We all start out so powerful. As children, we have to be taught to be ashamed or that we are bad at something. A toddler has unbounded courage and belief in themselves. If they didn’t have it, how would they ever learn to walk? Can you imagine if they had that internal critic voice? Oh no, I can’t do this. I’m going to fail. I’ll never get any better at walking. I should just give up right now and sit back down. – Never. They fall down and get right back up until they are running. Imagine what we could accomplish if we never internalized the critic.
How does this happen to us? When does it all go wrong? We aren’t born this way.
I don’t remember how it all started for me. I’m sure that you can’t remember that first instance of the voice either, but I do remember one person in particular. She had a strong effect on my self-image. She was a teacher after all. From her I learned that I was not an artist. Wow. Right. For decades I believed her.
From Julia Cameron and The Artist’s Way, I learned that she was my critic and I must kill her-metaphorically speaking. A part of that recovery was making a picture of her-crazy scary looking huh. But that is how I see her with that fake orange dyed hair and always frowning. Telling everyone what they are doing wrong without acknowledging the effort or idea. I do have some compassion for her as time goes past. Maybe she was criticized. Maybe she was a failed artist and couldn’t see the worth of others as being valuable. Okay maybe she was just an evil ‘B’. Who knows what she is…. I followed the path and don’t allow her to shape my self-image. She played into my fear (False evidence appearing real).
Still be on the lookout for these critics. They are all around you. They show up in your life to pour their negativity over your joy in being creative. Have you heard them? They say things like why are you writing a novel? You’ll never sell it. You’ll never make money at that. No one would ever pay you for that sculpture. They place it into the framework of being concerned about you. They worry for you. No, for personal reasons that you may never know, they want to dump a wet blanket over your dreams.
Kill them. Remove them from your circle of trust. If they do it once, maybe try them again. If they do it twice, STOP sharing with them. They are not worthy. Share with people who support you. People who will tell all their friends how wonderful and brave you are. Creativity and art do not require that others pay for it. All that is required is that it feeds your soul. Feed yourself and watch your skill and creativity grow.