Art, in its various forms, has the power to inspire hope, to challenge popular thinking, and to thrill the human mind through unique and creative expression. Yet, when art is “generic” or copied, we often describe it as lacking in substance, authenticity, and beauty.
In case you didn’t realize it, each one of us is an artist, with the story of our lives serving as the canvas. We’re all telling a story, we’re all creating experiences with those around us, and we’re all making an impact on the future generations through the choices we make today.
And we all, as artists in the human story, share one common debilitating factor: insecurity.
Over the years, I’ve gradually come to terms that the battle with insecurity is one that will always confront a creative mind, regardless of how mentally strong the individual may be. Artists are constantly creating and “living” their work, knowing that it will later be observed, digested, and critiqued by the public audience. The temptation for an artist to copy peers who have achieved a degree of “success” is often the fallback for many a creative mind fighting with insecurity.
The same could be said of our individual lives, whether it is mirroring a peer at work, copying friends who appear to have it all together, and comparing our material worth to our respective communities. Popular culture has convinced us that in order to be happy and successful we must mirror what our culture considers to be a “successful” individual.
Thankfully, we have the choice to reclaim our God-given uniqueness and to be creative in our own distinct voice.
Throughout my acting pursuits I have constantly struggled with mirroring others, comparing myself to another actor’s success, and questioning the quality of my work with very little grace. And don’t get me wrong, it is absolutely necessary to learn from the best in your respective field, to set high standards for yourself, and to take no shortcuts in life. But ultimately, when we are willing to accept our best work with all its blemishes and flaws, that is where the true magic often happens.
I’ve increasingly become more aware of the insecurities that have often robbed me of my best work, my most meaningful expressions, and my originality, whether that is in every day life or my creative endeavors. The choice is ultimately in my hands: do I embrace the insecurity, or do I create my best work in the voice God has given me?
In the end, we all face a choice: who are we going to be in our vocations, in our art, in our relationships, and in our character? Are we making choices that minimize us to clones, or are we offering something to the world that is refreshing and inspiring, an original work of art?
Questions For Conversation:
- What insecurities often hold you back from giving your best work?
- In what way can you inspire someone else through a creative, artistic, and loving act?
- What legacy would you like to leave with your life’s work?