Affirmations are one of those trendy, catchy things to quote. You probably have seen affirmations everywhere (especially on social media): in programs, trainings, journals, stickers, book titles etc.. I can see why many people are skeptical about their efficacy; they are usually too general and are touted as applicable to everyone. Without further adieu, here’s why affirmations are not a one size fits all.
You cannot use affirmations before doing inner critic work
Slapping a pretty slogan on your lack of confidence is only a bandage solution for a deeper issue. You can try this out (and I am sure we all have tried the quick fix and realized the futility of generic slogans) but you will continue to return to the manifestations of the inner critic;
- irregular creative practice
- missed opportunities
- fear of charging your worth
- not making an impact
- difficulty sharing work
- destroying work deemed “not good enough”
- unfinished work
- ongoing stress and anxiety
The inner critic is an inner negative voice that originates from past experiences, environment and the view you have formed of yourself as a result of these environments and experiences. The inner critic involves a judgment of the creative process and a possible halting of all creativity.
Check in with how you are talking to others about your creative process. What are the words and tone you are using? Here are some examples to help you with how to recognize your artist’s inner critic.
What does your inner critic sound like?
If you were to answer this question, you may not think you have an inner critic. But if you examine some of the more common statements, like those below, you will start to make connections.
- I cannot take risks
- I am not talented enough
- It is impossible to make money with my art
- My art practice is a waste of time
- I fear others will criticize my dreams
- My dream is ridiculous
Check out my blog post, How to Recognize Your Artist’s Inner Critic to make sense of your negative thinking, which is influencing your self worth as an artist.
The inner critic can show up anywhere: socially, in isolation, online. It can be triggered by something someone says or a situation that had no specific or discernable trigger. The artist’s inner critic can initiate as a fear; fear of starting, fear of success or fear of failure.
In the blog post, The Painter’s Mind You Need, Eric Maisel shares how to dismiss your inner critic in order to begin believing thoughts that serve you and your purpose. If you don’t do this, you will revert to your usual distortions and distractions.
They will not have any impact on your inner critic
Affirmations, when used properly, address the lie of the inner critic; the lies that target your worth and say that you are not enough. So, if affirmations are a “one size fits all” message to target the inner critic, it is impossible that everyone has the same inner critic. The messages each person internalizes might be similar but no two people process the same way.
As a creative, do you struggle with confidence?
Even though I share a lot of freebies and tutorials, I held back for years sharing my creations because I feared failure. As creatives, you and I can be held back due to negative thinking. It might look like comparing your ability to others or not having the confidence to pursue your creative talent or putting your creations out into the world.
Is that you? Have you ever found it difficult to cope with imposter syndrome, your inner critic, fear of failure, perfectionistic tendencies, and being hesitant to share your work? If your answer is yes, I have a Free resource for you. It’s just a click away!
Affirmations are only helpful once the hard work is done
Address Your Worth
Changing the inner critic must come from a place of belief; belief that you are worth more than your inner critic commentary. You must ask yourself “where does my belief in who I am and my worth, come from?” It is your choice, just as it is mine, who you choose to listen to. We often have voices from our past; employment, friends or family of origin, whose messages still are loud and functioning. Remember, you can choose who you listen to out there in the world. If we have a choice in who we have allowed (often unknowingly) to influence our inner critic, we also have a choice who influences our worth.
Belief in your worth is practiced, not automatic. Now that you have the foundation and the tools to create new affirming beliefs, you are ready for the retraining part.
Affirmations contain truths that directly counter our fears or mistaken beliefs. Initially it will be difficult to believe these counter statements. You must remember that you have practiced rehearsing the fears for years so give yourself patience to start implementing the new beliefs.
Dismantle the Lie
What exactly do affirmations do? They address the lie of the inner critic; remember those lies you identified that target your worth and say that you are not enough?
Replace with Truth
Affirmations focus on the good, not the negative. Remember, what we feed grows. Affirmations directly counter and challenge the negative thought or fear which in essence is a lie. And lastly, they build in healthy new thought habits that become the catalyst to greater, long term positive change.
Now that you have the facts, where do you go from here?
In conclusion, we are creatives with specific inner critic messages who need targeted affirmations. If the inner critic tells us that we are not worthy, specific to our situation, background and environment, we need the right affirmations to counter each inner critic message. This is why affirmations are not one size fits all.
If you are ready to create your signature affirmations through identifying and challenging your inner critic, grab my FREE Workbook – “Become a Confident Artist: Overcome Fear & Create Your Best Work”.
I hope you have liked this post and are ready to challenge your inner critic and create your signature affirmations. Please share the love of this post with a comment or a pin. Thank you!