“This is not good enough.” “What are you doing? “Why do you even try?” “Who do you think you are?”
Do these questions sound like ones you ask yourself? Too often, we’re our strongest critics when we should be our own biggest champions.
But, how do you create your own brave space to be creative? I’m working on it.
ONE: BEING BAD CAN BE GOOD.
First, I let myself be bad at whatever I am doing. (That takes practice. But, once you get the hang of it, it’s liberating.)
There is so much comfort in being bad at something because we aren’t meant to be perfect at everything. We have a tendency to cut ourselves down before we have even tried because “trying” means we might “fail.” (I put that in quotation marks because the definition of “failure” deserves its own future editorial.)
Every time I get started on something, I dump out whatever it is that I am afraid of. If I am starting a painting and am terrified of it not being good, I jump in with a splatter. No time to think, control or judge. It’s a natural move and reaction.
Even as I write this, I let the consciousness flow. I can edit this later, but not getting started will never get it done. No matter how you start, scribble, chop vegetables or whatever way you decide to use your creative powers, just jump in.
TWO: … NOPE.
Next, when I feel myself starting to judge myself, l literally say “nope.”
It changes day by day, but “nope” halts my negative thoughts. It creates the inner silence I need to create. At the end of the day, these judgments and critiques are not mine. They are the words of other people, the internalized fears and projections of others that I have absorbed and am reflecting back to myself.
So, the moment I hear the critique, the angst and judgment creep in, I stop it with a simple … “Nope.”
There is so much power that comes from protecting my inner creative – the person who I connect with when I am making. It’s so much easier to feed into the negative thoughts of the inner critic, but think of who that inner critic is talking to. Imagine if someone spoke to your best friend like that. You wouldn’t, would you? Exactly. Moving on.
Of course, this is not an easy process. It’s not one thing that fixes all. But, it’s the way I allow myself to be brave with myself, so that I can allow others to be brave with me. Creating that space takes time.
THREE: GIVE YOURSELF GRACE.
Lastly, I give myself grace (when I remember to do that). Grace is tough because we are constantly in motion; the world will not stop for any of us, and the people we follow on social media may never seem to stop, either.
In the presence of grace, you can close your eyes and breathe and relax your shoulders. Unclench your jaw. Take a big stretch. We won’t always be able to allow ourselves to be bad at something. We won’t always be able to stop our inner judgments.
The key is being able to give yourself the goodwill you’d likely offer others.
This editorial was written by Makayla Binter, communications manager from Charlotte Is Creative.
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