Every time I sit down to start a painting or write a blog post, I find myself struggling to find the perfect subject to paint or the ideal thing to say. I spend countless hours editing, reworking, rephrasing, erasing and deleting, all in an effort to live up to the impossible standards that I have set for myself.
Deep down I know that I worry far too much about what other people think of me. Is my art good enough? Are my ideas worthwhile? Will people laugh at me? It takes the joy out of the creative process, but I can’t seem to help myself.
As embarrassing as it is to admit, I’m pretty sure that I’m not the only person who looks outward for validation – especially now that the Internet provides nearly instant feedback on practically everything we do or say. It’s easy to measure the worth of your art or your writing by the number of likes, retweets or comments it receives instead of by how it makes you feel. It’s also easy to fall into the trap of creating work solely for the purpose of impressing other people instead of listening to your inner voice and creating work that resonates with your true self.
One of my goals moving forward is to overcome this tendency. Instead of looking outward, I want to shift my focus inward. I want to spend more time listening to my inner voice and less time being controlled by my fear of what other people think. If you also find yourself struggling with perfectionism and worrying too much about other people’s opinions, here are some ideas to try to shift your attention back to your authentic self:
- Write down who you think you “should” be. Then, write down who you think you really are. Each time you sit down to work on a creative project, remind yourself to create from the perspective of who you really are.
- Ask yourself if you are truly excited about the work that you are creating. Is it something you are passionate about? Does it speak to your soul? Is it something you would enjoy doing even if no one else ever saw it? Make sure to only work on projects that resonate deeply with your inner self.
- Don’t talk about your ideas with other people before you create them. A budding idea for a great project can be crushed in an instant by someone else’s skepticism. Instead, allow yourself to nurture and develop any ideas that strikes a chord with you, no matter how crazy they may seem. Remember, you don’t have to share everything you make, and you never know if something will work until you try.
That’s all I can think of for now. If I come up with any more ideas on staying true to your authentic self I will be sure to add them to this list. Also, if you have any ideas of your own please feel free to share them below. Thanks so much for reading!