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Photo by Edwin Andrade on Unsplash

Yesterday when I was driving to the music school, I was thinking about how art and anything else we come up with that qualifies as self-expression is rarely about ourselves, as long as we don’t keep it private.

I’m lucky to have so many creative, artistic friends, some do it as a profession, some as a hobby. It’s probably a topic for another day, but some who are hobby artists tend to condemn their art, even reluctant to show it. But when they do, it blows me away! It makes me all enthusiastic about it, like “you should let people see this! share it! it’s amazing!” They insist it’s a piece of junk, and I’m like, nooooooooo it’s beautiful! And it really is!

I suppose when it comes to our own stuff, there’s no apparent magic in it because to us, there simply isn’t. We sweated over it and cut corners. We know it’s not perfect. We don’t need someone to remind us that we’re not daVinci. But who is?

If you think your art doesn’t matter, or just plain sucks, here’s a couple thoughts. How many people do you personally know who can do what you do? I remind myself of this when I’m playing violin in front of people. The answer is usually: Zero.

Thought #2: How many people do you personally know would enjoy seeing something a friend of theirs created themselves, from their own imagination and ability? The answer is usually: a lot.

So try to allow yourself to share your work. Be a kid again and create with abandon, before we learned how judgement feels. Speaking of kids, what a great role model they’ll see in you. If you don’t have your own, there are plenty of others in your community who’d have great fun learning. You never know whose life you’ll change in some way.

And another point. I often think of all the people who have come into my life, who I’d never have known if not for playing violin. Probably most of them! And you will find the same when you share your art, or whatever you call creative, with others. I promise! It’ll take you on some amazing adventures.

So that’s why I call it “Collateral Joy.” There’s the joy you feel during and after, and dessert is sharing it!


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