Posted by: Suzan | July 7, 2017

Calm Your Inner-Critic so You Can Create

Blog 7-7-17

Do you think you’re creative? Maybe your answer is yes and you aren’t fully expressing it. Perhaps you don’t think you’re creative at all.

What if you could reframe the definition of creativity? Because the truth is YOU ARE CREATIVE! Every one of us is. We each have a unique mission here on earth and creative expression helps remind us we’re alive – it’s that important.

The thought of being creative may even stiffen your body, dry out your throat, have your heartbeat quicken or slow down, or your stomach get queasy. What is it for you?

Creative expression can become something we dread even though a part of us feels dead. Carrying that corpse around takes up a lot of our energy. In spite of this, facing old demons like teachers or parents or anyone who criticized us in our formative years can become a fate worse than death (or so we think).

As a young girl I had painted alongside my dad, an artist, since I could walk. Around age 11 a tragedy occurred and I stopped painting. My inner-critic high-fived me and encouraged me to give it up altogether. I wasn’t any good anyway so why bother, right?So I went along like the “good little girl” I strove to be. I gave up painting….for 30+years!

Fortunately I had a professional artist as a client years ago who suggested we do a trade. This freed me up to realign with my passion for art and expression. I haven’t stopped painting since.

I share this story to encourage you to pursue whatever creative nugget is in your heart. It may be some way you’ve longed to express yourself or something you used to do. Perhaps you do it now – just not enough. What is it for you? Don’t leave it to your inner-critic to decide. Your joy is at stake and that’s too high a price.

So here are some tips to help you calm your inner-critic and go after any creative pursuit that calls to you:

  • PLAY MORE! I believe play is the heartbeat for creativity. When you laugh and play you’ll feel more lightness of being. Any rigid thoughts and taut, stress-filled body aches can finally relax and float away which allows space for inspiration to come in. When you’re less serious and uptight you’re more present and available. The inner-critic does not live in the present. He/she thrives in the past and the future. Feeling calm you can venture boldly down any creative path you wish to pursue.
  • Redefine creativity. It’s not only reserved for artists, dancers, musicians, writers, and the like. It’s how you select your wardrobe, prepare a meal for your family or some friends, plan a birthday party for a relative or friend, or decorate your home. If you still work, it can be how you prepare a presentation, a report, or sales presentation. And the list goes on. How do you express your creativity in your everyday life? Think about it. You really are creative! With this understanding, creative expression has more chance to flourish in your life.
  • Make a pact between your creativity and your fear. Elizabeth Gilbert from Big Magic – Creative Living Beyond Fear mentions in her book that it takes courage to freely express our creative beings. And fear is overrated. She states it’s actually quite boring – all it knows how to do is stop us so we don’t really do anything, at least not the things which we dream about. There is no merit or even any fun in that. She suggests we first learn to share space with our fear. If we try to kill off our fear, we may also kill our precious creativity too. Fear is analogous to the inner-critic, that negative part of us which readily talks us out of our big ideas. (mainly because he or she is so afraid). One way to calm this inner-critic is to imagine you’re on a road trip with your creativity and your fear. Make a pact that you and creativity make all the decisions. Fear gets to have a voice and be in the car, yet never will it be allowed to have a vote, or make any of the decisions.
  • Go somewhere that inspires you. If you want to tap into your creative expression you need to take yourself places that excite you. Maybe it’s a walk on the beach with your shoes off, a concert in the park, watching a sunrise or sunset, hanging out with your dog at a dog park or riding rollercoasters. What is it for you? Being inspired can take your breath away along with any mundane thoughts. In its place you can breathe in a new space just for you to create whatever wants to come forth.
  • Finally, Give Yourself Permission. Enough Said!


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