Artists’ Negative self talk: Your Brain is listening
(Pssssst! I’m writing this post to myself. But we’re friends, so I”m sharing.)
I could fill a lake with all the naysayer comments I’ve heard from artists when they talk about themselves. You know the verbiage, right?
“Oh, are you a painter!” “Not really; I dabble and make a lot of mud.”
“Are you painting these days?” “No, I’m busy with other stuff, and besides, I suck at it.”
“Oooo, that one came out nice!” “Not exactly, look at how I mangled this figure.”
“Are you an artist?” “Me? I wish! I can barely draw a stick figure!”
Old Saying: Don’t Water the Rocks
Quit watering the rocks with discouraging, confident predictions of your own failure. The flowers are thirsty, water the flowers.
Tell your artist-self you can do this. Escort your Perfectionist Ego out of the room, stuff your Must-Be-Awesome-Sauce Pride in a cupboard.
Let your playful hands and fingers slide pigments around on paper or canvas with all the wonder and enjoyment of being a learner, a maker, a creative person, an artist.
Discard pre-set ideas about how your finished piece will come out, or who you’ll show it to, or whether the public will respond, or if someone will buy it. Each of those Masterpiece-Expectation-Filters will blur your focus and cloud your process-joy.
Lighten Up, Francis
Making art is a form of expression. It’s fun. It’s emotive. You’ll sleep better at night if you’ve made something. Get out of your own way with all that performance-worry-talk. Open those gates, and quit dropping a crusty old screen in front of the flow. Make something.
We are not rescuing kittens from a lion, or airlifting trapped flood victims, or performing life-saving brain surgery. We’re just making art here, folks. If your work doesn’t come out well, here is the solution: Make it again. And relax.
Feel the Joy
The term positive self-talk sounds all crunchy granola, dreadlocks and wood nymphs twirling in the sparkly forest. But really, why do we bury the pleasure of learning art-making under weights of expectation, or need for praise (from ourselves or others) or some other form of attaboy?
And here’s the kicker to that cycle; even when a kind viewer does step forward to offer a compliment, we often reject it and point out all the parts that need improvement or where we missed the mark. With this frequent pressure and brow beating, is it any wonder we don’t paint as often as we’d like?
Helpful Reading About Creative Confidence
- Why Saying is Believing; The Science of Self Talk
- Fake It Till You Make It: Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are
- Stressed out? Too Much “I-Talk” Could be Part of the Problem
- The Staggering Power of Self Talk on the Body & Mind
Deep Breath, Everyone
Take a deep breath, grab your art supplies, and go water the flowers instead of the rocks. 🙂
Thanks for visiting, and I’ll see you in the next post,
Finally I am coming to the conclusion that my highest ambition is to be what I already am. That I will never fulfill my obligation to surpass myself unless I first accept myself, and if I accept myself fully in the right way, I will already have surpassed myself.