By Nicole Tinkham
We asked what your biggest struggle as an artist was and it was surprising how much you all agreed on what the top struggles were, one of them being your own worst critic. You don’t have to be an artist for this one though, so many of us get in our own way when trying to accomplish something big in our lives. The sad thing is, just when everything is going well for us it feels unreal and then that inner critic comes in and brings us back down from our happiness high. It all starts with one simple mistake, something every single one of us does. We say some negative words to ourselves (or someone we’re close to says them to us) and those words stick in our minds and we replay them over and over. The more down we feel, the more those words echo in our heads. You could feel stuck, depressed and unworthy of anything great. All of these are so far from the truth though. What you need to do is rid these thoughts from your head and realize just how amazing you are. Read on for how to stop being your own worst critic once and for all.
Stop what you’re doing!
Next time you find yourself saying “idiot” or “dummy” or anything else negative toward yourself, stop immediately. Is this really you? Of course not! It’s just that old playback from a past mistake that keeps repeating back to you. Start talking back to this little voice in your head. Counter the negative with some positive words (they always win the battle).
Here’s what I do: Write down any negative thoughts about yourself that are running through your mind. Cross it out and switch that phrase to something positive. For example, your first thoughts may be “My paintings are terrible and I will never sell any of them”. To flip it, say “My paintings are unique and there are so many people looking for exactly what I have to offer”. Now read that new positive phrase over and over until it replaces that negative voice in your head.
Another thing to do: Write yourself love notes on all your positive qualities. Keep reading those to yourself every single day until your mindset starts to shift and you believe in your good qualities over the bad.
Spend time with the right people
When improving your self-image, it goes beyond the thoughts in your head and in to the people around you and what they’re saying to you. There’s a chance that these negative words that pop up actually come from other people. Maybe it’s something you were told as a kid. Or maybe it’s more recent and there are people in your life who are constantly putting you down. Regardless of the case, that kind of thing sticks with you. Good news is, the opposite is also true. So spending more time with people who compliment your good qualities will lift you up and put those good words in your mind instead.
Here’s what I’ve done: I formed a new group of people who encourage me rather than put me down. I had to take a break with some of the people in my life (even family) so I could focus on my own goals and move forward. From experience, it really is incredible what can happen when you start being selective with who you spend your time with.
Another thing to keep in mind: Compliment and lift others up as well. It works both ways!
When you’re constantly putting yourself down and being too hard on yourself, you’re not being very nice to you which only promotes more negative self talk. But when you start loving and respecting yourself, you totally change your perspective of who you are. You see yourself in a new light. You realize how incredible you really are.
What you should do: Spoil yourself! It doesn’t have to be anything big and expensive, just do at least one thing every day that makes you happy. Enjoy those little moments that make you smile and remind yourself to take time out of your busy day to do them. Every morning I jot down a few things that I know will put me in a good mood. Sometimes it’s doing my hair differently or starting the day by listening to my favorite song. Those little things don’t seem like much but over time they add up and make a huge impact on how you feel about yourself. Remember, you deserve the best.
Being your own worst critic can hold you back from accomplishing so many things. With that sort of limiting belief, you won’t even allow yourself to dream big because you figure “what’s the point?” Now you’re even unhappier because you’re not where you want to be in life and you don’t think you’re good enough for anything better. These little negative words can quickly turn into a downward spiral. When they creep in, the first thing you need to do is stop that train of thought in its tracks and remind yourself of your amazing qualities. You can start doing these things right away. Give it time and you’ll begin seeing the shift.
Tell us, what other things are you struggling with as an artist? Leave a comment below!