Why it is useless to praise an artist for their work…

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… and is almost always harmful in more ways than indicated below.

Unshakable confidence in pursuing one’s calling is not incompatible with deep and persistent self-doubt.

An artist’s expression of  doubt may not, and probably does not, indicate the need for encouragement to continue in their work–it can be more existential, more a doubt at the heart of one’s very Being.

A gap can open between the sense of authenticity of the work, and of the self–and a growing feeling of achievement in the work, may be accompanied by a proportionate intensification of self doubt–as though the maker were not worthy of what they have made. Dismissing the value of the work, may not be about the work at all, but a defensive movement–a form of self-preservation.

There can be a paradoxical need to find in every work, a failure, a never ending failure, that both impels and insures continued creativity, and enables the artist to survive in the face of a growing realization that what one has made is infinitely more worthy than its maker.

This is likely true for any person who follows an authentic calling.

Photo of funeral pyre

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