Success is scary. I recognize that I am capable beyond measure of making a change and leaving a footprint behind on this world that might actually matter. If I put my full energy into being everything that I imagine, everything that I want, everything that I was born to be – I would achieve some really excellent things!
So why is that terrifying?
Because, as it was so graciously put by Ben Parker, Spiderman’s late uncle, “With great power, comes great responsibility.” Replace POWER with SUCCESS and the rule still stands. When you succeed, you are responsible for the impact you’ve made. And still, why would I be afraid to be responsible for something excellent?
Because unfortunately, when you create something extraordinary, you’re also responsible for your failures; any negative side affects. You’re responsible for maintaining this great thing that you’ve created, and you’re responsible for the impact it has on the world – and most people are too afraid to take on that kind of responsibility.
Plain and simple – people don’t want the responsibility. They want to coast through life with everything out of their hands, otherwise handed to them by someone else.
In our society today, we create entire contracts designed to skate around having responsibility. We want to keep ourselves protected at all costs; “that’s not my fault.”
We would LOVE to be famous rappers and movie stars; we want to write books, we want to produce films, design new cars, open new restaurants, and sit in the CEO’s corner office, making all of the big decisions.
But what happens when a massive group of people attack our song or movie for being politically incorrect? What happens when the design of your car means faulty brake wiring and the deaths of thousands; or when millions get food poisoning from your fresh, never frozen, non-GMO chicken tenders? Most people don’t want that kind of responsibility.
Accepting responsibility and blame when things go wrong is daunting. It feels like the whole world, or the whole company or city, is looking right at you. Looking at you to make it right again, to fix it, to explain.
And so most people never leap. Or they self-sabotage at every turn because actually succeeding is too much to handle. Actually succeeding means pushing yourself into new territory. Aside from the fact that it means taking responsibility when you get there, it also means getting out of your comfort zone and figuring it out for yourself as you go, in order to get there in the first place.
And for most people, that’s just too much. Who wants to get uncomfortable? Face their demons? Figure out who they are and what they want and act on that? Everyone says they do, but when it comes time to do the work people shake their heads and say, “there must be another way.”
I’m here to tell you my friends – there is no other way.
I used to be afraid. I used to make all of the excuses, and sometimes I still find myself making excuses, “there must be another way.” But now, having taken a few initial steps, I always come back to same conclusion: the reality of HOW you get there, wherever there is for you, is ACTION.
And action takes a lot of love.
Love for the thing you’re chasing, love for yourself and love for the people you plan on serving with the thing you’re chasing.
You have to love yourself enough to go after what you REALLY truly want, without being afraid of the the failures you’ll encounter along the way, and the responsibilities you will face at the end. Embrace the journey. Embrace yourself.
Because you are absolutely worth it. All of you.
And I know that’s hard to believe sometimes. I still have days where I struggle with this fact – I AM WORTHY OF MY DREAMS. Say it with me:
However, when we lead our lives with fear in the place where love should be, we not only hold ourselves back from greatness, but we hold ourselves back even from okayness; and most importantly, we hold ourselves back from truly BEING ourselves.
When we’re afraid, we resist; when we resist, we don’t change; if we don’t change, we fall behind – far behind. Whether it be in your own life, or in society as a whole.
I must stress though, there is plenty of gray area between LOVE and FEAR. There is not simply good and bad, right and wrong; the world is not only black and white – there are areas and shades of gray all over the place.
But when it comes to following your heart, leading life for yourself, by your rules, and looking to yourself for validation and a sense of self-worth – you can choose love, or you can choose fear. You can choose to accept yourself, your feelings, and all of the things that have happened to you and decide to embrace it, and press on; or you can resist these things, and run from them, and seek solace in things that could be bad for your health.
Surprisingly enough, MANY people choose the latter. For the longest time, I chose the latter. Until one day, enough was literally e-f**king-nough.
In that gray area, there can be many things you think are preventing you from choosing love.
Growing up I struggled to have a relationship with my mother. I struggled with being chubby and I struggled with being “weird” and not fitting the mold. Those feelings of invalidation and worthlessness translated well into my adult life and made it very difficult for me to see that I could have a life where I choose to acknowledge my past without letting it suffocate me.
But again, getting to that place takes a lot of hard, internal work, and self-exploration for which so many people aren’t ready. And if you’re not ready, that’s ok! But remember…
So why am I talking about this? Why is this conversation so important that I’m discussing it on my art blog?
Because if you’ve read my mission, you’ll know, that in addition to being passionate about art and the power is has, I am also passionate about mental health, self-love and self-awareness.
Not only do I want to give you the tools and resources to develop a consistent studio practice and have fun making art work, but I want to encourage you to work from a place of intention, and in order to do so, you must explore the inner workings of your mind.
Art is a vehicle for change. I use art as a way to filter through my thoughts and feelings and experiences; as a way to process the world around me, the life I’m leading; the input and output we’ve discussed before.
In doing so, I explore the internal world that Leah Suzette Noumoff.
This is me encouraging you to do the same. Or to at least try it.
Settle into a quiet space, close your eyes, and listen.
What comes up for you?
I can assure you, if you have any demons in your past, they will likely come to you in this moment, and attempt to scare you away. Don’t let them. Dance with them. Show them that you have a LIGHT that their darkness cannot vanquish.
And then pour out the things you find there into the next thing that you create – be that a painting, a rap, a novel, a website, a meal… Process.
This level of self-awareness is so crucial to cultivating happiness; to healing. Having a deeper understanding of who you are and what you want, having that sense of clarity, will lend itself to managing your feelings and emotions when they come to – so instead of running, you can face them. You can say, “I see you. I feel you. What are you here to teach me?” And then, you can move forward.
Then, when you look back, you will have understanding. And when you look forward, you won’t be afraid of what waits for you there. You can be self-aware and your validation and sense of worth will come from within, and you own light will guide you onward.
Which is all most of us really want anyway.
With so much love & light my friends,