In my email in-box this morning, I received a special surprise. It was an email from myself that I wrote six months ago. I seem to remember some online seminar or tutorial I took that suggested using FutureMe.org to email your future self. Apparently, I took them up on that suggestion. I wish I could remember who the instructor, or course, was that suggested this, because BOY! did it have an impact on me. While I cannot check off one single goal I listed (because all the goals I listed are still a work in progress), it was still so profoundly encouraging. Instead of feeling bad or beating myself up with negative “self-talk” (come on, we all do it), the last paragraph was written as if someone (not me) was talking to, and encouraging, a very dear friend. And, that’s what it did. It encourages me to keep working so I do NOT let the “writer” down. Here are the last few sentences that make me question if I REALLY wrote this to MYSELF?
I know you are all set to tackle new goals and be YOUR best. Stop comparing yourself and your work to others. No one is like you. No one has traveled your path. No one sees things just like you. It is time to share it with the world.
This email came at exactly the time I needed this encouragement. I have been trying to navigate goals, strategies, what I want to do with my art, what am I saying with my art, what is the purpose, is my work adding value, what do I share, where do I share it… Sometimes it is a very solitary journey I travel. At times, it is an overwhelming journey that paralyzes me with indecision. And, then something makes me take another step.
I have been repeatedly told not to rely on your family and friends to evaluate your art. This makes me laugh. What is the definition of family or friends for that matter? For example: at the last gallery show my work was accepted, I felt awkward and uncomfortable because I did not know anyone at the opening reception. I started talking to a woman I have never seen before. A woman I have never seen since either. Her nephew had work selected for the show, but he was stationed abroad and could not make it to the opening reception. So, she drove a goodly distance, on a rainy night, to support him in his absence. She also kindly offered to take a picture of me, for me, so I too could remember the evening. All I know, if there are people who enter your life and help you; be it your online seminar instructor, your new neighbor, your friend of 30+ years, some generous, supportive stranger at an art opening, the person who takes the time to read my newsletter, or comment on a post… how are they not my family? Do they even know that they are doing the deeds of angels unaware? They humble me. They honor me. They encourage me. And, they show up just as I’m ready to admit defeat. This, my large, supportive, family, is my way of saying thank you. I encourage you to write an email to your future self. But, you MUST be as kind, generous, and supportive as if you were writing it to a very dear friend.