Friday, July 25, 2008
Embracing Your Inner Critic
When I work with art therapy or creativity groups, I often notice that people experience a part of them that is critical of their art making. Often this is due to a past negative comment made by a friend, art teacher or parent. Sometimes it is due to comparing your work to others and feeling that yours is not good enough. When this part of you comes up, it is important to sit with it, listen to its concerns and learn not to stop exploring because of it. If this voice or part is ignored, often you will loose creative energy and feel blocked. Giving it space to be heard allows you to move ahead with the acceptance of your whole self. One way I work with this is I have a doll sitting in the corner and when people experience a part of them saying, “your art is not good enough” or “this is meaningless” or “I have no talent” I ask them to write it down and pin it to the doll so it is acknowledged. This simple action often helps create the space and distance needed so that they can come back and continue to create art. This might be something that they want to come back to later and do a focusing session on.
The Top Twelve Traits of the Inner Critic
1. It constricts your ability to be creative.
2. It stops you from taking risks because it makes you fear failure.
3. It views your life as a series of mistakes waiting to happen.
4. It undermines your courage to change.
5. It compares you unfavorably with others and makes you feel “less than”.
6. It is terrified of being shamed and so monitors all your behavior to avoid this.
7. It causes you to suffer from low self-esteem, and possibly depression, because it tells you that you are not good enough.
8. It can make looking at yourself in a mirror or shopping for clothes miserable because of its ability to create such a negative view of the body.
9. It can take all the fun out of life with its criticisms.
10. It makes self-improvement a compulsive chore because it bases the work on the premise that something is wrong with you.
11. It doesn’t allow you to take in the good feelings that other people have towards you.
12. It makes you susceptible , and often victim, to the judgments of other people.
Hal and Sidra Stone Embracing Your Inner Critic
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