In the previous blog Get Out of Your Head and Into Your Art we touched on Imposter Syndrome and how it impacts our ability to identify ourselves as artists. Today we are going to dive deeper into how Imposter Syndrome (IS) affects our creativity and ideas on how to work around it. I say “work around it” instead of “get rid of it” as we may always have that tiny voice in our heads. We can welcome it, show it to the corner of the room and continue to work without letting it dominate our creative spirits! Understanding that how we feel doesn’t always reflect reality is a process that will take time, after all, it took us years (or decades) to build up those feelings in the first place. Let’s step through a few ways in which we can free up our creative selves from this overwhelming feeling.
Facts vs. Feelings
No matter how strong our feelings are, they don’t always line up with real facts. Take some time to sit down and review your qualifications, accomplishments, and experiences. Are you setting expectations for yourself that are in line with Pablo Picasso? Are you judging yourself based off the number of classes you’ve taken or the lack thereof? Try to isolate any grains of truth that are in your feelings to see if there are any actions you can take. If you are frustrated with your portraits, take an anatomy course or a portrait-construction course. Brushing up on those skills can hone our foundation and improve results in the finished process. Not happy with your colors and tones? Try a limited palette course to simplify your number of colors and get back to color theory. Is lack of sales driving your feelings of failure? Pickup a course, read up on self-marketing, or dig into growing your online business and social media. Taking action can be one of the most positive ways to combat Imposter Syndrome.
Let Go of Perfectionism
Theodore Roosevelt must have had us in mind when he said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Art is a means of unique expression that stems from your one-of-a-kind creativity, combined with your experiences and winds up on a canvas! It is impossible to compare how objectively “good” Claude Monet is to Jenny Saville – their art conveys different feelings, meanings and messages and is done in totally different styles. If you are comparing yourself to masters, allow yourself the flexibility to play. Many artists weren’t even recognized for their achievements until well beyond their time on Earth yet we put so much pressure on ourselves after a few years or decades. Allow yourself to play, to try new things, to experiment and to start over again if you want. There are no rules in art except the rules we limit ourselves to, let go of perfectionism and let play back in to your studio.
Try stepping outside yourself and thinking how you would talk to a friend going through this experience. Would you encourage them to keep going or would you pick apart every detail? Odds are you would see their artwork as an expression of who they are and cheer them on in their journey! Imagine if you treated yourself as kindly and gently. Make a list of 5 things you do like about your work and 5 positive reasons why you like to create. Experiment with putting those in a visible place in your studio so you can use that reminder to recenter yourself. Experts in all fields from professional athletes to world-renowned public speakers rely heavily on mantras. Think of a powerful phrase that feels good in your heart. Try, “I have the right to create and express myself uniquely!” or “I paint, therefore I am a painter!” or “I will value the work I do, so that others will as well”. Rooting confidence in self-compassion is a great way to lighten the self-imposed pressure that Imposter Syndrome puts on us and reconnect with the freedom of expression we had as carefree children.
Change Your Self-Talk
Do you have other ideas to share with out community! We want to hear them! Please comment below!