In this day and age being original is hard. We are influenced by something or someone every single day. Every time we look at our phones and scroll through Instagram, there’s amazing photography and people everywhere you look. And some of them have their own individual style that is very tempting to copy, so you soon realise that there’s an ocean of photographers posting the same content over and over.
While it is aesthetically pleasing and you double tap to like, you’ve probably seen something similar 5 minutes ago. People see what works and stick with it, without trying to be different. Too many times I’ve seen videos on YouTube with the title ‘how to edit like this or that person’, or a complete copy claiming to be inspired by someone when clearly they studied and recreated every move. I’m guilty of these things as well, because where else would you learn if not from others who already have the deal going and know what they’re doing. But you can quickly lose perspective and forget to evolve in you own unique way. You can never become someone else even if you try as hard as possible, and you will never be great if you cannot be yourself.
No self criticism
I struggle with this part the most. While I want to be myself and just create what I think looks good without outside influence, I simply found out that I like too many different things at once and don’t really know how to use that. Sometimes I don’t post for a long time because I get too frustrated with something not looking exactly as I envisioned it. We all know that if you want to succeed, you need to post frequently, and yet I’m here overthinking one picture, edit it in a million ways and never end up posting it. So many hours go to waste for nothing because of what? Fear that the colours won’t correspond perfectly on your feed? Or that your style changes quicker than it does with others?
While I think it’s good to be critical toward yourself to some extent, and try to always get better at something… being too critical just stops you from putting out anything all together, because you think nothing’s good enough. The thing is, people will do the criticising part for you. So you don’t need that from yourself as well. So when you think about it long and hard… what’s better? To post something that is not perfect, but is true to you at that moment, or not post at all. Our style changes constantly. We grow and make progress every day, and become new people. The same happens to our art, photography, editing, writing style, clothing, makeup,… literally anything and everything you choose to express yourself with. Don’t be afraid of sharing something you’re not sure is good enough, because someone is always going to like it and vice versa.
What is your style and when to use it?
Stop thinking about what others will like. That is much easier being said than actually carried out, I know. I studied visual merchandise and the first thing they taught us, is that you have to think what other people will like when you decorate a display window for instance. While that has some truth to it, I think it’s overrated. Yes, if you use that ‘rule’ as your mantra, you can succeed and appeal to a large audience. Why? Because most of them follow the same thing. Trends. But that is not a journey to self discovery or authenticity for that matter. To find your style, you have to think outside the crammed box of ever so multiplying trends. Of course if you love a trend, you’re allowed to follow it. But we’re talking about finding something that comes from you. Something that makes you stand and step out of that box. It may be the way you edit, what you paint or photograph, what you write about, the way you write, what you listen to, what you wear, what you eat. Your style is You. The You, you should show and not hide from the outside world.
When should you use it? Always.
There it is. My favourite word I love using so much. When you think of inspiration, you might think of people who inspire you. But in truth, you can be inspired by anything. A person doesn’t have to be the source of that. Idols. People we want to follow and resemble. That is the main thing you want to avoid here. To find inspiration you must simply look around. Some of you might find it in nature, some in a song. Maybe a book or a poem you read. The colour of the sky. A word you heard the other day. A taste, or a scent even. All of those things can inspire you to create. And nothing is more inspiring to others, than something you created out of your own beautiful individual mind.
Perfection is an illusion
I sometimes think that perfection is something people made up to make life hard on themselves. Nothing is without flaws. If perfection was a real thing, we would all be the same. But then again it’s an illusion that drives us to always want to be better, but it also leaves us with the restless feeling like something’s always missing. I found that we need to look at perfection from a different perspective to understand it in an other way. The way you achieve that is to look at imperfection as perfection.
Believe it or not, people managed to make a trend even out of authenticity. But that is far from what being authentic is about. I’m not an expert when it comes to definitions of things. In fact I think defining and labeling something is overrated as well. We can’t really define love, and we don’t really need to. We just feel it, and that is enough. My descriptions are what I experience about things in my own way, and some of you might relate to what I say. Because only when you see something from your own perspective of experiencing it, do you rally get a chance to grasp its meaning. We are all different. And that alone I think is authentic. A copy is never the same as the original, because it is unique. One of a kind. And so are each one of us. So why do we even try to be like someone else when we are already authentic. Look inside, and you will have your answers.
Don’t let fear dictate what you do, say, make or post. Simply be and continue being who you are, even if you think you’re not sure who that might be yet. I promise you will uncover a new fragment every day.