How to Stand Up to Your Inner Critic

We all have two different voices inside us: one that is positive, and one that is critical; one that lifts our spirits up, and one that weighs us down. Both voices have a role to play. The Ying and the Yang.  The play of emotions.  Our inner nurturer brings self-compassion and encouragement, while the inner critic helps you recognize where you’ve gone wrong and what you need to do to set things right. This is crucial in the learning process, but for most people, the inner critic goes way overboard, throwing dart after dart of scolding, shaming, nit-picking and faultfinding. Sometimes the negative voice is louder than the positive one.

Happily, there are good ways to reset this balance by restraining the critic and strengthening the encourager inside yourself.

These two voices play in our minds while we are creating.  There is always the battle of being good-enough, creating good work versus dismissing yourself that your work is not up to par.  Most voices come from the past, such as an art teacher saying your work is not good, or a stranger that says their 3-yr old child can paint the same painting. 

When you hear this in your head, remember that Picasso (well-renowned Spanish Painter) quoted that “It took him 4 years to paint like Raphael, and a lifetime to paint like a child”.

Think of all you have accomplished or overcome in your life.  Whether it being moving to an unknown city and starting over or standing up in front of a crowd to introduce yourself or baking a cake you have never done before.

As an artist, we are always seeking to create.  Creation takes time, practice, study, and failure. As we go through our work, there will be uncertain times, and mostly times when we are tripping on the unknown.  I would, therefore, relax, take a breath, and move on to the next.  Recognize that you are working through this creative process and sometimes the vision and hand do not connect but keep going at it and do not give up.

Remind yourself of past accomplishments, struggles that you have conquered and realize that this is just paint, or crayon, or pastel, or graphite. Everyone can be creative and the objective here is to have fun, to connect with your inner spirit, and most of all,  to enjoy the journey of creating art.   Keep creating!