Eight days later, I started an Introduction to Photography class. In the post I wrote about it, you can read my nervousness and lack of confidence in every line. What do I have to offer? Won't everyone else be better than I? What if they laugh at me? What if I can't do it? Am I too old to learn new tricks? What on earth makes me think I can be creative?
A little voice in my head still wonders those things, but my confidence in myself and my work has grown. It grows every day. Strangers read my blog, and I invite them to do so. I've joined online photography communities and put my work there for others to see. I've even taken family photos for friends (and was delighted to see them return to me on holiday cards).
Positive comments help my confidence, especially if from an artist whose work I admire. But those comments are not the reason for my growing confidence. My confidence grows as my ability grows.
Every day, I read words written by better writers than I and view photos by better photographers. Rather than beat myself up because my work doesn't measure up, I watch and learn. I'm inspired. I keep writing, I keep taking photos, and I keep editing it all.
I show up and do the work because it's important to me. I keep at it. I plug away. I read articles, take classes, and ask questions. Lots of questions. I'm so excited for the opportunity to gain more knowledge that I've stopped being afraid I'll look stupid.
Confidence building is hard work. Compliments alone won't do it because I have my own standards. I always know that there is so much more to know, and that creates self-doubt. So I keep showing up. I show up to do the work of learning. The more I learn, the more I'll know. To paraphrase Dr. Seuss, just think of the places I'll go.
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It's writing prompt day in my group of bloggers, and the question was: "What's growing in your life now?" See if others took this literally or figuratively by heading to Centering Down. Follow the blue frog icon at the bottom of that post to follow links to other writing prompt posts.