Limiting beliefs. “I am not feeling the best today” days. We all go through them. I do too, especially as a creator. Being mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually invested in every piece of art I create, the mind has some pretty intense thoughts (both positive and negative) at times.
There are some days that are a total joy ride, I am loving this, don’t ever stop, sunshine, happy days. Then there are other I need to take a break, I need to step away from this, this is getting too much, hands shaking, tears flowing days. And there are normal average in between days.
When I first began my art journey, the mental blocks, the negative thoughts, the criticism really bothered me. I mean REALLY affected me to the point that I wanted to give up before I even got somewhere.
Now, as I am writing this, I realize that I am human. I am content in being perfectly imperfect. As an artist, I choose to be vulnerable and personal and share that with the world. And while I still get those limiting beliefs (less frequently than before), over the years, I have learned to embrace them, the best way to get through a feeling is to feel it. And why not turn that emotion into a lesson of growth? Why not reframe that critical thought into something positive?
Let me give you some examples:
Thought: I am a total failure. That didn’t work. Will I ever be able to create something worthwhile again? What even was the point of stepping out of my comfort zone and trying that new thing? It’s useless. How do I even call myself an artist after this?
Reframed thought: Failure in my work means I took the step out of my comfort zone, and I learned and grew from it. It does not mean I am a failure. It means I am brave to try new things and explore and experiment. It was a success because now I know what works and what doesn’t. And it was my first time trying this, I did pretty well. Now that I think about it, it was actually really fun. And that’s what art is truly about: having fun.
Thought: Oh great, here we go with the criticism again. It hurts. They didn’t like it. That means probably no one will like it. So, basically I created a horrible work. All my time and effort has been for nothing. Maybe I should just throw the piece away.
Reframed thought: Hmm.. that is someone’s perception and interpretation. After all, Art is subjective right? When I put my work about there, I leave it open for people to understand the meaning they want. Not everyone will like it and that’s ok. There are also people out there who like it.
That point is actually valid. That piece of criticism is constructive. I can use it to improve my work. After all, as an artist, I strive to learn everyday. I see now that that is their way of encouraging and supporting me.
Thought: It is not worth it to share my work. Why would anyone be interested in what I have to show? There is so much beautiful work already out there. And my work is different, and that’s weird. No no no, I am not clicking the post button. Bad idea. And plus, it took a while to create that, and people will that as a struggle, they will think I am slow. And I am not ready to share every detail of the story yet, and people would see that as weak. It is not worth it.
Reframed thought: My work is unique, it is the essence of my heart and soul. Is it scary to share? Yes. Is it scary to open up to the world? Yes. I don’t have to share everything all at once. I can keep some of the parts to myself. But I will share the parts and open up with what I am comfortable with opening up about. I will take it step by step and go at my own pace. But that doesn’t mean it’s not worth it. My work has the power to spread beauty, love and smiles and inspire others both creatively and in life. My work has the power to make the world a better place. And it is worth every second of the hard work, effort and struggles. I am confident in myself because I love my work. And that is the most important perspective.
The next time you go into that “not so good” place or your mind starts playing tricks on you, just remember its ok. It is part of your journey, it is leading you to a beautiful rainbow. There is a reason for it. Take a deep breath and look for something positive, something hopeful in it. You got this. And you are definitely worth it.