I told him that deep down, they know how low their skills are in comparison with their peers, so when they receive constructive criticism, it causes that feeling to surface, which is uncomfortable. I knew this from experience.
In my high school art classes, we critiqued each classmate's piece every week. Learning how to give and receive honest constructive feedback was one of the greatest skills I learned from art. I never took any of the critiques personally because I knew I was a skilled artist; however, when I began seriously pursuing music, my relationship with criticism changed. I knew exactly where my musical skills were on the spectrum of musicians, and I didn't like it.
I knew that i wasn't advanced enough, relaxed enough, hadn't been playing long enough, my aural skills weren't good enough, my hands were not big enough for my instrument--I was not enough and I believed it to my core. Every critique felt like rubbing sandpaper on on open wound.
As I walked home after my conversation with my friend, I began asking myself if I still had that problem. I don't have as much trouble handling feedback now, but I realized I have something else: fear. Most of my current goals require me to take risks and put myself out there. They require internal motivation. I realized that my fear keeps me from actually creating art because I feel that it won't be good enough. I was in the middle of writing my screenplay and then I stopped because I was stumped and dismayed that it wasn't as good as it had been when it was a vague nebulous in my mind. Naomi and I stopped filming videos for a while because we felt we didn't have solid material or filming skills. My fear of seeming inept is keeping me from my potential.
I wasn't always this way though; when I was on the scholar's bowl team, I would buzz in early all the time and answer the questions before the person was even finished reading them. It was a risk, but I believed that although I might get it wrong, the majority of the time I would be right. I remember one round I scored 90 of our 120 or 150 points (I don't remember the exact number). In class, I am always willing to raise my hand and try answering a question, even if it is a guess, because I believe I am smart, and if I am wrong sometimes, it is okay. I will still have the same intelligence level.
Sometimes it's more important to participate than to be right; you never get anywhere unless you take calculated risks. I've decided I want to learn how to do that again, so I am focusing on believing that I am good enough to be successful.
The other night, I was lying in bed and I started thinking about the things that scare me. As each example came to mind, I concentrated on it and told myself that I was good enough (out loud-- which felt about as weird as it sounds). The mantra ran through my head the entirety of the next day.
I am enough, and so are you. You are attractive enough to start a new relationship, smart enough to ace that test, resilient and brave enough to take risks, powerful enough to make a difference--you are enough.
Don't forget it.