Tuesday, June 12, 2012

When Should Revenge be a Motivator?

What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters
 compared with what lies within us. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

I've had a fantasy recently of proving someone terribly and horribly wrong. In this dream scenario, I receive some kind of accolade, and I dedicate it solely to that person who actively and vocally considers my work to be "awful" and "embarrassing." And I let the world know that this person never believed in me, and I invite them to join me in pointing out their foolishness.

While it is nice to escape into this fantasy every once in a while, it cannot be the sole motivator in my work. Motivation borne out of negativity will poison and sour, drive my work to need to be lauded and applauded by external approvers. Authenticity will be replaced by a rabid hunger to win. 

However, I cannot ignore my renewed drive and focus. So where is the balance? I can channel that energy I have seething under my skin away from revenge, away from the imagined satisfaction that the person comes to their senses (a fantasy in itself), and toward gratitude. Thank you for the motivation, I say. Thank you for the inspiration. Thank you for reminding me what it is that I love and live and breathe.

And then, I get to work.


  1. i think soul freedom comes when we're able to release wanting any external approval/feedback/support/etc.
    not just creative freedom, but full soul freedom. that's when we grow fully, find peace, and reach our creative potential.

    'cause it's really irrelevant isn't it? to what is within us and what can come from us. what anyone thinks?

  2. wow, I don't know what to say...
    the words in your comment were beautiful, but these are... astonishing!
    my dear, you're gifted!

  3. A person who actively and vocally considers another person's work "awful" and "embarrassing" is clearly not coming from a place of, I want to say authenticity but I don't know if that's exactly the word I'm looking for. Anyway, whether they know it or not, they've obviously got their own demons to work through.

    This is such a good reminder of how important it is to be conscious of our true motivations and how they in turn can effect outcome. I love that you've stopped and noted this negative motivation and are using that energy as a catalyst to redirect yourself back to a place of true self-motivation, it's all very tricky isn't it?

    In catching up on your posts I've noticed the recurring theme of opening up and "letting in the light". I think sometimes negativity can act as a beacon reminding us exactly where we might need to do just that.

    Also, I just wanted to add that you write so honestly and beautifully about things that we all go through or have gone through at some point in our lives. I think it's brave and as you're letting in the light you're also sharing it, so thank you :)

  4. Beautifully put and so very true!