In my last blog, I introduced 6 behaviors that interfere with our creative expression. In her book The Muse Is In, Jill Badonsky affectionately calls these The Duhs…because we know what they look like, but we do them anyway. Silly us.
I’m sure you are familiar with the little voices inside our heads that wander around, bonking us with sledge hammers whenever we risk a creative new venture. We know what they sound like…”What do you think you are doing? This looks horrible! People are going to laugh until they fall down. You are no good, you have no talent, you should give up while you are ahead/“ Etc., etc., and so forth.
These are the voices of Negative Self-talk. We can also call them the Inner Critic. They are very effective in stalling or blocking creativity. The truth is, they are just doing their job—which is to traumatize us, to freeze us into pillars of inaction before we do something foolish to ourselves that would Really traumatize us. If we look at them in this way, we can see that they are warrior-like, tenacious, and determined….to protect us!
But they are tired. They are desperately in need of a vacation. So instead of hating them and wanting to banish them, we can learn to work with them. In time, they can become our allies.
So here is a fun, creative exercise, designed to acquaint you with your Inner Critic and give you a little peace and quiet so you can go out and create.
- Find a quiet place, where you can sit down for a little bit and not be disturbed. Close your eyes, take some nice deep breaths, feel the stress leave your shoulders. Breathe….breathe….
- Invite your Inner Critic into the room. Take note of whether it is a he or she or an it, its appearance, and its general mood.
- Ask what its name is (prepare to be open and a bit surprised here).
- Ask what its job is. Ask how it feels about its job. (Trust me, you will undoubtedly hear a general sense of fatigue in its response.)
- Ask what it would rather do. Be prepared for requests for vacations in far-away places, generally with hammocks, palm trees, or other unreasonable luxuries.
- Let your Inner Critic go to that place. Bid it a fond farewell. Imagine it there. Keep imagining it there.
- Notice the Quiet, the Peace that happens. Breathe it in.
- Now go and create!
This is just one of the strategies you can call upon to stop beating yourself up. Stay tuned for more…or contact me for some Creativity Coaching.