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I have two questions for you: Pay close attention to how you answer each one, okay? Question #1: How much would you pay to hear me recite poetry for an hour?  _____ (Mentally fill in the blank with an answer.) Got your answer?  Onward: Question #2: How much would I have to pay you to come […]

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  • Alexandre - In this post there’s some recurrent self-worth and ownership thought process that is of value. But I have another question (based on pure curiosity) for you: what’s the psychology, if any, behind your topic unrelated photos in between blocks of text?ReplyCancel

    • Jeannine - A, I like the way you phrased that question, it made me smile :) I was surprised at the photos too! and then my mind wondered why? and then I thought: Poetry. Peaceful. Beautiful. So much history of poets inspired by nature / forests. I think the pictures describe the feeling I get from a pretty piece of poetry. So to me, the photos artistically add to the article in a lovely way :) Thank you for your encouragement, Jenika!ReplyCancel

    • Jenika - Hi Alexandre! Thanks for asking. I appreciate curiosity. I have several reasons for posting images that might seem ‘unrelated’:

      1) My blog breaks just about every rule there is about how long blog posts should be. This post is a notable exception – most posts average 1500-2000+ words, which most people in the blogging world would say is “too long.” Yet somehow, people still read them 😉 However, people do skim and skip ahead when they read online, or scroll to see how long something is. And when people see a long stream of unbroken text, they are more likely to abandon it altogether or say “I’ll read this later” (and never do). So I use images largely as visual rest between bigger points. Or, in this post, as a way to prevent someone seeing the second question before they’ve considered the first – as a hedge against skimming ruining the reading experience.

      2) So the above is ‘why use images’ but you asked ‘why are they unrelated.’ There are two big reasons. First, I hope to push back in the blogging world of posts being a quick hit of information, and hope to inspire people to ponder and consider. I don’t think of my blog posts as “posts” when I write them, I imagine that someone is actually sitting here with me in my office, or that we’re in a coffee shop or a classroom somewhere, and I’m telling them about something related to psychology that I think might help them. I’m personally deeply inspired by surroundings of nature, books, pens, ink, paper, and certain kinds of color. Such surroundings help me meditate and consider, and I include them here for that reason. Is that sentimental and perhaps a little self-indulgent? Perhaps, but pretty innocuously so. 😉 I’ve had lots of emails over the four years I’ve been blogging from people saying they appreciate the images for this reason though – that it’s a breath of fresh air, a rest, a calming presence, a unique thing to this site, or something that makes them happier, so I don’t think I’m alone in enjoying mood-appropriate photos of nature or book/word texture.

      The other big reason is – it doesn’t necessarily do a whole lot for me to go to, say, a financial site, and see images of money or business people shaking hands all over the place. Yes, people should include images and research bears up the idea that people are more likely to read things with images. But I don’t think trying to nail down abstract ideas into a literal depiction is the *only* way to go about that. I think images can set a tone and mood, but I think that can be achieved without showing an actual photograph ‘about’ your topic. My topics vary widely and most are quite abstract – this post for example, how do I depict a subtle confidence shift that undergirds your whole way of thinking and business dealings? A photo of someone in a cape or standing in a ‘power pose’? Wrong kind of confidence. Someone smiling subtly as they talk to a client? Maybe, but that’s also kind of general and the same photo could be added to posts on a thousand other topics, so does it really add a unique understanding to this one? Anyway, I think it’s fine when people use ‘stock’ photos well to show their topic, but given the intangible nature of many of these ideas, the high risk of cheesiness or overgeneralized boring-ness of trying to translate that into something photograph-able, and most importantly my own philosophy about what I want this blog to be, I go a different route. :-)

      Probably a longer answer than you bargained for! Have a fantastic day.ReplyCancel

  • Allison - This was perfect timing yesterday, as I was finishing my mini session announcement to go out this morning. Just the boost of reassurance I needed. Thanks!ReplyCancel

    • Jenika - So glad, Allison! :-) Always a joy to ‘see’ you around here. Hope you’re well.ReplyCancel

  • Robert Mullan - You have made a good point, however, I have met many photographers who totally overrate their work. In photography, I have seen examples of utter rubbish described in glowing terms by their talentless creators. I have eaten awful meals in overpriced restaurants, run by owners who knew more about marketing than cooking. I bought designer shoes that hurt my feet (never again). Used a ‘big name’ decorating company who made a mess of my house for an eye-watering fee. That was before I discovered a self-employed painter who put it right and charged me a reasonable rate. This man will NEVER be unemployed and still has a good standard of living from what he earns.
    I recently photographed the wedding of two barristers. They both were successful and both earned less per hour than I when I actually work. Each would be eminently qualified to defend me if I murdered someone. Which of us is overpaid?
    Yes, it’s nice to value one’s work, having confidence (very important) and taking pride are all good. When this value turns into unrealistic, grandiose notions – it’s just laughable.ReplyCancel

    • Jenika - Hi Robert – thanks for taking time to read the post and leave these thoughts. I agree that this value, like any, can be taken too far and must remain in balance. (Tried to indicate that toward the end with some hyperbole about not arbitrarily charging a million dollars; I have made the mistake in the past of overburdening a post with too many caveats and reminders and chose not to here.) I have also suffered from bad meals at overpriced restaurants, designer clothing that is poor quality or painful, etc. Certainly there is enough extreme to be found.

      Bringing it back the other way, the reason I wrote this is that I get relatively few of the overconfident types interacting with me around here, but I do get a lot of correspondence via comments and email from people who do have good work and who struggle for various reasons, who are just stepping a toe into the entrepreneurial world and are weighed down by guilt and baggage related to self-promotion, who believe their work is worth seeing but struggle emotionally as they mentally translate that into monetary terms. They whisper when they should speak clearly, and their feelings influence far more than they realize. This post is for them. The overconfident need no encouragement and would think our caveats don’t apply to them anyway 😉ReplyCancel

  • Brad Barlow - This is one of those posts that felt like it was written just for me. That’s heavy on my mind right now. Thank you for making me feel like I can stand up straight and just breathe.ReplyCancel

    • Jenika - Deep breaths! You’ve got this. Best of luck to you in finding the right mix of confidence, humility, hard work, and inspiration to carry you forward.ReplyCancel

  • Evan - Bam.
    That is all.ReplyCancel

  • Kristin Milito - Love this. It’s a healthier and smarter way of thinking! We truly do have to believe in ourselves and that what we offer is unique and special.ReplyCancel

    • Jenika - Thanks Kristin. I like little shifts in thinking that can make big changes. :-)ReplyCancel

  • Marit Welker - I needed this today, but I also needed the comments. I don’t lack confidence, but lately my work is not received as well based on my pricing, especially with the quality of my work. (Good but not great). So finding the balance is important. Thanks to you AND the commenters above.ReplyCancel

    • Jenika - Glad to hear it, Marit, and yes – thanks to Robert for commenting above and adding a new dimension on balance.ReplyCancel

  • Melissa - I can’t seem to accept this truth : Your existence is not a burden on others. I have a few creative talents and people are *constantly* telling me to go into business for myself. But every time I try, it fizzles out because I CANT charge people a fair price. I guess I see how those 2 things are related. It makes my husband and my best friend (a savvy entrepreneur) crazy. Cliché, I know, but it probably goes back to my mom constantly reminding me that she couldn’t wait until I was grown so she could live her life. She had it pretty rough, can’t blame her.ReplyCancel

    • Jenika - Big hug to you. Sounds like this is a big block for you, and I don’t expect to be able to wave a magic wand with a reply to your blog comment, BUT. It’s true. You’re here regardless of what other people think about that fact, and since you’re here, you might as well do what you are capable of doing, and let that support you. Yes, you can use your time and talents to work for other people, or not work at all, but you can also give your resources of creativity and receive others’ resources of monetary compensation in return. There’s nothing wrong with asking for that kind of exchange. Sounds like your mama wasn’t able to give you all the support that you needed, but in the end you’ll probably need to get to a place where you can see that her disappointments are her business to deal with and ultimately have nothing to do with you as a human being, creative soul, or contributor to this planet. Not denying the impact on you, or how hard that shift can be, but it’s true that you’re now an independent soul who can choose your own path regardless of what someone thought of you. Sounds like you’ve got a husband and BFF who are there for you now and you can enjoy their support now. Keep going.ReplyCancel

  • Kath - I too struggle to see my own value sometimes so this post was great for me. Feels crazy to be paid to do what I love when so many people don’t have the same good luck so feels like I am on this never ending see-saw of building myself up and believing in myself and then being brought back down by negative talk. Any ideas on how to keep things in balance?ReplyCancel

    • Jenika - What kind of negative talk is bringing you down? Your own, or others’?ReplyCancel

  • Rachel - Such great insight. I think the hard thing being a photographer is finding which monetary exchange for work provided is fair. There is such a wide gamut of pricing from those stepping into the market and not pricing very high to those trying to compete in the hard middle market.ReplyCancel

  • Cheryl - Wow. Yup, exactly what I needed to hear. Because yes, I’ve been guilty alot of feeling a lack of worth in my work, and I’ve seen the difference in the sale when I’m feeling positive and confident about my pricing and how I present it. Thank you. Thank you.ReplyCancel

  • Marisela - I greatly enjoyed reading this! Insecurity is such a sneaky emotion. Thank you.ReplyCancel

  • Sarah Cruz - Oh Jenika, Talk about timing. I messed up. I did a senior session which I haven’t in so long I forgot that I raised the price, so when the mom asked how much she owed I quoted the old. She questioned it and said, no that’s fine. Darn it! I raised prices because my skill level is higher and yet I let the creative drive instead of the business person who would have been able to quote tax and correct price. Ah well. I liked the visual I had on pondering the reading and hope that will stick with me for next time. Also, I adore the ‘unrelated’ image of the baby because she’s a blue eyed gush of beauty and I smiled to know you are all well. You’re writing always draws me in. Keep those well timed moving messages of love coming. Cheers! SarahReplyCancel

  • Seshu - Jenika – YES! Mindset has so much to do with success. Loved this short post. Sharing it with the world of course!ReplyCancel

  • John - Great piece! You now owe me $3.27 for reading it. LOL Just kidding, of course. You bring up very good points. Our own perceptions and bias can sometimes create an obstacle that only *we* see.ReplyCancel

  • Dawn - Jenika, you always give us much to consider. Thank you for this post. Pricing seems to be one of the hardest parts of running a creative business. On the one hand, people are trying to run a business, so they need to be profitable. It does take nerve to be at the top end of the market. But, creative folks are often sensitive folks and it can feel wrong to charge prices that are higher than the average. On the other hand, if they set prices too low, they are competing on price, which is not a good place to be. Plus, at the low end, a creative must work more hours for less money and the quality of clients might not value their work at all, which leads to frustration. What to do? The middle isn’t necessarily the best option, either.ReplyCancel

  • KarahC - I love love love this. This has been a real struggle of mine to learn how to truly value what I offer.ReplyCancel

When you go to sell something, there’s a piece of psychology that presents a problem. Most people aren’t even aware that this problem exists.  Let alone how to fix it.  But now, YOU will. It has to do with the way a client thinks about how much what you sell is worth. Specifically, the point in time that […]

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  • Diane - I really enjoyed this & got heaps of tips… thank you both :)ReplyCancel

  • Michelle - Thanks so much for sharing your tips.
    Great content from Psych for Togs as usual!ReplyCancel

  • Chris - My wife has just started giving the client our notes, so she’ll be glad to know there’s a psychologically sound reason for doing so :) So are you showing the client just one, all-inclusive package, and then eliminating individual items for them, as opposed to introducing smaller packages?ReplyCancel

    • Jenika - I’m pretty sure what Spencer does is show the all-inclusive and then tailor it down. As a wedding photographer, he has to discuss things like hours of coverage and other services in addition to products, so he can tailor it to people on multiple fronts. A portrait photographer could do that, or they could also just show three packages with the biggest first so that people see what they give up for less money, not what they get for more money, if that makes sense. It’s subtle but powerful, and at the very least often leads people to get a step higher than they otherwise would have.ReplyCancel

  • Dorothea - Thanks a bunch! That video really was very insightful. I will start applying some of these principals. Spencer is very skilled at taking personal experience and translating it into something that you can apply to you business. Thanks for your newsletters, they are always worth spending the time to read.ReplyCancel

    • Jenika - Thanks for the kind words Dorothea!ReplyCancel

  • Chrissy Michelle Strawn - I was called the owner of a telecom business I worked for back in the 80’s. That was highly empowering. I wasn’t the owner. But a senior technician. Jump to today. I am a closeted pro photographer. I shoot beautiful photos of people and objects.But I have a fear of going out to meet the clients I don’t yet have. On one level I am perfectly able to start a conversation with people. On an other level I am afraid of failure. I look forward to getting your tips that may be the impetus to spark my salesperson identity!!!ReplyCancel

    • Jenika - Chrissy – Spencer has something very cool coming out soon that goes through the process of sales backwards and forwards. Which is nice, because he’s not a salesy person at all, yet he’s successful, so he’s the right dude to teach this. So you might watch for that. In the meantime, I’d challenge you to ask yourself – if you go out and try and fail, are you any differently off than if you never tried? In the end the net result is 0. So failure is not really something to fear. I wouldn’t avoid something for fear of failure because avoidance guarantees failure. You might be interested to know that in some kinds of therapy, therapists have people fail on purpose so that people see it’s not really that bad or devastating. Anyway I hope that you stick with it and keep going! :-)ReplyCancel

  • Scott Hamill - What a great concept! I can almost imagine creating a product catalog that only has an “all-inclusive” package and an ala carte “removal” menu that lists how much the client saves when they remove individual items.ReplyCancel

    • Jenika - Thanks for the thoughts! I could see that too, what you’d have to watch out for is people who would, in that case, just want to go to the a la carte and build bottom-up. Which might be fine with you, but you’d probably need a rule against it because at some point your money needs to be made from the work regardless of the products that end up in their hands. There’s that tricky balance between making people feel like they can “save” money vs really showing them what you have and making it feel painful to give it up…that is a place worth getting to and worth experimenting with I think. I might have just one or two things they could “give up” but only those options. Since Spencer does weddings, customizing the packages is also a matter of determining hours of coverage + engagement sessions + products, and that might not totally work for portrait photographers for example. It’s a concept worth exploring!

      Let us know how it goes!ReplyCancel

  • Cindy Johnson - Janika and Spencer: Thanks for a very interesting and informative discussion.

    I’ve retooled my the investment guide for my wedding film business, leading with the most expensive and highest deliverable package first, with everything else below it slightly lower and with fewer offerings.

    I like the idea of starting with your best and ending with what would still be a very solid package that a client can start thinking they already own.


  • Madeleine Lamou - Brilliant tips, thank you so much! I’m in the process of revamping my packages and the whole client onboarding process, so this came in super handy. Thanks again, can’t wait to start implementing all the good stuff I’ve just learnt from you.ReplyCancel

  • Spencer - As always, had a wonderful time chatting, Jenika!ReplyCancel

  • Irene Cole - This was wonderful and so helpful! Thank you so much for sharing.ReplyCancel

  • kate callahan - Really helpful information. Thanks for sharing it! : )ReplyCancel

  • Hannah C - This is super helpful, thank you! I totally relate to the part when Spencer talked about not wanting to be a pushy salesman and would just point out the products like menu items and ask what they want to choose. I can see how creating an experience where you are both in the process together would be much more beneficial. So what does that conversation look like? Obviously it will vary based on the services/products you offer but do you have any tips to lead them into a discussion? I also LOVE the idea of starting the process before the session by having them think through and choose the products they are interested in. I guess I am still struggling with what the conversation at the ordering session could look like…ReplyCancel

    • Spencer - Start with questions, Hannah. Lots of them. Take the time to get to know people and really understand their needs, before you get to the point of a putting together an estimate or suggesting a package. That way, by the time you’re talking about the numbers, the couple will be in the mindset that you’re helping them through the process instead of just showing them costs. The extra trust you create will lead the client to see you differently than if a person were just to show what they do and talk about themselves, and it will mean that you can be assertive about suggestions and ask more questions about how they feel and what they like when you talk about the numbers, and they won’t see you as pushy at all – they’ll see you as helpful and caring. And if you take the time to get to know people deeply, that’s exactly what you’ll be.ReplyCancel

  • Derrik Ollar - I love the intellectual nature of your conversation with Spencer. There is far too much fluff in the generally available photo education out there.ReplyCancel

  • Larissa Fanti Bernardes - Very good Jenika! Thanks!ReplyCancel

  • Denise Karis - GREAT VIDEO. He’s fantastic! And so are you! <3 This is so so good!ReplyCancel

  • Michelle Solis - Some of the best info I’ve ever received as a Salesperson/photographer, Thanks a mllion.ReplyCancel

  • KarahC - Awsome tips, I have a lot to think aboutReplyCancel

  • Sara - Would/do you walk through the products first when doing IPS? Then let them look through images to make selections? Or would you show the preview slideshow first then the indidual images for selections and finally get them endowed with products?ReplyCancel

    • Jenika - There is more than one way to do it. I would familiarize people with products before they ever got to the sales session so they already knew which thing(s) they were buying, so that all I had to do in person / after the session was slideshow + selections. The slideshow is emotional so I usually did that before selections.ReplyCancel

Ever heard from a tired parent, “Trying to clean a house with toddlers in it is like brushing your teeth while eating Oreos”? Haha.  (Bless those little curious little havoc-wreakers.) Last time we talked about two habits that help maintain self-esteem (which itself was a follow-up to our chat about what self-esteem is and what it most definitely is […]

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  • Rosa - How timely! I have spent the day unsubscribing to every nonessential newsletter that came into my inbox and leaving every private Facebook group but my 2 uplifting favorites…. I love your posts! ??ReplyCancel

  • Nat - I feel like you wrote this for me. Just wanted to say thank you. <3ReplyCancel

  • Denise Karis - This is great. Thank you for writing it!ReplyCancel

  • Dawn - It is so difficult for people-pleasers to be assertive, as I can attest. I had to learn these skills years ago because I got tired of being a doormat. I still do feel bad for saying “no” sometimes, though, especially when it comes to charity or church. But there are only so many hours in the day and I’m not able to give to others if I don’t have some downtime for myself. When I say “no” in these situations, it is often because I am protecting some much-needed “me” time. That’s what I keep reminding myself. Thanks, Jenika! Helpful post, as always.ReplyCancel

Last week we talked about what your junior high textbook forgot to tell you about self esteem – that it’s not a single, internal thermometer, it’s actually made up of multiple components that can shrink or swell independently of one another. So today, when we talk about “raising” self-esteem, we know that it isn’t a simple proposition. […]

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  • Alyssa - This is so timely. I have been struggling a lot with some self esteem issues and habits along with really addressing and combating some negative automatic thoughts and beliefs. I LOVE this idea! Keep them coming please Jenika! ?ReplyCancel

  • Maria Manjelo - Very motivational website. Im glad I found it. Will be reviewing it closer. Thank youReplyCancel

  • David C - Interesting read that, after extensive research I found out its good practice to follow some worthwhile photography blogs and because of this I have been able to add new ideas to my personal development and marketing. Cheers for this, glad I signed up for your newsletter.


  • Mike Constantinou - Thank you Jenika,

    really good follow-up from your last blog post (& there’s nothing wrong with some Takei love!) Looking forward to your next instalment.

    Warm Regards,


    • Jenika - Haha, of course nothing wrong with some Takei love. Just that if I were aiming specifically for it, I’d probably post a lot more baby panda bear videos 😉 Hehe. Have a wonderful week Mike.ReplyCancel

  • Kath Scott - Jenika, your emails are one of the only ones I ever open and read right away! Probably because I know that I will always come away feeling more positive about myself and my biz. Just wanted to say THANK YOU!!ReplyCancel

  • Stephanie cost - Such interesting info. I struggle constantly with self esteem. In fact I think I’m currently avoiding growing my business by not doing anything to help it grow because then I can’t fail. I guess recognizing that is the first step, right? I’m going to work on the first two steps you have written about. Thank youReplyCancel

  • Susan - I always enjoy your writing style and insight!ReplyCancel

  • Cindi - Love this blog post Jenika! I have the bad habit of globalizing everyday in all parts of my life and wow, it is SO bad for my self-esteem! Just this morning when I was taking the kids to camp we had to stop by Panara for muffins for a quick breakfast in the car because we had no breakfast food at home. Right away my thoughts went to “I’m such a horrible mother – I can’t even feed my kids a healthy breakfast!” After reading this I can reframe it to “The reason we have no food is that the last 2 days I haven’t had time to go grocery shopping because we’ve been at the pool, had orthodontist appts, sports practices, hosted a baseball team pool party, and spent the evening reconnecting with other friends we haven’t seen in 6 months. A breakfast of pumpkin muffins does NOT make me a bad mom!” I think similar thoughts about my business on a daily basis as well. Although I don’t have an offline profile, I do have a Pinterest board with inspirational quotes that I look at when I’m feeling bad about myself. Keep the great info coming! Thanks so much!ReplyCancel

    • Jenika - This brought tears to my eyes. You’re definitely not a bad mom to give your kids pumpkin muffins <3 I'm so glad you stopped your mind in its tracks to see all the other wonderful things you've been prioritizing (activities, friendships, community, all things that make your kids feel safe and loved). You keep going on, momma, your work is powerful and important, and you're doing great.ReplyCancel

  • Robert - Good info & reminder in here & a good read. Thanks. :)ReplyCancel

  • Hippychickee - Finally, some answers and solutions that make sense! I have struggled with self-esteem ever since I was a little girl. Thank you for this information. I am going to give this a go. I’m looking forward to your next newsletter. Peace! ??ReplyCancel

  • Dan G - Jenika,
    Thank you for the informative post!
    I’ve always seeked out interesting things to do, visit and learn. These are my antidote for a fairly weak implicit self esteem. I love flipping thru my photo albums, remembering old friends and the fun places I’ve been. It’s like the offline profile you describe, and it never fails to bring a smile.
    I also appreciate the info about globalizing. I’ve considered quitting my photography business a few times. I feel like I spend a lot of time thinking about where I fit in, and that I’m chasing something I’ll never reach. I want to continue to fight but I don’t know how much energy I have left. This post gives me a tool to use. Thanks!

  • Jessica S - Absolutely perfect! Trying to manage my time while starting a new photography business has left me feeling I’m not good enough. As an OCD mom who USED to be organized this has been so hard. Thank you so much for all your helpful suggestions!ReplyCancel

Remember those junior high health textbooks – the ones that covered all kinds of then-awkward bodily system stuff? And how there was always a chapter about “Emotions”?  (Usually illustrated with six photos of the same face sporting different expressions.) In that chapter, there was usually a banal paragraph about Self-Esteem, which basically said: Self-Esteem is important. You should have some. […]

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  • Leeanne - Nicely said, clearly written
    I understood it all.
    I’m beginning to trust your judgement
    And let you guide me.

    • Jenika - Thanks for the kind words Leeane :-)ReplyCancel

  • Steve - Thanks a much for this article. Fantastic! So many people really need to read and digest this message.ReplyCancel

    • Jenika - Thanks Steve! I agree, I think a lot of people could benefit from a bit of info here…feel free to pass this post on if you encounter someone :-)ReplyCancel

  • Annie - FASCINATING! A book mark and read over and over again later when you need a little reminder about yourself!ReplyCancel

    • Jenika - Thanks for bookmarking! I find this stuff fascinating too, glad others do, too.ReplyCancel

  • Rick Bartrand - That opened up a lot of information that filled in some, much needed, missing peices. Thank you for posting.ReplyCancel

  • Joe Hymes - I just wanted to say thank you for the post on self esteem. It was just what I needed to read this morning as I deal with some issues in my life. It really helped shine a light on some things I need to work on. I look forward to reading you next post. Keep up the good work. Thanks again.

    Joe HymesReplyCancel

    • Jenika - Thanks for coming to read the post, Joe! I’m honored by your comment. Notes like yours are what make writing this blog so rewarding. Thanks.ReplyCancel

  • Dawn - Jenika, this post is brilliant. I’ve read a lot of self-help type books but never one about self esteem. And I had never given self-esteem a lot of thought. You explained these concepts very well.

    When I read this part,

    “And of course we want to spend less time doing things that make us feel lousy about ourselves. Sometimes, we avoid them. (Which is precisely why we might not ever get better at them.)”

    I couldn’t help but smile to myself. I have a confession to make. I am not great at keeping the upstairs of my house tidy. This is the kids’ domain and it overwhelms me, even when I’m not up there. So I’ve avoided deep cleaning the two rooms for a long time.

    But, this week, one child moved rooms (which included our painting the purple room a Teenage Boy Blue) and we assembled a monstrous IKEA bed for the other child. To accomplish all that, I had to face a situation that made me feel awful about myself – my seeming powerlessness about keeping the upstairs in order.

    The kids and I spent hours and hours going over ever little item in their rooms. We sorted, we threw away, we organized. The rooms are 95% done and they look tidy and neat. I can hardly believe it. What surprised me about doing all that is that by confronting the problem that I tried to ignore, I feel empowered. It truly feels as if a weight has been lifted off my shoulders.

    Thanks again, Jenika! I look forward to your next post.ReplyCancel

    • Jenika - Thanks for this fabulous story, Dawn! Oh, how that principle applies to so many things. And half the time when I start to do something I’ve been avoiding, I find it’s not as hard as I dreamed it to be. Or that I can manage it if I ask for help with the tough parts. We are capable of so much more than we typically seek to accomplish, it’s just amazing. Anyway, hope the final bits of the home makeover go well! Sounds awesome! Enjoy your home + family.ReplyCancel

  • Michelle - You explained it in simple enough terms but it *feels* much more complicated and dependent on inside and outside forces beyond our control. I haven’t thought about self esteem as something I could consciously improve overall.ReplyCancel

    • Jenika - Oh it is complicated, for sure, and there are a lot of forces at work. The good news is you can take some control though. There are some legitimate, empirically-validated ways to do it, too. Hope you come back for the next post. :-)ReplyCancel

  • Amanda - This was enlightening. Looking back I can definitely see how this works in my mind. Thank you. I’m looking forward to hearing how to raise self esteem.ReplyCancel

    • Jenika - It’s cool, I think, when you learn some definitions or structure for something, and it helps you see past experience in a new light. See you again next time!ReplyCancel

  • Daniel - I think this article really helped me to get a different point of view of myself. Right now I’m just in that crucial moment of becoming a photographer (after quitting to my engineering office work for 10 years) and feeling very bad about thinking that I may not be a good artist. However, after analyzing the reasons, I realized that at least for me, it is very important to have a good feedback from others about my work, and specially those who I consider professionals photographers. And that’s the case with this social media page (500px) where I been trying (and somehow failing) to get a good score on my work. It is really depressing to post something that you consider as a very good work and get such a bad review… How ever, I understand that I may not have a good rate when it comes to woman body and sunset pictures but at the end of the day, photography is not just about that but many other topics. Maybe Robert Capa wouldn’t had have any good score at 500px as well, who knows… And this somehow raise my mood, but not for long.ReplyCancel

    • Jenika - Hey Daniel – thanks for sharing some of your experience with us. Good on you for seeking feedback – that’s a great way to improve. (And don’t worry, if you were *overly* concerned with good feedback, you probably wouldn’t post anything at all, it would feel like too big of an emotional risk, so well done). You might find a few different outlets for feedback, too, just to get a spread of ideas and suggestions. Sometimes running with one crowd only can get you just a narrow set of thoughts, good to have a variety, I think. Keep at it! Thanks for your note.ReplyCancel

  • Moira - Your posts never disappoint. xxxReplyCancel

  • Charlotte Reeves - Jenika, as always, you’ve made me think! I’m going to pay more attention to how I’m feeling and thinking about things on a daily basis and see if I can identify my self esteem types/levels etc. I will try and remember to report back!ReplyCancel

    • Jenika - Major hugs to you Charlotte. Hope you’re having a good week.ReplyCancel

  • Carol Yamada - Thanks – this is a though-provoking post that ties into things I’ve been pondering lately. Eager for the next one!ReplyCancel

    • Jenika - Glad to provoke some thoughts, haha. :-) See you again here soon, then!ReplyCancel

  • Kelli + Daniel Taylor Photography - Thanks so much for tackling this common but rarely discussed issue for artists. Can’t wait for the next installment.ReplyCancel

  • Allison - Great post, as always! So relevant to every part of life, and to everyone, not just creatives. I shared it on my personal FB page because there are lots of people who need to know this stuff about self esteem. Can’t wait for part 2!ReplyCancel

    • Jenika - Great to hear from you Allison, and thank you for sharing! You’re the best. <3ReplyCancel

  • Larissa Bernardes - Once again, you nailed it! I’ve been avoiding.
    Will keep an eye on my feelings, relating them to what you wrote.


  • tanya smith - Oh, I’m totally high implicit, but low explicit self-esteem! I can’t wait to hear what you have to say on how to improve it. :)ReplyCancel

  • Angelique - Hi Jenika,

    Thank you for another thought provoking and highly valuable post. It couldn’t have come at a better time, as I’ve been working on improving my self esteem for the past week. I never knew just how complicated it can be, and I love that it’s not as Black and White as I originally thought.

    Thanks again! Have a lovely day. :)ReplyCancel

  • Annabel - This article brought me such relief to begin to understand that it’s perfectly normal to have such swings in emotions about myself!ReplyCancel

  • abbie - what an interesting article.I think a lot of us would like that magic wand, but it’s not thre, at least I have never found t!ReplyCancel

  • Carol - Jenika, this piece brought into sharper focus for me an exploration of the continuous, unsettling feeling of seismic shifting I experience between feeling I’m worthy/not capable/not, creative/not, and on and on.

    The unconscious is one sneaky bastard. I sometimes feel that if I could only bring its dark, mysterious machinations to the light of the conscious I could figure out how to exorcise my demons and burst forth into a field of unbounded imagination, enthusiasm, and joy.

    Coming from a spiritual perspective helps somewhat to feel less locked in and hopeless, but what a liberation it would be to learn how to use knowledge about the unconscious to provide an alternate route to freedom; after all, it knows the deepest, darkest, truly important things about me. I’ve often heard it said that when we unintentionally do something that feels good but ultimately sets us beside our proclaimed path of intention (like downing a shot of tequila 20 minutes before a speech to a group of investors) that we are sabotaging our efforts. I don’t think so. I think that what we are doing is more linear and comprehensible: filling a deeper, more primal need — to feel safe (even if somewhat anesthetized), invulnerable and secure. So I suspect that in some way, understanding our unconscious, even indirectly (like a deer’s hoof prints in the snow tell of its visit), may be helpful in shining light on our behaviors, anxieties, and challenges.

    I know this is rambling and getting off topic, but I want to say that I love this article and line of inquiry you are on, and your exploration about self esteem and the role the unconscious plays in it. I hope you will continue with your archaeology of the subconscious and unconscious, for I find you a most lucid, artful, and articulate writer about these things that really matter. I mostly want to know: how can I utilize this treasure chest of all my deepest and darkest truths in a way that leads me to light and clarity rather than simply as a fall guy for my most unwanted fears and behaviors?

    Love and respect to you.ReplyCancel

  • Marina - Hi, Thanks for posting this article. Art and especially photography for me is a real remedy for peace and joy. PicsArt is a place where a lot of people find ways to express themselves and raise their self-esteem. Hope you will check the following link and will find what you were looking for: