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Overcome Your Inner Critic with Self-Compassion

february 5th, 2020

As an artist, it's easy to get caught up in your own expectations. You want to create your best work. But being able to produce at 100% all the time is impossible and unrealistic.


However, it's really easy to forget this and as a result, you blame yourself. 


If these feelings aren't addressed, you may find yourself in a slump or creative block. Maybe motivation is low, you're not happy with your work, or you're trapped in a cycle of perfectionism. 


It's important to take a step back during these times and face your own worst critic with kindness and compassion. 


Don't Beat Yourself Up


Being a creative is hard! Some days you have more juice than others. It can fluctuate based on a number of factors that sometimes, you may have no control over. Instead of trying to figure out why you don't feel inspired or why painting suddenly feels like a chore, acknowledge the feelings as a sign to slow down and regroup. Just as you wouldn't scold a child in art class, don't scold yourself. Instead, find out what it is that you need in that given moment. 


Take a Break


Overwhelm is usually a sign that there are too many negative emotions at play. If you've ever felt like there's too much on your plate or too much pressure, it's a good time to take a break and give yourself a chance to breathe. Remember that breaks are a necessary part of the creative process. Listen to the signs that your body gives you!


Celebrate the Little Wins


Achieve big goals by celebrating small wins. It's easy to forget how much progress has been made when looking on a small scale. However, growth as an artist is achieved by taking daily, intentional action. Give yourself credit for completing tasks that you may normally overlook as being insignificant. Pat yourself on the back for painting for 30 minutes when you wanted to sleep in. Acknowledge yourself for showing up when you don't want to. Understand that all effort eventually equates to progress. 


Be Patient with Yourself


This is a big one. Learning to be self-compassionate takes time. If you find yourself resorting to negative self-talk after a bad paint day, that's okay and perfectly normal. Your inner critic won't be silenced after one try. But with continuous effort and self-awareness, that inner voice of doubt and hesitation will become quieter and quieter. Be patient with yourself on your journey and the change will happen. 

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