Challenge the art-stories in your head!
One thing I realize over and over again is how the stories that you tell yourself can shape your reality.
For instance, if you have the conviction that you are the sort of person who would never be able to have a good job and earn a decent living, chances are that you will indeed not be able to do so. You don’t react to advertisements with exciting but challenging jobs, you don’t start a business and go for it, you don’t increase your prices when it’s appropriate, you don’t do scary things that would help you to reach your professional and financial goals, and you don’t negotiate about your salary.
The same is true for art-making. Some common limiting beliefs that might be running through your head, are:
- You are not the sort of person that can make art.
- You don’t have the talent to create beautiful and inspiring paintings.
- You should have gone to art school instead of having a business career.
- It’s too late now to start making art since you’ve wasted your time instead of practicing your skills.
- It’s better to postpone making art until your kids are older or until you retire.
- You don’t have the money to buy art supplies.
- Your house is not big enough to start painting.
- You can’t make time for it in your day.
- Your partner, children, or friends will laugh at you.
- Your parents will shake their heads.
- You will first have to find a decent teacher and take art lessons.
Chances are, that if those stories run in your head, you won’t make a lot of art.
I know I have had a whole bunch of stories in my head around making art. These were mine:
- Art-making is for another kind of people, not for me.
- I don’t have the talent.
- I will never be able to make money as an artist, so I should not spend my time on it.
- It’s too late now (I was only 30 years old when I had this thought. Can you imagine?).
- If I can’t make perfect paintings, I would better not even try at all.
- I have to choose between my passions and not following them all.
It’s incredible how powerful those stores are. If you are not aware of them, they stay unnoticed deep in the basement of your mind and secretly influence your life.
Out of the basement
If you have the feeling that some negative art-talk is discouraging your inner artist, you should get to know those stories, invite them to come out of the basement, pour them a cup of tea, and ask them in a gentle way if they are really, really true.
It might well be the case that those stories—once they get some loving attention—will admit that they are not that true at all. Maybe they originated from the stories of your parents, who wanted to protect you from an uncertain career, or who had their own limiting beliefs that they inherited from their ancestors. Maybe they stem from from the vulnerability that you experience if you step out into the open with something very personal. Or maybe they reflect the pervasive ideas in our culture about making art that we are not always aware of.
Positive stories instead of negative ones
I think life is best if it flows naturally, without too much thinking, without any stories at all. But of course, positive stories are better than negative stories. So it is wonderful if you could replace those negative stories with positive ones.
These are some possible new stories:
- Everybody can make art.
- The importance of talent is overrated; my dedication and willingness to learn are much more important.
- I can be an autodidact and make fantastic art.
- It’s never too late to start making art.
- The best time to start is now.
- I can make art with very inexpensive materials.
- I don’t need a lot of time and space to make art.
- I listen to the people who support my art and ignore the nay-sayers and the critics.
- I don’t need to make money with my art.
- If I want to make money with my art, I will seek possibilities to make it work.
- I can pursue more than one career and have many interests and passions.
- I can start my art-journey and be happy with every step that I take.
If you want to challenge old and negative stories in your head, it helps to start journaling about them. This way, you get to know your stories from the inside out and give them the possibility of dissolving. New convictions about yourself and your art get the possibility to grow and slowly become an integral part of your life.
This way, your reality will change. You will be happy to start art-making right where you are now, you will enjoy the process, and you will be proud of every step you take.
What are the stories in your head? How can you challenge them? What positive stories would you like to tell yourself?
Let me hear in the comments, or let the ArtNowCommunity know! You are more than welcome there.