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Valery Satterwhite : The Artist Soul Can Be Kidnapped by the Inner Critic

The Artist Soul Can Be Kidnapped by the Inner Critic

By Valery Satterwhite

For many artists, challenges are very personal. And one of the biggest challenges is the Critic in the room, the Inner Critic. This gnarly Inner Critic is the voice of your self-doubt and fear. It is the emotional ties that bind you, hold you back, keep you stuck, limit you in what you think is possible for you as an artist. This Inner Critic will critique and beat you up more than any audience or perceived expert ever will. If allowed, this Inner Critic will suck the life force right out of you.

"Being true to yourself is what feeds creativity, not self-doubt and criticism." — Diane Arenberg

Why? Because it is a very frightened little creature. It acts nasty as a defense mechanism. What it really wants to do is crawl under a bankie with a sippy cup where it's safe; where no one will bother him.

There are many 'not safe' zones for the Inner Critic. Here are three:

  1. Starting a big project that you have never done before. (What if I fail?)

  2. Having a bigger presence in the public eye than it has now. (It's only a matter of time before they find out I'm not really that good.)

  3. Rejection. (If they reject my art, then they reject me, and I will cease to be relevant — or even exist.)

Fear that you're not being, or won't be, acknowledged as an artist will hold you back. Fear that you're not good enough compared with other artists will choke your expression. This fear may lead to anger, bitterness and even depression. Since your art is an expression of you, this fearful held-back state of beingness will be reflected in your art. There is a vast difference between deliberately illustrating and expressing pain, desperation, and other negative emotions and holding yourself back in your artistic expression as a result of pain, desperation and other negative emotions.

Here are some acronyms for the word FEAR (F.E.A.R.):

  • Finding Excuses And Reasons
    Are you procrastinating?
  • False Evidence Appearing Real
    Are you blaming other people or circumstances for being stuck your lack of success?
  • False Emotions Appearing Real
    Are you beating up on yourself for not being 'good' enough? Here's a clue: If you're feeling 'down' then there's a good chance you're beating up on yourself.

And my personal favorite (drum roll please...)

  • F! Everything And Run
    Are you thinking about quitting, giving up on your pursuits as an artist?

You can deny your dreams but the outcome will be quiet desperation. The desperation becomes the safe comfort zone. Your Inner Critic will fight hard to keep you where it feels safe. You may not like the desperate comfort zone that you find yourself in but it's what you know. Safe. No surprises.

"To see far is one thing. Going there is another." — Brancusi

If you find that your in a state of FEAR there is a little trick you can apply to help you crawl out of that dark hole. You can ask yourself the following two questions:

  1. What am I getting out of staying in this state? You don't do anything unless you get something out of it. What is staying right where you are in your artistic process allowing you to do?

  2. Who would I be; what would I do; what would I have without this fear? Use your imagination to visualize that life. Run with it! Breathe it in.

The only thing standing between you and want you want to create for your art and your life experience is you. It's time to get out of your own way. Or, head down to Wal-Mart and get yourself a nice bankie and sippy cup. Get several. You'll be snuggled in, warm and comfy, for a long time.

"Remember, with every doubt comes a hitch in the natural flow of being." — Ian Factor

© 2009 Valery Satterwhite. All Rights Reserved.

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