Monday, June 15, 2009

Howard Hopkin asks "What Are Your Limits?"

What are your limits? Do you impose those limits, consciously or subconsciously, on yourself? Do you let others put them on you? Do you automatically tell yourself, “I can’t do that”, or convince yourself others are luckier, more skilled or talented?

Self-esteem is a weird thing. Some say it is the result of our environment, an unnurturing parent or bad past. Yet there are those brought up in perfect homes with June Cleaver mothers and Fred MacMurray fathers (and for those of you too young to know who the hell I’m referencing, he was the understanding dad on the 60s TV show, My Three Sons), who have no confidence in themselves. Others say it is chemical. Still others say a combination of the two. Maybe one traumatic event causes the lack of esteem, or perhaps a series of incidents and some synaptic sputtering makes our ego timid.

It doesn’t really matter. What does matter is that you can refuse to accept limits put upon you by yourself or by others. I won’t spout a bunch of pop psych bull and tell you it’s easy. Changing any ingrained thought pattern is never a cakewalk. But you can certainly improve the status quo and decide not to accept your limits.

With writers, I see this most often translate to fear of submitting work after it’s been completed. They write a book, then stuff it in a drawer, afraid to send it out to be judged, because they fear that judgment, if negative, reflects upon them personally. Or they convince themselves it is not good enough, or make up excuses such as, well, I am not really intending to be published anyway, just writing it to please myself. But most writers, deep down, want to be read by others. Or more to the point want what they write to be enjoyed by others. Of course, that becomes an impossibility if they leave their masterpiece in a drawer.

You have to take a chance. Not just in writing but in any area of life, if you want to truly live. Of course, if you are satisfied not reaching your potential or simply slaving away hours on something just to know you can do it, then, by all means, choose that path. But if you want to grab life by the balls, send the damn thing out. If your ego is inflated, believe me, somebody will be kind enough to stick a pin in it. And if your ego is suffering, then remind yourself that what select others think really doesn’t justify your belief in yourself or who you are as a person.

You have one life. Don’t shove it in a drawer. Don’t look to others to validate it, either, but certainly don’t let them take it away from you.

There’s a feeling when you are a child that lasts all too brief a time—it’s that moment when you run through the fields of your mind thinking you can do anything, be anything. You can even fly if you want to. You can be Superman or Wonder Woman. Maybe just once in a while you should let yourself try to find that place, be that carefree child again. If only for a moment. And especially in times when the universe seems to crap all over you. People, don’t leave that manuscript in a drawer; don’t let fear stop you from trying. And don’t let rejection or disappointment convince you it wasn’t worth it. Sometimes things don’t work out. Maybe often. But they never will if you don’t take the risk.

THAT choice is, indeed, yours.Howard HopkinsHorror, western, comic book author

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I am currently trying a new way of eating (forget about that nasty "D" word!). I am following the "Schwarzbein Principle" and learning ways to focus on creativity and taking care of ME. I am currently in Body Blissmas, a program started by Jill Badonsky. As I learn to focus on healthy eating and being happy and creative, I would like to help you do the same.

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