Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Knowing What's Important in My World

Many of my regular readers know that I've struggled with finding my place in the beading world.  I'm always amazed at the beauty around me when I visit other web sites and blogs, and as I don't have a creative background and came into the beading world later in life, I often feel like the last guest to the party.

card by Quirky n' Berkeley
I keep mentally banging my head against the wall because this is just self-destructive behavior.  I've been in magazines, my work sells well, and I will be writing a book.  Yet I still find myself doubting my worth.  But after long conversations with two wonderful friends, I've come to some realizations about what's Important in My Life.

"Rock My World" by Queen of Arts Studio
Previously, I've let the wrong people influence how I feel about myself and my work.  What a backwards way to go about things!  Doesn't it make more sense to focus on the people who matter?  My customers matter!  My family matters!  My friends matter!  You, my readers, matter!  I'm therefore making an effort to turn my head the right way around, and instead of seeking validation from the wrong directions, seek it from within.  

"Look Within" by The Wheatfield
All I've ever wanted is for people to like me.  But not everyone is going to like me.  I get that now.  I've had my share of hate mail and I've been snubbed by some, too.  I've been teaching my child to just stay away from kids who don't know how to play nice, and I'm going to start taking my own advice.  

It's time to put my energy and love and support into those that enrich my life and stop trying to smash myself into a mold I've perceived I should fit into.  I should never try to squeeze myself into shoes that don't fit and I should never try to hammer myself into a jewelry artist label that doesn't suit me.  

I made this -- it's totally my style.

My hope for you is for you to feel your own self-worth without ever experiencing the angst I've felt over the past six years.  My wish is for you to never feel typecast or limited.  My dream is for you to feel confident and boundless and able to accomplish anything you want without having to count on anyone else to get you there.  You aren't late to the party -- you're the one GIVING the party.  Come dressed to sparkle!

by Cindy Wimmer, Sweet Bead Studio

Lori Anderson creates jewelry for her web site, Lori Anderson Designs, and writes the blog An Artist's Year Off.  She's also a contributor to Art Bead Scene.


  1. Yes! Yes! Yes! This is all so good and so healthy and just so necessary. Good for you!!!

    Much love and hugs from down in Hooville.

  2. Anonymous4:16 PM

    Hi Lori!
    Thank you for your honest and heartfelt blog. Many of us deal with the same issues. That voice in the back of our heads is a hard one to silence. How you addressed it so important. A great support system and caring community means so much! I, too, surround myself with positive images and saying to help quiet the critic. My favorite right now? A magnet on my fridge that says "Don't try so hard to fit in - You were born to Stand Out!"
    In Beads and Happiness,
    Suzann Sladcik Wilson

    PS - Lori - You are the host of the party - the Bead Soup Party!!

  3. I think you are doing great...in this life we do the best we can - so keep you chin up, follow the sun and dont forget to dance, dance, dance.

  4. Love this!!! I just finished my first Art Heart assignment and it speaks directly to what you are saying. I'll post pics soon... listen to the whispers of your soul...you are enough :) oxoxox

  5. I so hear ya! Been going through the same struggle - funny how I thought my stuff was "so great" until I got into the blogosphere and realized I liked everyone else's stuff better than my own. Been trying to change that attitude this year and this is a good reminder to me not to "backslide."

    And I love that colorful and super-bright necklace. I think "exuberant" when I see it - and that's one of my favorite words!!

  6. You know that these words are what I have been waiting to hear from a long way back. You were talented then and you are talented now. You were honest then and you still are.
    You are a part of my family in my heart of hearts and we both love you to pieces. We have never invited anyone into our hearts and home that didn't have what it takes to be here, you know that and to see that finally you are given yourself the dues coming to you is making me feel better than I have in weeks.

    Hug my little grandbaby for me hug yourself as well, you are loved.

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  8. Been there, done that--disengaging from people who disparage everything I feel, am, and do, and giving up on trying to become someone else. You're on the right track!!! Realizing which people in your life are destructive to your growing into yourself (esp. those who claim to care about you), and instead engaging with people who delight in who you are as an individual, will free up so much of your energy. It's amazingly draining trying to be someone you're not. You don't have to be friends with destructive people, just because you have a history with them, or just because they want to be friends with you. Those things don't obligate you. Heck, you don't have to be friends with ANYBODY you don't wish to. Keep giving yourself permission to walk away from them!

    Love Suzann's refrigerator quote!

  9. Lori, this is just wonderful! Whether you have written these words to reinforce their meaning in your own mind, or to empower your readers who are perhaps trying to silence their own inner critic, this is a truly wonderful post.

    Keep writing from your heart, I do so enjoy hearing what you have to say :-)

  10. Great post Lori! I admire you and your work very much. I share so many of the self-doubts about my place in the jewelry arts world. But I just try to keep trudging up my own little path and be happy with what I do. Bloggy friends like you and several other sweet lights help keep me focused :)

  11. Your timing is incredible. I have been struggling with many of the same issues very recently. Your e-course helped validate some of my "issues". I am struggling to find my way here and find my "own". I learn every day through folks like you and your insight and thoughts. Even though I have never met any of you all, you all have helped validate what I do. Thank you, Lori, for your words. They mean so very much to me.

  12. Dearest Lori, I started following you BECAUSE I consider you a leader. You are on the path ahead of me and you nurture those behind you. You're positive, inspiring, encouraging and you stay on the bright side of things in your blog. I have about 10 blogs that are on my MUST READ list (if my time is short) and your two (Pretty Things and Artist's Year Off) are on it. I also want to be on the mailing list for your book! (How cool is that? You're writing a BOOK!)

    And in the words of a wise woman, "My hope for you is for you to feel your own self-worth... My wish is for you to never feel typecast or limited. My dream is for you to feel confident and boundless and able to accomplish anything you want without having to count on anyone else to get you there. You aren't late to the party -- you're the one GIVING the party. Come dressed to sparkle!"

  13. ah lori - i am so glad to hear you say it all out loud... to know that you are turning it around... we share similar struggles... i think the when one works in a creative realm, it is often a common feeling... but you still feel alone... and the truth is, you aren't... you are a successful working artist... really, that is a goal of mine... and i respect your hard work and talent for attaining that...
    this is your life, this is your journey... and it is too short... so live it the way that brings you joy and fulfillment...

  14. Lori
    My how I can relate to your words. Silver Parrot also described my thougths as well, thinking that your own jewelry is great until you start visiting other blogs! I too struggle with feelings of mediocrity and being okay with it. But as Jenn said, you are considered a leader. I've thought that since I first found your blog way before we ever met. I sometimes think you do not see yourself as we see you, because if you did, you'd feel like a million bucks right now! :-) I'm glad we're there for each other through feelings of self-doubt and there to get each other back on the right frame of mind! :-)

  15. I know how you feel... I feel that way all the time. However, I'm really new to this entire thing, and DON'T know what I'm doing a lot of the time.

    P.S. Love the piece you made. I have a few of those kinds of beads, but just don't know how to use them!

  16. Such wonderful words! I am very grateful to follow your blog. Your posts and jewelry are very inspiring.

  17. Anonymous7:54 PM

    What a beautiful post, Lori! I struggle with the same things. Thanks for sharing...very inspirational and I will take it to heart!
    Hugs, Lupe

  18. Lori, wow wow wow, you have accomplished so much in the beading world and are very talented. I hope that you listen to all of your supporters and feel great about all of the wonderful things you have created, from family, friends to fabulous jewelry.

    I recently read a book called the Compassionate Samaurai, and truthfully you have all of the qualities that make a compassionate samurai and I hope that you keep beating to your own drummer because we all love the things that you offer to us each and every day!

  19. You've hit the nail spot on, my dear. You must do what you find nourishes you, and if that means leaving behind those who do nothing but stand in the way of your path, then so be it. Follow your own creative path.

    I do indeed know your angst. I myself am very new to the beading world. Even newer than you. I feel behind the game many times. I also question just what the heck is I'm doing. But at the end of the day, I usually feel pretty good about doing what feels good and right and in balance with the many things on my plate. Sucessful every day? Nope, not at all.

    I think the post just before mine talked about following your blog because they felt you were a leader. You know, I feel the same way. I enjoy hearing about what's going on in your world.

    And, maybe it goes without saying at this point...But I find what you do in the jewelry world inspiring. You are one of those people that actually challenge me to pursue my own path.

  20. Great post! I would never have known you feel the way I feel, and, remember, I came really late to the party, but I'm still having a great time. There's so much to learn! There's so much to do. Anyway, chin up and great beads!

  21. Oh Lori, what a warm and wonderful post this is! It's funny because I started my blog to work through these very voices and find my way. Little did I know then that it would bring me into a circle of like minded souls, all feeling the same struggles and self doubts. Thank you for putting a voice to it all and for the wishes and hopes. I wish and hope and dream the same gifts for you!

  22. I can't believe you've actually gotten hate mail! It's such a coincidence that just this morning I was reading about "imposter syndrome" and how I thinking how perfectly it applied to me. This is when people who are doing well fear that others will one day realize they're really unqualified frauds. Of course it's silly because your success is due to your skill, dedication and creativity, but it just shows how much we have in common. You deserve all the success in the world!

  23. Just a great post Lori...I think you "spoke" the words that so many of us think. I'd come to your party any day :)

  24. This is beautiful Lori! I wish for you and all artists to be at peace with themselves. It is hard sometimes, just keep believing.

  25. Dear Lori-
    I have tears in my eyes reading this. Now I know that there is a reason that I was combing through my backlog of blog posts. I was meant to read this tonight.

    You have a light to shine, dear one. And you need to let it shine. You have to believe that you have that light and that it will only get brighter when you step away from those whose light only appears to eclipse your own. There is a path that only you can blaze, a story that only you can tell (thanks Luann Udell!). I CAN'T WAIT to read it...in YOUR BOOK.

    You have to realize that if you dwell on someone or something that is out of your control that you give it power to grow stronger. And sometimes that someone or something is not even aware that they have that power. It is when you realize that there is a place for you, that you are worthwhile, that you are unique in all the world... then you can be open to enjoying the party that you started.

    Hope-Wish-Dream... couldn't have said it better myself.

    This post, this affirmation.... this is my 'something good' today. YOU are my 'something good' Lori.

    Enjoy the day!

  26. What a fantastic metaphor - "don't try to squeeze into shoes that don't fit"! Brilliant. Because everyone knows how uncomfortable to painful that is.
    Good for you - you are a uniquely creative person with your own personal style. You are! Believe it.
    But I understand about your doubts - go through it all the time. Sometimes it is hard to get out of our own way.

  27. That's the attitude!! Self worth starts with liking your "Self". Thanks for sharing your heart Lori, one of the many things I love about you. I spent most of my life practicing for hours upon hours so that I could play other peoples music perfectly- One day I woke up and said I want to play my own music- that was a very new beginning. When I got interested in art again I decided my motto would be "NO FEAR" . I remind myself of that every day and I have grown so much faster because of that one thought. You go girl- with no fear!!

  28. Dear Lori,

    I can't imagine that of all people you do think like that? You ARE so talented. This writing is very useful because most of us can relate to it. We all have a huge big, monstrous critique in us, not mentioning the other ones in real life. They are hard enough to crush your delicate artistic nature.

    It is important that we protect this artistic baby, and let her do what needs to be done. Let her be born before crushing it.

    Thanks for your blog and thanks for visiting my blog. Yes, it would have been nice visiting those art galleries with you in Sedona. Take care - Dita.

  29. Not only are you good enough, you are amazing. Simple as that.

  30. Very true. It is important to stay yourself and embrace your style. But as I am only discovering now, sometimes, it takes a wee bit longer to get to express your art and develop that style of yours. Just beginning working on mine as a matter of fact and I'm in my late 20's. smiles, Virginie

  31. Oh, you move me with your words. I can't believe you sometimes feel like a guest. Seriously Lori, just look at all you have achieved. Seriously! It is true that the validiation comes only from your self. Just do what feels best for you. You should not do things you believe pleases others. I am sure they are most pleased if you follow your own heart. And that necklace of yours is gorgeaus. I love it! I wish I could do things like that myself. But I don't think I ever will be able to. I admire you greatly! Admire your self.
    Go girl!!!!!

  32. Wow - thank you for this post. I think many of us know what you are talking about. I will try to keep your words in mind the next time I feel unsecure again. THXS!

  33. Lori - You are speaking just like I feel. I too started late, and as I do shows, and recently ventured out of state for them, things have really been doing very well.
    Seeing all that is out there I am always doubting myself. But we need to be true to our style and what works for US not someone else. That has been a lesson that I have learned in the last two years.
    I admire you and enjoy reading your blog regularly. Keep up the good work!

    Sissy & Jack's

  34. I've seen your beads on Etsy before. I love your necklace here!

  35. Yes...it is great when we find our "space" in the jewelry world....our own style that truly makes our heart sing......

  36. Lori,
    What a wonderful and inspiring post. I came into this "creative life" later. I never thought that I was creative at all. Then I found beads. I still struggle with staying positive with what I do (even though this obsession with beads has brought me to opening a shop) and how creative I am.

    I know that we all struggle with it, but it seems that we are always comparing ourselves and our accomplishments to others. We beat ourselves up with "not being good enough"...but who says we are not good enough?

    I see your lovely pieces and the kindness that you spread outward. That is a HUGE accomplishment! I see what you do for your family--another HUGE thing.

    You, my dear, are very talented and what is unique with your talent is that you are willing to share your talent and knowledge with everyone.

    Have a wonderful, beady day!

  37. A wonderful post today. Very inspiring. It is important to believe in yourself and your work. Self doubt s not helpful even though we all do it.

  38. One thing about You is that you are YOU. A really Sweet woman who is so Tastefully on the mark and a Great mark too Lori! Thats ok when they dont like you bc you are being noticed. The Light will always shine thru the dark Lori...ox

  39. "Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind."
    — Dr. Seuss

    I love the above quote. Unfortunately we all need reminders of who and what is important. That also includes ourselves as we can often be our biggest critic, adversary, and block to our true selves. I am so happy you have had a breakthrough. You are a talented and generous artist and woman, don't forget it.

  40. I think it's fairly typical to let the one negative affect you more than all the positives. Everyone can be saying how great you look but one person says something negative and you feel like crap. It's an effort to block out the negative but it can be done. You can do it sure!

  41. Your feelings are pretty normal, especially for women it seems. It's all about knowing who you are and want you want in life. About not putting YOU at the end of the list everyday.
    It can take us many experiences and hurts to get to that point.
    It has helped me to distance myself from negativity in other people and, more importantly, also the negativity coming from inside myself.
    Positivity and a sense of humor seem to make the journey a lot more fun. After all, if life were perfect we wouldn't have any stories to tell.

  42. You are a great artist! One of the things I love about you is your honesty. I think that makes you a better artist.

    I think though those of us drawn to creativity are also very susceptible to self-doubt. We want everyone to like us and although we get that not everyone will we still have struggles. Creativity and our creations are part of us and when we are criticized it is like someone criticizing our family or friends.

  43. Thanks, I needed that. You've given us (me) good things to think about. I, too, deal with doubting myself as I struggle through an online metalsmith course that everyone else seems to be flying through with ease and sharing their amazing creations. I need to remember not to measure myself using them as the ruler.

    And by the way, you are an amazing artist!!!!

  44. Anonymous1:29 PM

    Such graceful words full of simple truth and big love. Big love for you because you know no label will ever suffice to describe who the authentic you truly is.

    This was such an honest blog and one I can relate to having come to terms with who I am as an artist. The truth is within us, we just have to listen to it and surrender to it.

    And make pretties that rock!!

  45. Hi, Lori...my daughter Laura Twiford told me to read your blog....boy, alm I glad she did !! I am far from being an artist...just lucky enough to be the mother of one...I live vicariously through Laura & I am so glad she has met you & this wonderful group of fantastically talented women for support !! It's hard for me to believe you doubt yourself & your talent...continue to make these beautiful works of art & realize that you are in a league by yourself along with Laura & all the women in this exquisite club !!! Much admiration from Florida !!

  46. What a wonderful post! What a wonderful blog!!

    I love the "truly you" necklace.

    Maybe the angst is something most of us just have to work through. Think about it. What would an artist who had never struggled with the inner critic be like.

    Arrogant? Obnoxious??

    I totally agree with the need to eliminate (not literally!) the people who send us negative vibes and messages - whether they are about our art or anything else. They are poison to our creativity.

    I'm so glad I found your "pretty things". I will be back ;-)

  47. Great blog post - very inspirational. I can relate completely.

  48. Thank you for your very heartfelt words. I am new to blogging but I have to tell you, your blog is one of my favorites. Your so honest, and giving, it's really refreshing. Your jewelry pieces are beautiful and you should be very proud of your artistic ability. Can't wait to see your new book, congrats!

  49. Lori,
    I am really surprised. I haven't been around long to know this. I admire you so much. I understand your struggle because I also have been there. Beading has been "a way to connect with my daughter" and something to save me sanity after I became really sic and was not able to be the psychologist I was trained to be. I still do not have the energy to be anywhere near professional about it. I also think of you as a truly wonderful person...
    Big hugs,

  50. Kudos to you, Lori, you are really so creative. Don't ever doubt your self-we don't doubt you for a minute:)

    You know, I got so insulted the other day, when my husband came home from work talking about how he was listening to some talk show-okay? Well, he had this big smile on his face and said, "Nikki, I know why know you get so frustrated, sad, and (carefully he said the word) depressed, sometimes.

    Well, I thought, this ought to be good. So,I got my mental boxing gloves on and said, "Oh ya, really, why?"

    Still, with a smile on his face, as if he'd answered the final Jeopardy question and was about to win the jackpot, he said this;

    "The Dr. on the radio said that creative, gifted, talented, & intelligent people struggle with these issues and Nik, it's okay, you're fine"

    Me-"Well, gee thanks, Charlie-HA!"

    But, after a few days of really studying those words and the excitement on my hubby's face, I realized that he was complimenting and acknowledging "ME" and "EVERYTHING" that goes with being creative, you know, the gift.

    Any way-

    Lori, We've always known, your talents, for some reason we all realize were talented, we just have a hard time accepting it, because it's just that big of a deal! (smile)

  51. Anonymous5:16 PM

    gracias amigo! gran post!


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