“If you want to be happy, be.”
– Leo Tolstoy
I try to avoid statements I perceive as “aggressive” like the one above. As someone who has depression and some low level anxiety, statements like this can be really painful to see and hear. Especially when I am already being critical of myself.
During those “down” times, it is extremely frustrating to face ideas like this because you feel ashamed of the fact that you cannot help yourself. Your emotions seem like a physical weight on your body and though you would rather be happy, it all is very exhausting. And then the cycle turns over again because now you feel bad for being tired.
It’s only recently that I have felt comfortable with using phrases like this in my life. When I do, I try to only do so when I am feeling good and am capable of seeing a statement like this as advice and not as a command.
Trying to form a positive outlook on my life and trying to be forgiving of my nature to be pessimistic, has helped me see that the two thoughts can have there place. While positivity can inspire and uplift me, looking more objectively at my situation has also helped keep me grounded and more focused. Tag teaming my pessimism and positivity allows me to make better plans and feel confident in executing them.
Again it’s about the balance we allow in our life. For my photography, some shoots benefit from a dark view point, bringing with it a different range of emotions and ideas then shoots where I feel more upbeat. I feel like that difference is seen in whether I produce color or black and white images.
Most of my color images are taken when I am feeling more positivity and inspired. The subject demands the focus and the overall intent of the image is clear. My black and white photography, is in birth, darker, but when editing I have to find more in the image to showcase and what is drawn out is the what I call the essence of the image that relies less upon the subject and more on the overall feel. These images I fee don’t speak as easily to those I share them with and tend to harder for me to share. I feel in the end I produce an image that is still positive but also full of more emotion.
Two perspectives that help me keep balanced in life and in my artwork. And achieving some idea of balance is important in our lives. Working towards that is difficult but not impossible. For many, therapy and medication are huge helps. Also good and reliable friendships. In the end though, we have to be ready to pull ourselves out and make those changes that will affect us positively and actually move us a little bit out of the cycle.
We can survive anything. We just need to learn balance.