everyone has bad days. i had one yesterday that turned me into a ghost, but not in the way you would imagine. i was a ghost as in being stuck in this dimension unknown to others without being able to escape and with no idea what to do other than wander around in my own mind. photography is definitely my escape, but there are days where i wonder if this escape is healthy or not. i think it’s more of the business side of things i struggle with, but not in a practical sense. it’s in a mental sense.

i feel as though i am VERY open through social media. ask me anything you want and i’ll do my best to answer. in turn, i share a lot of things about myself, because i look at social media as a place to share who i am, my work, and to interact with others. i feel like i’ve always been myself in this way, but i have to be honest. one thing i’ve never really touched on is my biggest struggle……

UNWORTHINESS AND UNDESERVEDNESS

now, i feel like i need to preface this by stating, this is NOT a post to gather followers or likes or a pity party, no no no. this is a post about something i’ve struggled with outside of the photography world, but i believe that becoming a photographer has put this struggle on full blast for me. it’s nice receiving accolades, being published in magazines, getting the cover of a magazine, being interviewed by industry websites and podcasts and video platforms. there is no denying that. my struggle kicks in behind the scenes, though. when receiving any type of “atta-boy” from anyone, my response is to thank them, and then i usually go find a place where i can be alone. the struggle begins. the questions begin. we’ve all heard of The Impostor Syndrome, yeah? it’s similar to that, but it’s kind of…..deeper. it’s not that i fear about being a fraud or am looking for approval from my peers, to be honest, i couldn’t care less about either of those things. it’s…….it’s asking myself, “Do you really deserve this? Why?” which then leads to TELLING myself, “Nope. You definitely don’t deserve this. It’s not you.” this is my struggle.

i’m sure this is more common that i’d like to think, but that doesn’t really comfort me in any way. this struggle has led me to believe that everything i tell myself is truth. that i don’t deserve good things in life. that i will never be financially comfortable in life. that i will never find love. that i will never actually take steps to do anything to improve, because i don’t deserve any of it. it’s fear. it’s telling myself that i will definitely fail at whatever i’m trying to do.

where does photography tie into all of this? well, photography is the FIRST thing in my life where i’ve received an abundance of “atta-boys” or praise or pats on the back or whatever you’d like to call it. therefore, it has AMPLIFIED my struggle. yesterday, it all came down on me at one time, as it tends to do. i stayed in bed most of the day. being a ghost caught in this dimension of confusion and worry and doubt and i just could not fucking get out of it. i created this fucking dimension, so why can’t i get out of it? this all led to reaching out to a few people and speaking very negatively about myself and my struggle and all of those things that come off as looking for pity, but it was actually what i was feeling at that moment. i felt guilty by bringing others down with my words, when in reality, i likely wasn’t at all. they were just simply listening to my thoughts. it’s a fucking rabbit hole. our brains are designed to keep us safe and comfortable most of the time, but damn, it can come off the rails really quickly if the situation is accepting of it.

and i’ll be honest, i DO speak at a fair share of photography events, workshops, and conferences. this is the crazy part. i feel like i’m pretty talented at inspiring others, encouraging others, and getting others to believe in themselves. then i ask myself, “Are you good at this, because you aren’t able to tell yourself these things, but only other people?” HOLY SHIT. maybe, right? maybe i’m telling others these things that i so badly want to tell myself and believe, but never have.

why do i share this? why did i write this little post? i honestly don’t have a solid answer, but if i were forced to provide one, it would probably be simple………..maybe this post will comfort someone else knowing they’re not alone in this particular struggle? again, i’m sure it’s common to experience these things, but maybe my words and thoughts will help you.

what’s the solution for me? how do i work on this? i have no idea, but i’m going to try like hell to work on it, because i know it will lead to a better, healthier, happier life.

i’ll let you know when i’m no longer a ghost and i enter back into the dimension of reality……

Comments

Jacob, you are super talented and your creativity is spectacular. and with talent and creativity comes imagination, sensitivity, deeper understanding of self and the world around us. Feeling of self-worth is something that is built in the childhood and then it needs constant nurturing to keep it high. If at any given point in early life that foundation of self-worth that comes from external sources was not there or was shaken or destroyed it is really hard to build it up and maintain in adulthood. I can totally relate to what you say MINUS the achievements, but I know that no matter what I do, how well I do, what I achieve is NEVER good enough for me and my own standards. Something somewhere inside of me will tell me that I could do better or is it really that much of an achievement or that it is not really down to me but to luck etc. I would even question people's judgement. So, what I am trying to say is that it is OK. It is ok to feel so and it is ok to stay in bed all day feeling low or that the world around you feels surreal in comparison to what you feel inside. Acknowledging feelings leads to understanding and therefore being able to address these things. I hear it quite often from people I know and who are bloody marvellous and talented that they do not deserve it or they do not associate themselves with successes they get. Please take care of the inner child, the creative soul, the sensitive part of you that needs big hugs. I wish I was there to hug you. AND thank you. I wish more people were open about it, about their vulnerability. It really does help others. It puts us all back in HUMAN category. Lots of love. xxx
    Jacob Loafman
    Thank you so much for the kind words and sharing a part of you, as well. It really does mean a lot. We'll share a hug again soon enough, I'm sure, my friend. <3
I completely understand what you are saying and you are right in thinking that a lot of others also feel this way. Being aware of it and working on changing those thought patterns is probably a good idea. I’ve never been published and no one is asking me to speak anywhere but I have a feeling that even if I was successful in those ways it wouldn’t change the self doubt. I make a decent living doing mostly what I love and I try to just stay focused on that. Good luck!
Heather
Thank you so much for bearing your feelings in this post. I’m so sorry to hear that you have this inner struggle, yet it is comforting to know that I am not alone. You help bolster my confidence that I can be successful. I admire your work—you are a brilliant photographer. Keep on creating like the genius you are!
Kaitlyn
At this point, I probably feel a lot closer to you than you do to me. I follow your social media posts closely because I'm just naturally drawn to who you are as a person. So let me just embarrass myself here by telling you a little story... Before Ryan and I went to our consultation with you, I looked into your website/social media hardcore just to get an idea of what kind of person you were. Although that doesn't necessarily change the objective quality of a photograph, it's important to me. I remember telling Ryan what a wonderful and genuine person you seemed to be. I think my exact words were, "We're going to be friends, he just doesn't know it yet." A little scary, sorry, I come on strong. Lol. After we met, I went to the car and I cried (I cry a lot due to extremes of any emotion, don't worry) because of how well it went. The photography was perfectly attuned to what I was looking for, and you were a dream of a human being. Seriously. Also, thanks for making this post because you basically gave me an excuse to tell you all of this. Basically, my impression of you is that you're an amazing person. You are genuine and optimistic. You may mess up sometimes, but you are trying your best. And that's what we're all doing. I get it, my anxiety makes me feel this exact way about everything I do. I know imposter syndrome all too well. Don't be so hard on yourself <3
I want to reply to this better but I on my phone. There is defo this weird f'd up thing where we don't value our work or ourselves enough. At snap someone said said 'the thing we find the easiest is the thing we should charge the most for'. Big maybe the thing we find the easiest is also the thing we should realise is the thing we should value the most. We put so much of our souls into our work and I think we forget that. We forget to honour and value what we are and what we create. And also recognise it needs recharging. We can't go throwing our soul into everything we do without feeling drained and needing time again. Maybe that's some of what you are feeling. I dunno. That being said Im on holiday in a beautiful place and I am sure when I get home in going to struggle with something or other. And reality. Your work is bloody gorgeous. Your way of seeing is unique and powerful and so so rich. And with it you are kind and open and someone I am so happy to know. Even just a little bit. Ditto Jo. Be kind to yourself and that glowing creative centre of yours. Xx
Dude! I completely feel you! You have spilled a lot of things that I personally feel myself! I love my job, the people it has brought me to meet and the places that it has taken me but do I deserve this? Fuck no! I feel honoured but completely lost at the same time! I get lost in my own mind, my work isn’t good enough, I need to be a better person! Even if people tell me they love my work it always feels like a lie, like I don’t deserve it! I don’t bring anything to the party! The struggle is real! I appreciate you writing this stuff mate as I completely identify! I love you man! You are an inspiration and a good friend!