Today, we have some more exercises that will help us work towards reassuring our Artist Selves that it is safe now for them to come out to play. First, if you haven’t already, go back over your twenty reasons why you can’t be a successful, prolific, creative artist. See if you can re-write each one of them into an affirmation.
Some of you have already started this process. Perhaps you might try several angles on some of the most disturbing ones. For example, you can obviously change “My art will never make money,” to “My art can make money.” But you might also add something like, “Making money is not the only way to measure the value of my art.”
Second, as was discussed yesterday, while you re-write your fears into affirmations, you are almost certainly going to stir up your Inner Critic. Despite the cutting, hurtful, snide comments, he or she will have some very valuable information for you. Notice whose voice you are hearing when s/he lashes out at you. Do you recognize or remember who planted the seeds of these cynical, bitter doubts? Maybe it was a pessimistic parent; maybe it was a nasty teacher with blocks of their own. Maybe it comes from a hybrid of many such unhappy influences.
As you search for the source, Julia urges us to time travel. “List three old enemies of your creative self-worth. Please be as specific as possible in doing this exercise. Your historic monsters are the building blocks of your core negative beliefs. (Yes, rotten Sister Ann Rita from fifth grade does count and the rotten thing she said to you does matter. Put her in.)
“This is your monster hall of fame. More monsters will come to you as you work through your recovery. It is always necessary to acknowledge creative injuries and grieve them. Otherwise they become creative scar tissue and block your growth.”
So spend some time today, considering who might have been behind the wounds that have now settled in as ongoing fears and assumptions of failure. In some cases, you might have trouble pinning them down; but as you work with your core beliefs, especially re-writing them into affirmations, you are sure to get a few clues.
On the other hand, in some cases you might vividly recall a painful, pivotal event, when your tender artist baby dreams were dashed before your eyes. Tomorrow, we’ll work with that, for as unhappy as it was, it has also carved out depths into which your healing can take root.