I have been involved in art one way or another my entire life.
As a child I used to make my own picture books from random pieces of paper, held together with scotch tape and kept them safe in a box under my dresser, where only I could revisit them, edit them and create more.
As a teenager, I worked a whole summer to be able to pay the tuition for a class about masks and alebrijes (paper maché Mexican folk art, see them at mayrazanza.com) and I started creating my own fantastic creatures. I had dreams of displaying my work to the world, in my own gallery, explaining to the audience the inspiration behind each piece, but I never did, thinking "nobody will actually like your work".
I also created original characters and comic stories that are safely kept in a plastic bin in my storage, seen by only a handful of people. All those stories have something in common: although I was eager for the world to see my work, I was too self-conscious to actually show it, so most of it I kept to myself.
Because art is so personal to the artist, I wasn't ready for any negative or not too flattering feedback, so I put everything in a box or worse: after showing it to a group of people and getting the best feedback, if only one person said anything bad about my art, I just stopped.
So there you have it: my biggest mistake as an artist was to take feedback too seriously.
It wasn't until I read Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray that I found the words of encouragement I needed to hear as a very young artist: "It is the spectator, and not life, that art really mirrors. Diversity of opinion about a work of art shows that the work is new, complex, and vital. When critics disagree, the artist is in accord with themselves."
Go ahead and show your art to the world, it doesn't matter what they think. What matters is that you made it, and that it is a deep part of you. It takes courage to show your vulnerability to the world. You may think it's not perfect and it very well not be, but it's worth the try.
After all, success is a Mistake that never gave up.
*Edited to make the phrase gender-neutral