"You give out hope like it was candy in your pocket." This is a totally obscure quote from the movie The Postman, with Kevin Costner. I thought it was amazing, so much so that I remember pausing the movie all those years ago and giving that a thorough pondering. I decided I wanted to do that more than anything. That if I could pick a super power or a way to give back to the world, that would be my mission. Except I couldn't really give hope, because that wasn't within my scope. I could, however, try to make people happy in tiny but helpful ways. From jokes to being an ear or maybe helping quietly behind the scenes, I have cheered up many a person since that day in 1999. Sometimes it's easy. Sometimes it's not. Sometimes it's really really not.
And it saved me. People who knew me when I was young can tell you I did not speak often. When forced, and begrudgingly. I could go days without saying a word or stepping outside of my head during summer vacations from school. I had a lot to say, but I was scared to say it. I hadn't found my voice or courage yet. Through doing these things and writing and researching, I grew and friendships became easier. Toxic friendships ended because real ones grew and replaced them. And I really stepped out and started saying the things I was thinking, and learned other people were thinking them too and were also afraid to commit to an idea instead of an accepted theory. As a young adult I was looking for my place in the world and I was afraid to take the one that was right for me. Mainly because it was hard to explain to other people, and the loving consensus was that I should be more practical.
Every year since I made New Years goals of good deed quotas to hit and writing goals, and as I learned and improved, I got better at both. I've done some spiffy things overtly, anonymously, and usually to some degree of moderate success. One simple and relatively unnoticed line from a movie did that. It put my hopes and wants into a sentence and a coherent thought when I was much younger, and led to a lifetime of work and a mission statement that has affected many for the better. Myself included.
The arts are powerful. Math and science can change the world, but so can ideas. And through art, we can sometimes show someone just what they have been looking for. Some of us need a song, some of us a picture, and some of us just need the idea to echo in them and bring out something even better. This is why artists are so riddled with insecurity, because "helpful" people try to steer them to more tangible paths. Paths that make more money, but kill ideas. Careers that support luxury but reinforce greed and unhealthy living.
Stop doing that. Encourage your artists. They have a vision that can create even more good than they thought possible.