You see, I've always had a difficult time calling myself a writer. I want to say it's because writing is not my primary source of income, but that would be a lie. I know deep down that it's because I don't believe I've earned the title; even though I have written several articles for publication, maintained an online magazine for 5 years, maintained a blog for over 8, writing was a part of my responsibilities at my former employer's, and it's what I now do full time. The truth is, I hesitate to call myself a writer because I am yet to be affirmed by a major publishing house. It's the struggle most unpublished writers go through, so I know I'm not alone, but it still bothers me because I don't need that kind of affirmation in order to own my "writer" status. My readers already know me as a writer and they are the ones who count the most.
But still, the incident had me thinking of all the ways we sell ourselves short when we wait for someone in "authority" to tell us we're good enough, when we already know that we are. We all struggle with affirmation in some area of our lives. Whether it's waiting for someone to tell us that we're smart enough, pretty enough, or creative enough, we need to learn what I learned: If we accept our own truths, others will too. Having the acknowledgment of someone in authority should only be considered icing on the cake. In the meantime, start baking the cake and showing it off proudly, with or without the icing.
I hope you start thinking about all the ways in which you hesitate to own your creativity, and remember that you only sell yourself short when you do so. Of course, also remember that just because you say you are does not mean that you are if you have nothing to show for the fact that you are.
Have a blessed and fruitful week ahead!