a painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior.
(of a person, action, or situation) make (someone) feel ashamed.
(of a person or their conduct) characterized by or showing a lack of shame.
I used to be a shy, nervous kid. Hard for some people to believe, I’m sure. I wondered what people thought about me all the time. I never wanted to speak up or do anything that called any extra attention to myself. I was carrying around shame for reasons I don’t know about now. I can remember the first time I didn't feel any shame. It was when I shared my photography. I was always very self-conscious about my creative projects. Especially being the child of an artist. I felt like I didn't have it. I couldn’t draw or paint. Don’t ask me to make something with my hands. But I felt different when I started sharing my photography online. I was proud of it. I never once thought “what if someone doesn’t like it?” or “what if people make fun of me for taking photos?” I just kept shooting and sharing.
Now I am a social media consultant and avid Instagrammer and I always come across people saying “I’m not a photographer” when it comes to their lackluster photo skills. My response is always the same. “You don’t have to be a photographer. All it takes is a little attention and intention and you can take great photos.” I am usually met with a “whatever” blank stare and that’s the end of that. But it got me thinking. Why is there such kickback to people trying a little harder when taking photos? And then I remembered a podcast I listened to with Elizabeth Gilbert and Brené Brown.
“Creativity is the way I share my soul with the world,” Brené said that within the first three minutes of the podcast. "The only unique contribution we will make in this world will be born of creativity. There is no such thing as non-creative people. There are people who use their creativity and people who don’t. Unused creativity is not benign.” If you are unfamiliar with Brené’s work in the realms of shame and vulnerability, she realized that people’s creativity gets stifled in childhood and shame is then built in its place. Eighty-five percent of people Brené interviewed remembered an event in school that was so shaming that it changed how they thought about themselves for the rest of their lives. Fifty percent of those same people say those shame wounds were about creativity.
So, what is the correlation between this and people not wanting to learn to take better photos? I think that maybe somewhere deep down it is hitting people’s shame spot around being creative. Maybe they think it’s silly or a waste of time to learn how to set up a shot or learn how to edit a photo. Or maybe it’s reminding them of the creativity that they have been holding back within themselves. Patrick Janelle, a very popular Instagrammer, once said that Instagram is very democratic because we are all using the same devices to create and consume content. You don’t need thousands of dollars worth of equipment. You don’t need a degree in art. All you need is your phone. I hope that people can work through the shame around creating and just do it.
This month our writers will be sharing stories of shamelessness. From living life unapologetically to working their way up that confidence ladder. I hope by the end of this month you too will be a little bit more shameless.