Sunday, October 27, 2013

Shhh'ing The Self-Critic

"Budding Branch" October 2013
mixed media collage - Japanese paper, textured cardstock, glass seed beads

How vocal is your self-critic?  If yours is similar to mine, then you’re most likely trying to soften or silence your self-critic’s voice on a frequent basis, sometimes successfully hitting the mute button, other times just doing your best to ignore self-defeating dialogue when she eludes your attempts to stifle her.  Despite this ongoing challenge, my self-critic isn’t as loud as she used to be, and I am able to liberate myself  from her a bit more often than in the past.  As I focus on shifting my life into better alignment with my values and passions, and as I work diligently on inner growth, I’m gaining greater control over my self-critic and building courage to explore my potential beyond self-imposed limitations.

I recently donated a mixed media collage to our local Monterey Museum of Art’s upcoming miniatures show and fundraiser.  On registration day, my self-critic shouted at me, “Am I good enough?  Am I worthy enough?” for a couple hours until I brought her down to a whisper, quickly registered and committed to this endeavor before she could speak up again.  I wished to donate and participate as a way to support our local art museum, of course, but also, as a way of pushing my own artistic boundaries, of carving out my own niche in our local art community and continuing on my quest to live a more creatively fulfilling life both personally and professionally.  

"Otter Bliss" Summer 2013
mixed media collage - Japanese paper, patterned cardstock, kraft packaging material, burlap
I had participated in my first miniatures show this past summer with a donation to Pacific Grove Art Center where I am also a member and an instructor, so I viewed this latest donation as taking a bigger step.  The part of me building courage and cultivating a newfound sense of boldness was excited and eager to accomplish this goal while my self-critic was trying to plant seeds of timidity and doubt.  The bottom line, amidst this inner power struggle, was that I had already made my commitment, so last weekend I completed and delivered my humble little contribution.  Deep exhale!  I titled my piece “Budding Branch,” as buds are a symbol to me of hope and the promise of something positive ahead.  This new life of mine is a work in progress, but I keep the faith that there are many positives ahead while remembering to be mindful of and grateful for what’s positive now and along the journey.


When I listen to my heart, it says “shhh” to my self-critic (an unwelcome companion on this journey), and I am free to be more adventurous and “daring” (my cautious version of daring if that isn’t too much of an oxymoron!), to not only aspire, but work toward aspirations, to grow and to find fulfillment in “buds” blossoming.

May your heart, too, speak more clearly over the drone of your self-critic. 
How are you best conquering your inner criticism?