Learning that only you can create happiness for yourself through contentment in a situation is a hard lesson to learn at times. It’s very easy to compare what’s going on with others around you and feel dissatisfied at their apparent successes. Lately I’ve had some of the happiest and most stressful moments of my life, all combined together. The arrival of our little girl has brought more joy to our lives than we could possibly imagine, and along with it some of the most stressful moments as new parents than we could ever be prepared for. And then, this year – we’re having to rethink many things we thought we knew about our business and the wedding industry – which is constantly changing. The photography industry is going through one of it’s fluctuations this year, and many photographers nationwide are anxious about it everywhere.
Do the things that bring you joy …
Regardless of bookings or client work – the thing that I’ve found so important in my life as a creative is that I have to be doing the things that make me happy. Shooting film makes me happy. Seeing beautiful and organic inspiration around me. Being out in nature. Listening to beautiful and emotional music. Spending time with my family. Being at the coast. These all feed my soul and inspire me. Creating beautiful art is my passion .. and I’m on a never ending quest to better what I do.
Artists often don’t get the approval of others …
We live in such an online-approval driven world right now, and it’s easy to quickly see what appears to be successes of others around on on Facebook or whatever social media you happen to be on at the moment – that it’s easy to forget that creative success is not always measured by other people’s approval. You might appear successful to others, but in reality be struggling in every way possible. Great artists throughout history were often rejected by their peers or people who viewed their work. Monet received almost nothing but criticism from the public and his peers, who said his work was “formless, unfinished, and ugly”. Van Gogh’s life was filled with tragedy and hardships, and he only sold one painting in his entire lifetime. Because Vermeer catered largely to the middle class in his paintings – he never made a lot of money, leaving his family in debt upon his death.
All of these people are now regarded as masters in their field. They were all doing what they loved, regardless of public opinion. And they loved what they did.
Can you imagine how you would feel if someone criticized your work on Facebook today as being ‘formless, unfinished, and ugly’? Do you think you’d stop and reevaluate your entire business model and style? Or do you love what you do enough that it doesn’t matter how people perceive it – the joy it brings you is enough?
Regardless of whether or not it pays the bills, you have to do what you love …
Some might argue that sometimes you need to do work that you don’t enjoy in order to pay the bills as well, and that’s true. But you shouldn’t spend your entire life doing something that is unsatisfying or stressful just in the name of making money. It’s not healthy, and at the end of your life you’ll look back and wish you had done more. A huge part of our success in years of self employment has relied a LOT on our faith in God to provide what we need, exactly when we need it. He’s always been faithful .. and our challenge has been to be faithful with what he gives us to manage. He never gives us more than we can handle, and always what we need at the right time.
“That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing?” – Matthew 6:25
Today – this is what is making me happy :) xoxo