Are you paralyzed by self-doubt as a photographer?

Have you ever stopped sharing your photos, promoting an idea or displaying your art? How many times have you let impostor syndrome hold you back?

Impostor syndrome is the feeling or experience of thinking that you or your business may not be good enough. It is this reluctance that you often encounter when presenting your work or even introducing yourself. Often this comes from a lack of self-confidence or simply a fear of making a mistake. The experience has been called “impostor syndrome” because the feeling stems from the fear of being detected as a fraud: someone who only pretends to be good at something but does not deserve respect or rewards or simply does not deserve to be called an artist.

1. Impostor syndrome happens to everyone

The first thing you should know is that this happens to everyone. Impostor syndrome is very common among creators and artists from various fields. Painters, actors, musicians, dancers, and even photographers suffer from impostor syndrome. In fact, it is not limited to artists at all. Technically, anyone can experience this out of lack of confidence and lack of self-confidence. The difference is that everyone experiences impostor syndrome in different ways and to varying lengths, and in the same way, we all deal with it differently.

Impostor syndrome can strike anywhere and everywhere. This usually happens during the creative process and when we are about to showcase, exhibit or publish our work. However, it can also happen in completely unexpected places during unexpected times. Since you are admittedly passionate about the things you create and think about anywhere, that means that your fears, anxieties, and doubts can also arise at any time.

2. Impostor syndrome is completely normal

Self-doubt and second-guessing of our work stem from things that are part of human nature as well as aspects of our nature as artists. Curiosity usually fuels our creativity by giving us ideas of what to create next and naturally, it follows the desire to be better at what we do. Many people suffer from impostor syndrome when they look at other people’s work and compare their own. While it’s always best to take inspiration from the artists we look up to, it’s perfectly normal to compare and even feel a bit of envy. When we compare ourselves to others and their work, we fail to consider the unseen struggles behind their masterpieces. In the same way that portfolios, galleries, and even Instagram feeds are curated, for the most part, we also don’t see the struggle behind the successful artist who would have been more relevant to us in the first place.

3. You can’t please everyone (and you shouldn’t try to)

It is important to understand and accept that different people have different tastes in art. In the same way that some people don’t like certain cuisines, you can’t literally expect everyone to be in awe of what you make. Different people live different lives and ultimately form different opinions. What matters is that you are able to identify the people who connect with the work you do and the art you do.

You will definitely be criticized. This is another fact that every artist must always accept. People who view our photos always form an opinion, and many people like to express their opinion. There are people who give constructive criticism because they mean well and want you to be a better artist, while there are also people who just want to put people down to make themselves feel better about their shortcomings. It’s important to differentiate between them so you can take the lessons you need to learn and identify the things you need to work on while you put yourself down and filter out the noise.

Remember, it’s better to focus on the quality of the connection your art makes with the people viewing it, rather than the number of people who glance and double-click.

On the other side of the table, it’s also important to keep this fact in mind when talking about your opinion about other artists or their work. Remember to validate your opinion about whether it applies. Sometimes, we tend to impose our personal taste or style on others so much that we express our dislike. Remember that what you do and say to a creative fellow can have a powerful effect on him, and you wouldn’t want to be a reason to give in to someone else. Constructive criticism can go a long way.

4. Impostor syndrome can be healthy and help you grow

Experiencing impostor syndrome can be distressing. In fact, pain and impostor syndrome can be very similar in the effect they have. While most of us are afraid of feeling pain, it would be much worse if we didn’t feel pain at all. Pain is a warning sign that can often prevent us from doing harmful things or, at least, help us determine that something is wrong.

Impostor syndrome works the same way. The self-doubt you experience often reminds you to be more thorough about the intricate details of your art. Often second guessing yourself gives you a heads up that there might be something to improve. As long as you don’t let the experience of Impostor Syndrome paralyze you and keep you from moving forward, it can be perfectly healthy for you as an artist and can even help you grow.

5. Perfection can be a prison

The only situation where Impostor Syndrome can be harmful is when we allow it to imprison us. In general, it happens when we strive so much for perfection in our work that we end up throwing things away when we can’t achieve them. There is absolutely nothing wrong with striving for perfection in our work as artists, but it is important to accept, especially when you have recently started learning or trying, that imperfection is part of the journey. Most of the best things in the world take a while to be built, and that also includes the artists we admire. Being an artist is a continuous cycle of trying and failing, learning and succeeding, passion and persistence make us.

As important as it is to identify our flaws and strive for improvement, it is also important to celebrate our gains amidst losses. For every failure, a consolation prize in the form of lessons will help you increase your chances of success in the future. The important thing is not to let a single loss or flaw keep you constantly frustrated.

Every day, millions of people suffer from Impostor Syndrome due to our natural tendency to compare and aspire. Self-doubt comes from the wisdom of anticipating challenges in order to better overcome them. While experiencing Impostor Syndrome will never be anything fun, it’s almost certain that when you look back at the challenges you’ve faced as an artist, all the growth you’ve experienced as a creator, and all the personal gains you’ve made as a photographer, you’ve driven those brief moments of doubt and hesitation and will continue to Pushing you forward somehow.