Read This if Your Creative Image is Taking a Beating

camera“If you hear a voice within you say, ‘You cannot paint’ then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.” Vincent Van Gogh

What goes on

Your work really matters to you, I get it, mine does too!

You want your creativity to move people and make a difference.

It doesn’t matter whether it’s words, art, photography, baking, movement or any other form of creativity that’s your thang, one thing is guaranteed, there will be times when you hear that voice inside that questions the very heart of what you do.

You’ll probably feel like suddenly everything’s tightened around you and your creativity is waiting in the wings for you to unlock it.  If you try to understand what’s going on, it will probably just make you tighten even more in a rabbit hole of loopy thinking.

You’re likely to feel it in your body.  I know my jaw clenches and I get this feeling like I’m holding my breath waiting for it to be ok for me to release my words and have them fly out of my mouth.   And whilst this is going on, my temperature seems to rise and I snap at the little things simply out of frustration that I’m holding back all this creative energy.

In those moments you are at choice.

Listen to it and feel the weight of it’s fear based thinking or release it and do it anyway.

Why it happens

All human beings have human needs – we want to belong, to be accepted, to feel that what we do really does have an impact.

Sometimes though, it’s those very needs that create our biggest delays and sabotages.


Because they can make someone else’s “potential” opinion of your work matter more than your own.  They can mean that rather than just create the work because it’s a complete expression of who you are in this moment, you keep re-starting, comparing, rehashing and tweaking instead.

The need to belong, be accepted, be validated, trumps self expression like a vice.

The simple truth

It’s just fear bubbling up as you release that part of yourself that’s wild and free.

It’s fear that comes from conditioning and believing there’s a right expression, a correct way and its based on perfected ideals that you hold for yourself.  How you feel your work should be seen and accepted by the world.

But the truth is it’s all illusory.

I know it feels real but it’s not, it’s just your imagination of false expectations appearing real.  Worries of the worst that could happen, memories and emotions from the past of when you perhaps screwed up or wasn’t seen and witnessed in a way that you needed at the time.

And the truth is that you are enough.  Your expression is unique and if you don’t express it in this lifetime you’ll end up wishing you’d found a way to silence that critic within that had you play small and hide your true light.

How to stop the beating

1. Accept Vincent’s wisdom. (A man who painted his whole life and never received tangible recognition).  You are at choice.  Do what you love, what your heart whispers or listen to your critic.

2. Thank your critic, gremlin, saboteur (or any other name you have for these voices) and acknowledge that these voices are here because you are being a leader in your life and allowing your heart to take centre stage.

3. Silence it by sending it away, soothing it or simply ignoring it.  Put some great dance music on and move your body.  As soon as you get out of your head and move your body your energy will shift.

4. Breathe.  Take deep, slow breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth.  Feel the breath fill your whole body and know that you’re breathing in inspiration and breathing out fear.

5. Do it.  Just do it.  There is no try, only do because it’s in the doing that you release the energy.  Thinking about it never works.

6. Notice every time you go to criticise your work.  Ask yourself, “Which part of me is criticising this?”  I’m guessing it will be your inner critic again and remind yourself that YOU are in control of this voice.  You don’t need outside validation or adulation to soothe it.  You just need to recognise it’s fear based thinking and let it go.

7. Look for the good.  Find what you love about what you’re creating.  What are you proud of?  What colour stands out?  What is a shining sentence that sparkles on the page? Find something, no matter how small and then allow that recognition to sit with you.  You’ll start to notice more of what’s good about your creativity.

8. Celebrate.  You create because it’s an expression of your soul.  That matters and the fact that you do it is awesome.  And in this way you will start to soothe the critic and redefine your creative image of yourself as someone who’s courageous, doing it anyway and willing to go the distance.

One thought on “Read This if Your Creative Image is Taking a Beating

  1. Great advice; I really like all your suggestions. This is a topic I think and talk and write about a lot, and I think you explained it beautifully. Kind of feels like there’s nothing more to be said on the subject actually! :)

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