A few years ago I was in my art studio and asked myself ,” What do you think you’re doing”? I had no idea. I wasn’t really paying attention, I was just going through the motions of making something. I wasn’t really enjoying what I was doing, but I had a goal– to get this painting done…. I had to get it done.
Instead of asking myself different questions, or taking a step back, the negative thoughts and talk started. Things like, “You’re wasting your time”, “This is no good”, “I can’t figure this out” came into my head. It seemed like it was a lot easier to pity, put myself down, and sink into a deeper hole rather than taking time to answer the question I really had:
What are the many solutions to this one problem?
I can be good at avoiding the hard work. Answering that question would have taken me more time and effort, and I was running out of steam, daylight, and patience. After many hours, I was still getting nowhere and making the same mistakes. Erasing. Wiping paint away. Re-drawing. Then finally stopping. Totally unsatisfied and upset with myself.
I didn’t finish the painting.
I never finished the painting.
I destroyed that painting.
I covered it up with many layers of primer and pretended the whole thing never happened. Right after that, my husband entered the room and said, “Why did you do that”?
What I wish I would have done was realized the power of my own thoughts and words and how they affect the way I see myself. I am really my own worst critic, sometimes. Instead of challenging myself, I held myself back from new discoveries about my art. I can’t get that painting back (which apparently my husband really liked). But I can change my own mindset. When things get tough in working on my art, or other areas in my life, I can do something about it.
How can we take what we know about ourselves and empower ourselves? Words have power, and so do thoughts. Instead of beating ourselves up with negative talk about what we should have done, or could have done, we could focus on what can be done.
The next time you hear that “little” voice inside your head, try this:
- Stop and take a step back.
- Take a deep breath (or a few).
- See what the challenge is and examine your choices.
- Go all in, and commit to finding the solution