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“Who Do You Think You Are?”

In the last few months I have been immersed in creating a body of work. Throughout the process and from my own experience, I have learned a valuable lesson about the creative process. The assumption is that in order to produce work, you simply show up in your studio, be productive, put in the hours and you will produce work. Although that is an important aspect of it, what I’ve discovered is that each day I choose to create, I not only experience creative fulfillment but more often than not I am faced with an internal battle zone. I come face to face with doubts, fears, self-judging and especially that voice that repeatedly questions what I’m doing. I’m sure many of you are familiar with that voice. The one that says: “Who do you think you are? Do you really think you’re creating something worthwhile?”

Most art and design programs usually don’t equip us with the skill to constructively work with that negative voice. Instead, we master the skill to muscle through those doubts and fears versus really learning how to embrace them and work with them.

One of the keys to mastering these feelings is developing the skill to become comfortable with the discomfort that comes from insecurities and fears. Developing an acceptance that these fears will always be there and most importantly embracing them as part of the creative process. Having doubt and fears is not a sign that you are not talented, capable or creative enough, but that you are embarking on something deeply meaningful to you.

Why is it vital to our creativity to learn how to constructively work with our fears? Well, for me personally, I have found that when I make the conscious choice to surrender to the fear and I sit in that space long enough, something emerges. I tap into my most authentic and real creative self. I then have the opportunity to access some of my most creative ideas, instincts and expression. Although it’s not always easy to do, I realized if I let myself ride the wave of my own fears and doubts, I reach a point where it becomes easier to work with. That voice that was once screaming, “Who Do You Think You Are?”, becomes fainter.

If your creativity has been stifled or paralyzed by your own fears and doubts, why not try on a new perspective. Tell yourself it’s: “Okay, they’re suppose to be there. They are part of the creative process.” And then create nonetheless. The better you become at mastering your fears and doubts, the more you will be able to access your true authentic creative expression.

Cover image and top image from Shutterstock and The Creative Finder.

This is a cross-post from The Art of Mind.

Lisa A Riley, MA, LMFT is a Creativity Coach and has spent more than nine years working with creative individuals such as artists, actors, designers, musicians, writers, and actors. She “helps to empower clients to take steps towards enhancing their creativity and move closer to becoming the artist they envisioned themselves to be”. See her multiple ‘Products for Your Creative Success’ on her site The Art of Mind.

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