YOUR SUPPORT SYSTEM ISN’T SUPPORTING YOU AND WHAT YOUR SUPPORT SYSTEM CAN DO TO
Whether you are a lawyer pursuing your art (sounds vaguely familiar), work in healthcare and want to start your own fashion blog, a mama fixing up skin care concoctions in the dead of night, a barista with dreams of running for congress, it can be so hurtful when the people you love most aren't supportive of your dreams. This post is for you!
You know I’m a big fan of podcasts. Anything involving murder, being an entrepreneur, being a creative, etc is my jam. So one podcast that I’m obsessed with right now is Trent Shelton’s Straight Up. Episode 8 about the reasons why your support system isn’t supporting you spoke right to my heart. It felt like it was just me and Trent with a can and string telephone whispering* our deepest secrets in the night (*and by whispering I mean trying to speak quietly when you’re really excited about something so you actually aren’t whispering at all). If anyone else watches Locke and Key on Netflix, it’s like he had the head key and explored the inside of my mind and heart.
This is a topic that I both want to share, because I think it could really help other creatives that may not feel as supported as they would like to be by friends and family, but, I also feel a bit awkward discussing it and worry about how it may come across to others. Even though I may fear other people’s reactions, it’s also a subject that has continuously weighed so heavily on me as I pursue my art and if there is anyone else out there who feels that way too, I want you to know that YOU ARE NOT ALONE. If you are the friend or family member of someone pursuing their passion there are also things you can do to support the dreamer in your life (did I mention they are also SIMPLE AND FREE). Trent breaks this down into four reason but I am condensing them into three"ish".
YOU CAN’T EXPECT THEM TO BE YOU
It feels really crappy when you don’t feel supported by those you love. Trent reminded me that “you have to stop expecting YOU from other people.” Just because you think, if the tables were turned, you would be supportive of that family member pursuing her dream, doesn’t mean that you can EXPECT other people to react in the same way that you would. It’s shitty but you can’t control other people’s reactions. It may help to remember that although you WANT their approval with all your heart, you DON’T NEED it. Yup. YOU DON’T NEED ANYONE ELSES SUPPORT OR APPROVAL TO FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS. It would be nice. It would feel warm and fuzzy. But you don’t NEED it.
The reason(s) they appear to not believe in you, may actually have more to do with them. Maybe they have failed before and so now they assume that following your dreams leads to failure because that is all they know. Their lack of support may have to do with their experiences and how they view the world as opposed to being any kind of reflection on your capabilities.
SMALL MINDSETS CAN’T COMPREHEND BIG VISIONS
You also may want to consider WHO you are bringing your dreams or ideas to. I love the example Trent gives of not going to a plumber to fix your roof. They might be the best plumber in the whole damn world, but that doesn’t mean they know the first thing about fixing a roof. You are excited about your new business idea or the possibility of living your dream so you want to tell those you love about it. But if you’re bringing a big dream to a person that always stays in her lane or never takes risks, do you really think they are going to tell you to “go for it!”? The thought of doing the unknown is probably unfamiliar and uncomfortable for her to even think about. Again, it has no merit on the content of the idea or dream.
And here’s where my favorite nugget of wisdom comes in: “Small mindsets can’t comprehend big visions or big dreams.” Sit with that for a minute. Trent gives this great example of something he does when public speaking sometimes. He’ll have someone come up on stage with him and close their eyes. He’ll take out a dollar bill and holds it right in front of the person’s face and tells them to open their eyes. He asks them to tell him what’s in front of their face but it’s so close that they can’t even tell that its money. They can’t see it. He then repeats but takes a step back, until they can clearly read the dollar amount. He uses this example to show that sometimes people who are the closest to you actually can’t see your greatness. They are so used to it. Maybe they’ve seen you everyday of your life so they “normalize your gifts and talents.” BUT just because you’re too close for them to SEE YOUR VALUE doesn’t mean that YOUR GIFTS AREN’T VALUABLE. And whether those closest to you appreciate your worth or not it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t share your gifts with the world.
2. THEY DON’T UNDERSTAND WHAT THEIR SUPPORT MEANS
YOUR SUPPORT MATTERS
The second reason you may not feel supported by your friends and family is because they don’t realize how much their support means to you. They might think for example, all these other people liked your post, or buy your artwork, or signed up for your blog, so whether THEY do those things or not makes no difference. As a creative, let me tell you – YOUR SUPPORT MATTERS. Your support might mean the difference between someone pursuing their dreams or throwing in the towel. That one encouraging comment can keep someone going when they feel like giving up and, as a creative, we have many moments of wanting to give up.
Creatives put their hearts out there for the world. It can feel so vulnerable. When I share something like this on instagram, for example, or in a blog post, it would feel really good to know that one of my friends or family members read it. Even if it is not personal, when you put your heart on the line in an arena, such as social media, where you know your friends and family hang out, and they don't acknowledge that they see it, IT CAN HURT. We should share because it is part of our purpose, not because we want acknowledgement or praise. But no one likes to be left hanging. Just know that the message you send, your "like", your repost, etc, can make us feel less alone, more connected and is an opportunity for us to grow closer.
LOVE DON’T COST A THING
I think many people may assume by “support” I mean monetarily. Of course, yes if you have a friend that makes wonderful art that you would like to put in your home, please go buy it! But even if you, as a friend or family member wouldn’t be interested in whatever it is that person has to offer, for example buying something that your friend makes and sells, you can still SUPPORT that person. Have you forgotten what Jenny from the block said? Love don’t cost a thing. Telling a creative something along the lines of “I see how hard you are working,” or “I see the progress you have made,” etc, DOESN’T COST A THING and just feeling seen can make a world of difference to the person. At the end of the day though, although we’d love the people we love to support us, whether they chose and/or are able to show us that support has more to do with them and how they feel about themselves then it does with you and your work.
3. OTHER CONSIDERATIONS
ARE THEY SHOWING THEIR SUPPORT IN THEIR OWN WAY?
Two more things to consider regarding this topic are (1) the possibility that those you love may be supporting you in their own way and (2) There are people that think that their way is the only way.
Regarding number one, it might help you to take a step back and ask yourself if maybe a loved one is actually trying to be supportive it just may not be in a way that makes you feel supported. It’s kind of like the book the Five Love Languages. They may be showing you support in a way that would make them feel supported that might not necessarily be in the way you would like to be shown support. For example, did your parents help support you during college monetarily? That may be the way they know how to show you that they support you. Some people are more limited in expressing their emotions or saying encouraging things (maybe because they didn’t experience those kinds of affirmations themselves growing up). Just because they don’t say that they are proud of what you are doing or say positive things about it doesn’t mean they aren’t showing any support at all. I encourage you to look beyond what you expect or what you would like to see them do and ask yourself what is it that they may already doing to hint to you, in their own way, that they care.
DO THEY LIVE IN A BOX THEY BUILT AND IT’S THE ONLY WAY TO BUILD A BOX
Finally, there are some people that see only one way to be successful. If you aren’t following their carefully crafted and perfected route to it then you’re a lost cause. They can’t see beyond what has already been done to see what could be. They invented the box and are so busy building it, and directing others to do the same in the same way, that they can’t see that they have boxed themselves in and actually created blinders to the other possibilities.
Trent did a segue here to talk to parents in this situation. He says something along the lines of your dream might not be your kids dream. Parents sometimes shoot down their kids dreams because it is not the dream that they had for them. BUT – and here’s the real zinger - just because they aren’t doing what YOU want them to do doesn’t mean that they aren’t doing what they were BORN TO DO.
THEY LITERALLY CAN’T SEE YOUR VISION
In summary, it really sucks when you want to share something that you are so pumped up about with a loved one and they show zero interest or you are even met with opposition. The lucky thing however is that whether they believe in your dreams or not has NO bearing whatsoever on whether you can make your dreams come true. We live in a “see it to believe it” kind of world and if you are the kind of person that believes in so much more than what that one sense has to offer, people are literally not going to see your vision. I’ll leave you with this other little wisdom nugget by Trent –“don’t let the lack of belief that other people have in you kill the belief you have in yourself.”
Feb 19, 2020
♥ FOLLOW YOUR ARROW WHEREVER IT POINTS ♥
This week a legend was lost. My heart aches for the family's touched by this weeks tragedy. As I was drawing this illustration of Kobe holding his daughter, Gigi's, hand the lyrics of one of my favorite songs, "Follow your arrow wherever it points" by Kacey Musgrave's played in my head:
Say what you feel (say what you feel)
Love who you love (love who you love)
'Cause you just get so many trips 'round the sun
Yeah, you only
Only live once
We don’t know if our lives will be short or if our lives will be long but the long and short of it is love those you love before it’s too late and they are gone. Rest in Peace Kobe and Gigi 💔
So where’s your arrow pointing?
SECURE YOUR MASK BEFORE HELPING OTHERS
"In the event of emergency, please secure your own self-love before loving others …” ✈️
We’ve all heard the safety message about putting on your oxygen mask on first before helping others.
If you ignore the warning about putting on your oxygen mask on first and instead try to help another person you may loose the ability to recognize faces and shapes, and eventually pass out. It isn’t selfish to put on your own mask first - if you are unconscious you won’t be able to help anyone.
When you first learn to love yourself, you will be better able to love others. If you don’t learn how to put on your self-love mask first, you may become exhausted from loving others. You may loose yourself in their wants and needs to the point of not even recognizing yourself. When we practice self-love and taking care of ourselves we are actually better equipped to help ourselves and others.
So instead of feeling selfish taking care of your own needs, I say celebrate it! Especially with Valentine’s Day quickly approaching, instead of the sappy romantic love themed cards, why not opt for this print to remind you to LOVE YOURSELF FIRST. ❤️
LIVE YOUR DREAM
Last night I updated my little blurb on etsy about my shop (I swear there's a reason I'm telling you this just stick with me for a minute 😂). This is what I wrote:
“I dream my painting and then I paint my dream” ~ Vincent Van Gogh 🎨 💫
Ladie Katie is my DREAM. She is confident, kind, and creative. She lifts you up when you’re feeling down on yourself, she comforts you when you are in doubt and she’ll celebrate your victories with you as if they were her own, because she knows that a strong woman stands up for herself but a stronger woman stands up for everyone else too.
In my art, I created this new support system for myself to help me rediscover my strength and value. As last year ended, I came to realize that Ladie Katie is ME. She is not super human - she is the me I painted into existence. It is a journey but I am learning to ROOT FOR MYSELF again. And I WANT TO ROOT FOR YOU TOO. When you see one of my illustrations that looks just like your fluffy child, makes you chuckle out loud, reminds you of your best friend or inspires you to push yourself, that is me CHEERING YOU ON. I want to remind you to be YOUR OWN BIGGEST FAN. But in the meantime, until you get the hang of it, I’ll be here, pom poms and all, rooting for you.
You can either dream your life or you can LIVE YOUR DREAM and I’m choosing the latter. Who’s coming with me?
Today, I was listening to Brook Castillo’s The Life Coach School Podcast. She was discussing power - what it is, where it comes from and who has it. She talked about how our power doesn’t come from outside of us but it comes from within in us. “Force,” she says, “is trying to control other people and the world. Power is creating yourself in your own world.”
Woah. Mind Blown. Check. It was such a moment of deja vu. I remembered trying to describe this sentiment to my husband once like this, “I haven’t felt supported or appreciated from the people around me so I’ve created by own support system in my illustrations that say all the things I wish those around me would say.” Please believe me, I am not bringing this up to make anyone feel bad or criticize them. They may not have known I was needing this kind of support. They may have had their own things going on that I’m not aware of. At the end of the day though, I realized that it wasn’t really about them at all. It was about me and what I was going to do.
I could have tried to “force” the people in my life to do the things I was craving, for example, to get them to acknowledge how hard I work so I wouldn’t feel like they were ignoring it. This would be me trying to control the world and the people in it, which let’s face it, is exhausting and probably is not going to lead to the results I’m looking for. Meaning, that if I try to get someone to compliment me, I’m probably not going to feel better. Even if they do hear me out and give me a compliment, I’m going to feel like they are only saying it because I basically told them to.
Brooke reiterates that we can’t decide what is happening to us but we get to decide how we respond. Similarly, I was craving some positive reinforcement. I didn’t feel like I was getting what I needed from others at the time, so I CREATED MY OWN WORLD. I built my own army of positive reinforcers that said encouraging, supportive and celebratory things to me. And you know what? The more they supported me, the better I felt. The better I felt the more I was able to give that support to others who may be struggling too.
The further Brooke dove in, the more I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I actually had to rewind it to hear it again. It was as if we had the same idea at the same time and had discussed it the night prior. I bring this up, not because I think Brooke stole my idea or that I stole her idea, but because it reminded me of this concept that really resonated for me from the book, BIG MAGIC, by Elizabeth Gilbert. Side note: If you are a creative person YOU NEED TO READ THIS BOOK. Actually, just if you are a person, in general, you should read the book! I bring it up because 1) I freakin LOOOOOVE it, and 2) she discusses “ideas” as if they are these cute little living things that float around the world basically looking for someone to birth them. I envision them kind of as fluffy dandelion petals blowing around looking for a place to land. Or in her, more eloquent words:
Ideas are floating about in the ethers looking for someone to bring them into creation and are driven by a single impulse, to be made manifest. Ideas spend an eternity swirling around us looking for willing and available human partners, and if you’re oblivious to it it’s message it will move on to someone else.
So, after hearing Brooke describe the same sentiment I had the night before, I feel like this is an idea that NEEDS TO GET OUT THERE. LIKE RIGHT NOW. Maybe I am but one of many messengers but I was available, I got the message and I want to help bring it into the world however I can. The message being that there are loads of things that will happen around you that you cannot control. But THE GREATEST POWER YOU HAVE DOES NOT COME FROM WHAT IS HAPPENING AROUND YOU - IT COMES FROM WITHIN YOU. Brooke summarizes it nicely, saying something along the lines of, “just because we can’t control the things around us doesn’t mean we are powerless. We can control the way we think, the way we respond, and the way we act.”
So what will you do to feel powerful?
I'M JUST TRYING MY BEST TO BE THE PERSON MY DOG THINKS I AM 🐶💕
Nothing can beat the feeling of coming home to @mollythemaltishit. As I walk from the driveway I can see her fluffy little face sitting on the stairs in front the window. just. waiting. for. me. (or if it’s nighttime and the curtains are closed, sticking her sweet little head through them 😂👀). Then I open the door and she does her happy dance (picture something in between a tap dance and skater jumps) while making this little chirping noise (eee eee eeee eee) until I follow her to the couch for a proper snuggle.
Can you imagine if WE GREETED THE PEOPLE ON OUR LIVES like that? Okay maybe minus the dance moves, the chirping, and the belly rubs, but with the same ENTHUSIASM and EXCITEMENT! Wouldn’t the world be a happier place? Something to think about next time your roommate, your spouse, a friend, etc gets home - TRY ACTUALLY GREETING THEM, actually i.e. putting DOWN THE PHONE, GETTING OFF YOUR BUTT, giving them a GREAT BIG HUG and VOCALIZING how HAPPY YOU ARE TO SEE THEM.
It might feel strange at first because we are in the habit of being in our own “zones” (I’ve there 💁🏼♀️), not looking up to acknowledge someone until we’ve hit send on that email (or finished that last brushstroke), and sometimes that may be necessary so you can get through your to do list. But sometimes those things can actually wait and prioritizing welcoming a person may be just what that person needs that day!
Adam was away on business and his flight was delayed so he wasn’t getting in until after I was going to be in bed. So I made a bunch of large notes and placed them on every stair going upstairs to the bedroom that made a message when read together. He said after a long trip home that the notes made him feel so welcome and happy to be home 😊 (side note: I ended up waking up anyway because molly heard him come in and did her traditional greeting dance 💃🏼 😂).
This is my long-winded way of saying — WELCOME HOME! I’M SO HAPPY YOU ARE HERE! You can't see me but I am doing a tap dance and chirping. Seriously. And to prove how glad I am to see you here I'd like to give you this FREE Printable to remind you that YOU GOT THIS!
SOMETHING HAPPENED FOR ME
I was horrified when a client emailed me saying that she had tried going to my blog and that it didn't work. Turns out the credit card that was on file had expired. They had emailed me about it but with all of chaos of Holiday orders I hadn't even noticed! So typical.
Usually, this sort of situation would cause me severe upper lip sweat and calling my husband in a panic. But it's a new year so I tried a different approach. I've heard that there are two ways of thinking: (1) something happened to me or (2) something happened for me. I could freak out that my blogs dead and gone but I figure that wouldn't really help anything so I'm choosing to believe that this happened for me. It is an opportunity for a fresh start - and what better timing for a fresh start than at the start of a new decade? So RIP to my old blog, Art Like a Ladie.
WHAT 2019 TAUGHT ME TO UNLEARN
Last year I had to UNLEARN a lot of things. I had to unlearn the LIMITING BELIEFS I had grown up with - to only do things that make money right away as opposed to having the confidence to BELIEVE IN MYSELF (and my dreams) and know that I am worth investing in. I have chosen a different path, moving away from my fear based / survival mode decisions and leaning into INSPIRED decisions.
In my illustrations, I created a new support system for myself - a team of people that lifted me up when I was feeling low. That encouraged me, that rooted for me and that just saw me for who I am (not who they wanted me to be). They celebrated my accomplishments and hard work. They helped me rediscover my strength and value. And, as last year came to a close, I realized that this “inspirational team” I created was actually ME.
It is a journey but I am learning to ROOT FOR MYSELF again. That my value doesn’t come from what others opinions are about what I do - or do not do. That, even if no one understood my work or valued my art, I would still make it because it is WHAT SETS MY HEART ON FIRE. Unlike what had been so ingrained by those around me, my art doesn’t get its value from whether someone buys it or not. Nor does it come from what my family thinks of it. That freedom allowed me to create what was in my HEART instead of what I thought would sell. And, ironically, that is what seemed to resonate with you too! And for that I am so THANKFUL. Because I want you to have an “inspirational team” too - and, until you too realize that YOU are that team, I will happily be here in the interim, rooting for you. HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE 🥳
Cheers to a year of health and happiness, peace and purpose,