhibitions that tell you otherwise.

So if you’re thinking about sharing your photo, article, poem, drawing or another creative endeavour, just do it. Not to get validation or approval, but because it’s something you enjoy.

It might not perfect. But sometime in the future, you’ll look back at this moment and think, “What was I so worried about?”

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