Recently, "I don't care" has become a liberating statement for me. Now, please don't misconstrue... I don't mean it in an apathetic, lazy, or unintelligent way. I abhor it when people say "I don't care," meaning they have no opinion about anything, or are not bothered to think/do anything because they are too lazy to exert the effort. That's not what I mean. What I mean is...
When I see work (that I think is not-that-good as mine) featured in a magazine that I wish to be featured in, I will say, "I don't care. I'm still going to do my best whether I am recognized in this particular magazine or not."
When someone acts appalled that I actually sell my work for (at least part of my) living (since they think I should do them a favor and give them free paintings) I will think to myself, "I don't care. Even if you don't value my art, I do."
When I send out a million inquiries to galleries, exhibitions, etc and my inbox shows 0 replies, I'll say "I don't care. Sharing my work with others doesn't depend on others' willingness to reply. It depends on my initiative."
When someone strongly recommends that I paint this or that, or that I not paint this or that, I say "I don't care. I paint what I paint because it's what's in my soul. I'm not going to be fake to satisfy a trend, go against a trend, or to make people like me more."
So I guess basically I've learned to be more true to myself and my vision instead of letting others dictate my actions or me pandering to others' requirements. Believe me, I used to be chained to the effort of pleasing everyone, and it was a huge burden to bear! If I keep working hard to perfect my craft and my skill, the recognition will follow naturally later on. At the right time. I don't have to chase anything but improvement of my own work.
How about you? Do you feel defeated or imprisoned by what others expect or what they think of your art? Why don't you try saying "I don't care"? It might set you free in more ways than you think.