I like to think I am an optimistic and positive person. I am lucky to not have many depressing thoughts or times that are that low. Still, I am vulnerable to feeling like I am just not good enough or like I have failed miserably.
I know it isn’t just me either as photographers that I respect speak on this subject. It is important to show that we all feel like this though, to have unity when times are difficult. Whether it is a bad weekend of sales at an art festival or an outing you get skunked on. There is almost always some kind of silver lining to find.
It is natural to feel down sometimes. Even when things haven’t gotten worse and you feel like your skills are on a plateau, the feeling of being inadequate will push you forward. You can use it to springboard up to the next level, having the motivation to improve! The artistic drive for perfection is what makes many of the greatest photographers so talented.
There are those times where something does go wrong and it isn’t immediately obvious why. I recently had an art festival where I failed to sell anything. I stood there for hours in the heat wondering what had gone wrong. I was offering a product that sold well two years prior! After some reflecting, it became clear to me the reasons why and I was able to use it as a learning experience. Don’t let failure get to you forever and use it as a way to learn and grow from the experience. You won’t make the same mistakes twice if they hurt!
Lastly, you can’t compare yourself to others all the time. I will catch myself staring down the pinnacle of the art, whether it is a photo or the photographer thinking about how I am going to get there. It isn’t healthy to always be focused on the peak of success without appreciating how far you have come. You might not ever be “the best” out there so take time occasionally to toast to the journey so far. You deserve it!