Two insufferable companions nip at my heels. Although they handicap me, I've grown so accustomed to their presence that I tend to forget that they're around. I accept them as a way of life, and it's not until their destructive influence surfaces that I fully acknowledge them. These two spirits that infiltrate my thoughts and stifle my creativity are called Pride and Envy.
Pride & Envy
It's naive to think that we can create without discipline or mentorship. Somewhere along they way, we've bought into the idea that we can be awesome at things while putting in minimal effort and training. This mindset is partially due to the influx of overnight sensations that have sprung up via social media and reality television.
While prodigies do exist, most of us have to work at our craft. Like good wine that sits and improves with age, our talent needs time to be practiced, cultivated, and refined.
Not only do we think that we're the exception to the creative rule, but we carry bitterness when others succeed at something we want. Instead of utilizing that inspiration to fuel our own skill, we feel sorry for ourselves and pout in a dark corner of envy.
At times I avoid reading great books and intriguing blogs because I'm intimidated by the brilliance of certain authors. When I read their work, I feel insecure, like I don't measure up. I compare myself, and I become dissatisfied with where I'm at in the creative process.
When I admit this, it sounds ridiculous. How can I expect to be a better writer if I don't read? While it makes no sense, this is how we act when we are insecure. We avoid. We hide.
The sad truth is that pride and envy prevent us from encouraging others in their creative journey. When I run away from the gift of an accomplished speaker, singer, teacher, or writer, I rob myself. I miss out on new ideas and inspiring creations.
When I refuse to affirm another's gifting, I steal their blessing. I withhold love by remaining silent or by criticizing. It's as if I'm carrying around an emotional backpack of blessings that don't belong to me. Ironically, this brings me heaviness rather than comfort.
The great news is that it's never too late to release blessing. Whether you admire a musician, a writer, or a marathon runner - whatever skill they have that you want - you can encourage them today.
What would happen if I replaced Pride and Envy with Humility and Blessing? I would definitely read more. I would write more. What would you do?