How does one honestly assess their own talents without being either too self critical or completely delusional?
When I was in elementary school, the world was in the throws of the "tell all kids they're wonderful so we don't hurt thier feelings" phase. Everyone won, everyone got ribbons, everyone was praised. At home my mother hardly had anything good to say about me. I think she thought she was helping, but I rarely heard anything encouraging from her. Confronted with both extremes, it was hard to believe either were true. It was impossible to get a true picture of myself. I learned that when people say anything to me about me, whether it be good or bad, they are most likely blowing smoke up my skirt and that opinion could not to be trusted. I could never find that balance, because I never had a person who I could trust to give me an honest to god opinion: one that mattered and that I could believe.
I still struggle with that. I love my friends dearly, but I find it hard to trust when they say what I have created is good, because I always suspect they are just being nice. I look at my videos and think "Well, it's not Aardman quality". I see the flutteriness. I see the edge of scenery and the mysterious moving objects. I see my attempts at humor and think no one else finds them nearly as funny as I do. I read my writing and see how not Neil Gaiman I am. Or Amy Berg. Or Jane Espenson. I keep doing because I love doing it all. I have a deep down hope that something in that pile of muck is worth the space it is taking up and the time I spent on it.
Right now I am struggling again with my self image. I want to see myself as I am, warts and all, good and bad, and come out confident and happy with what I see. Am I wasting my time with all the crap I create? I love to create. I LOVE to create. It makes me deliriously happy, giddy even, when I make something. But what if I will never be good at anything? What if I am deluding myself into thinking I have a chance at being on par with Aardman, Gaiman, Berg et all? Or does that even matter? Should I be showing the world the humble progress so far, or should I be hiding my shame?
We are constantly being told not to base our self worth or our self image on what other people think of us. But how do you create an accurate image of yourself if you don't, at least to some degree? How do you see yourself if you are not allowed to look at the image that is reflected back at you?
How did you create your self image, and how has it effected what you do with your life?