Recently I was able to show my artwork at a local gallery space in a lovely community hub, I was so excited and so pleased to have my work reach a new audience, and proud to see my illustrations on display - but part of me was also really nervous and the insecurities came thick and fast.
What if nobody comes along?
What if it’s not well received?
Am I good enough?
What if people think I don’t have the credentials to discuss mental well-being?
I am a fraud and everyone’s will find out that I don’t deserve this attention / praise / exposure!
As sod’s law would have it, the same day of my gallery launch, I received a snarky comment in my Instagram DMs, derisive of my artwork and questioning my integrity regarding promoting positive mental health. Instead of writing it off as insignificant, the words snuck into my brain and took root. The negative thoughts sprouting and growing.
I didn’t feel confident at the gallery launch despite a great show of support and healthy turn out. I was anxious afterwards and ultimately a bit down in the dumps for the rest of the week as imposter syndrome did it’s best to rattle me.
It was only when I discussed my thoughts aloud with Jon that I was able to reframe the negativity.
My illustrations are shown because they are good enough to display.
People are interested by and supportive of my work and the themes they cover.
Everything I illustrate comes from a genuine place of lived experience or the experiences of the people closest to me.
I deserve the positivity that comes my way - it’s not luck that determines any success, I’ve worked hard for it!
I AM ENOUGH!
It also helped when I looked at the facts, that one not-so-great message was a single DM in a sea of positivity. Lots of people are lovely enough to take time to message me to let me know how my illustrations make a difference to their days; how they help through the hard times and brighten up their feeds. Jon suggested I print out all the lovely comments and keep them somewhere I can see them for the days I don’t believe in myself enough and I think I’ll do just that.
Self belief can be so tricky - but if, like me, you’re feeling impostery here are some ways to get back on track:
Look at the facts. Write them down, say them aloud.
Seek reassurance from people you trust.
Keep a record of praise, positivity and things you’ve done well.
Practice saying and thinking positive things about yourself
Don’t compare yourself to anyone else
This isn’t a foolproof plan for eliminating self-doubt but it’s a good start for helping focus when the negative thoughts creep in!
(We’ve got this!)