Negative Self Talk
You’ve Got to Navigate The Storm
Despite our best efforts there are times that we are our greatest hinderance. This hinderance comes from a habit that destroys sooooo many art careers before they even talk. It’s the habit of negative self-talk.
When I first begin working with an artist, it often saddens me to hear how seldom they see the brilliance of their ideas or the importance of their work in this world. And all of this because we are often controlled by our relentless inner critic. Self-doubt and negative self talk are often protective mechanisms that we developed to keep us safe from rejection and abandonment.
Because we don’t want to risk rejection, we use negative self-talk to talk ourselves out of participating, experiencing, and trying.
You see our minds put up a red flag the minute we see that there is a risk, a risk of a bruised ego, a risk of feeling down. And you can’t blame it right? If you were steering a ship, wouldn’t you want the captain to steer around the storm as oppose to through it?
But growth and opportunity don’t work that way!
Recognizing Negative Self Talk
As an artist that has exhibited internationally and been juried into a number of shows, there were a lot of risks that I had to take. Those risks came with so much negative self-talk:
- I’m wasting my time
- The judges won’t appreciate my type of work
- I still have so much to learn
- The art industry is too hard
- I’m just not good enough
Where would I be if I let those thoughts govern my decisions… I wouldn’t be far at all, and that feels just as scary as not taking the risk at all!
If these statements sound familiar, negative self talk may be holding you back and making life a lot harder than it needs to be. But knowing that this might be the case is immensely important.
Because once you see it, you have a greater chance of changing it.
It’s Not Easy! But It Gets Easier!
Perhaps in life you learned that it was safe to follow a specific narrative. Maybe you were heavily influenced by the thoughts of family and friends. You may have experienced events in your life that influenced and, in some cases, scarred you. While you can’t change those experiences and influences, what you can do is learn to manage negative-self talk for the sake of your passion.
Because negative self-talk is where dreams die, it’s where art careers are destroyed before they even begin. And that’s not the road we want to travel
With awareness, practice, self-care, and compassion, you can change your thoughts and beliefs. Your thoughts and beliefs shape your behavior, and that shapes your experiences in life.
It’s not easy, but it gets easier!
Reducing Negative Self Talk
Can you reduce negative self-talk? Yes, absolutely! Will everything change overnight? Usually, no. But with time and practice, things will absolutely change. It did for me. Now that’s not to say that I don’t have days when I’d rather stay in bed and go ostrich style, but they are a lot fewer and far between.
Setting yourself free from the confines of your own limitations feels like a heavy weight is removed. Once you start learning to take control of your thoughts you take control your life.
Here’s How You Can Start That Process
Recognize: On average, we have up to 80,000 thoughts a day, and most of those, we aren’t even aware of. Listen to what you are telling yourself and the labels you impose upon yourself. Becoming aware of what you say is one of the most important steps.
Examine: Once you get more familiar, with some of the stories you’re telling yourself, try to examine it a little further. What is really behind this voice, where did it originate? Is it trying to protect you from something? What are you actually afraid of? Perhaps there is a way to address that.
Rephrase: Try to rephrase negative beliefs and thoughts into empowering thoughts.
- Turn “I can’t do it” into “I can do whatever I set my mind to with practice & effort”.
- Turn “I’m wasting my time” into “With time and dedication I will see the results”
- Turn “I still have so much to learn” into “The beauty of the journey is in the growth”
- Turn “I’m afraid of what they’ll say” into “I’m proud of myself for taking the risk to share my work with the world”
I guarantee you that if you continue to recognize, examine and rephrase – negative self talk will eventually lose its power over you!
When You’re Called To The Table
When you are called to the table, and you’re called to grow in some form, starting a business,
giving an artist talk, presenting our creative work to the world, self-doubt and negative self-talk inevitably will show up.
But it doesn’t have to stop you from achieving your goals and living the creative life that you desire.
There are tools and strategies to manage this, and I look forward to sharing more of these along the way.