This is universal to us all, this inner critic grappling, this rolling in the mud as I call it, no matter how “talented” or “accomplished” we are. As an artist, I like to use the process of creativity as an example of how this happens and what to do about it. We are all creative in some way, I believe!
This inner critic voice can catch us all by surprise, as we dive into a creative activity, no matter what that is. We start out as children, playing with crayons, singing, dancing freely, playing with crayons, musical instruments, painting, having the best time, loving the colors, the sounds, the feel of the movement as we dance…and then someone says something that rocks our world, makes us gasp inside, turn red from the shear horror….that we are not good enough or that we should not be doing this …thing ….that we love doing….being creative.
Then as adults we continue on, trying new things, being creative, and this voice comes loud and clear, no, you suck at this, or this is not good enough to share with others, or you will never amount to anything….the list goes on. The blank canvas stares back at us and we are blinded. We don’t move because we think have to do it all perfectly. There is a loud chatter in our brain that will not quiet. It has not been nurtured, cared for … this inner creative self, this gift of creativity that we all have.
We can all learn to use creativity to quiet their inner critic and move towards more self-compassion.
Creativity is a gift…sometimes we have shoved it way up and away on a shelf because of this Inner Critic, and if we are, we are drying up, overwhelmed and agitated. We need to access this gift. It is still the very same gift as when we were a child, uninhibited by the negative voices of comparison and “shoulds.” But we have to reach for it, dust it off and be brave enough to open that gift up. And we have to tell ourselves that our creativity IS IMPORTANT. If we have put it away, then obviously we believe a lie… that it is not important enough to use.
Question: Would you tell your most precious child that? That their creative spirit was useless, not important? Absolutely NOT!
Steps to Quiet Your Inner Critic
1. Develop the Habit of Saying Truth to Yourself
Start saying to yourself: My creativity is important to me and others. Practice it daily! And just because you do not “feel” that way, does not mean it is not true. In fact it takes a while for feelings to follow the practice of truth-saying. Yes, I said PRACTICE.
2. Allow yourself Time and Space for Creativity:
Set aside time and space to allow for you to dream about what creative activity you would like to pursue. Make time in your day, week and life for creative pursuits. Put it on the calendar and give yourself space in your home to have your creative projects out to work on.
3. Explore Creative Interests:
Take some classes, workshops, join a meet up that focuses on what you are interested in learning or developing. There are tons of neat things out there to play with and learn. Or maybe you have always wanted to learn to play the piano, learn how to garden, cook Greek dishes, or take an art class. One of the best ways to get over your fears is to take a class with others that involves a creative pursuit.
When you get to where you struggle with expressing what you have in mind through your creativity, (and you will), take on the attitude of the uninhibited child and say “I am going to do it anyway!” Jump in, and tell yourself, “it is only paint, paper” or “I am going to enjoy the creative process and not be so concerned about the end product”
5. Trust Yourself in the Mess
You have heard the phrase: “It will have to get ugly before it gets beautiful.” There always seems to be a stage like this in our creative pursuit. Learn to trust the process and yourself.
There is a time in my Intuitive Soul Painting workshop where it usually gets discouraging, mud tones develop and it does not look like what you expected it to. This is a time to step back, slow down and trust yourself, even if you are not sure what to do next. You will figure it out, you will progress and out of that experience something beautiful is birthed.
6. Embrace the Shift.
When you practice creativity you will notice a shift occur in your soul. There will be a sense of release, a sense of accomplishment. You need to celebrate this shift and your creativity. Find ways to share your creative projects with others.
Also be mindful of the changes you notice now that you are using your gift of creativity: What do you feel in your body, mind, and soul?
My free gift to you is a mini-creativity workshop: Intuitive Intention Flags. You will have complete instructions of how to make an Intention that quiets the Inner critic. It does not matter if you know anything about art, painting, etc. You can do this!! So have fun taking advantage of this free workshop pdf.
How do you get this freebie? Well, you get to go on a treasure hunt. The adventure is worth it, as there is a pot of gold at the end of the journey!
This Creativity workshop freebie is accessible through my link on my September 23rd video with Sheila Pai of A Living Family, as a part of the Free Nurturing You: Mindful Self-Care Retreat going on from September 15 – 28th. It is not too late to sign up and get all the wonderful interviews and be able to sign up for more freebies and giveaways. See my previous blog post for more info about this wonderful retreat and how to sign up as well as how to access the link for my free mini- workshop. You will also be entered into my giveaway contest for an original Intuitive Soul Intention Painting customized by me with your personal intention. Also available are two special offers when you watch my interview about Quieting the Inner Critic.
At Lighted Path® Coaching, I offer ways to help women connect with their creative selves and become more mindful and self-nurturing through coaching and creative immersion workshops and retreats.
I have two creative immersion retreats using Mindfulness & Creativity coming in 2015!
- Intuitive Soul Art & Yoga Immersion Retreat (3 days) (next one June 2015 in Ashville NC): http://lightedpathcoaching.org/art-yoga-retreat/
- Intuitive Soul Painting Workshop (3 – 5 days) (next one February 2015 in Raleigh, NC): http://lightedpathcoaching.org/intuitive-soul-painting/
- Coaching: Creativity, Entrepreneur and Life Coaching: http://lightedpathcoaching.org/creativity-coaching-life-coaching/http://lightedpathcoaching.org/entrepreneur-coaching/
- Right Brain Business Plan® Workshop (2 days) (next one January 2015) http://lightedpathcoaching.org/right-brain-business-plan/
Susan Miller, PhD, LPCS, NCC is a Psychotherapist, Certified Creativity Coach, Certified Kaizen-Muse™ Creativity Coach, Entrepreneur & Life Coach offers counseling, coaching & creativity workshops that light the path of your life journey through Lighted Path® Coaching and Miller Counseling Services, PC. Along with having 30+ years of counseling, coaching, and group facilitation experience, Susan is a life-time trained artist with a special interest in painting, mixed media and fabric art.