Here’s how some folks completed this exercise:
“I say that art making and selling my artwork matters to me. But I often follow that thought up with the thought that my artwork is not good enough to be considered attractive to buyers, a thought that does not serve me. I no longer want to entertain that thought. I will be open to opportunities to market my art, and I will actively search out the support of art patrons!”
“I say that fiber craft matters to me, but I often follow that thought up with the following thoughts, that I’m too tired to knit, that it’s too troublesome to gather up the materials, that I don’t know what I’m doing, that I’m not making art, I’m just following instructions, that I don’t have the right tools, that I’m a poser and a pretender, and that I’ll do it wrong. These thoughts do not serve me and I no longer want to countenance those thoughts. I am going to my knitting right now!”
Do thoughts like “I’m not talented” or “I don’t stand a chance” get in the way of your ability to create? What can you do to silence negative self-talk and other thoughts that don’t serve you? Here’s one powerful technique to try!
What typically happens is that you have a productive thought (like “I’m ready to paint!”) and then you immediately follow that productive thought up with an unproductive thought that stops you in your tracks.
The discounting or self-sabotaging thought might be “I’m too tired to paint,” “It’s too late in life for me to do paint,” “I’m too busy to do paint,” “I say that painting matters to me but really it doesn’t,” and so on.
Here’s the technique to try: Complete the following, filling in the X and Y with your own responses: “I say that X matters to me. But I often follow that thought up with Y thought, a thought that does not serve me. I no longer want to countenance that thought. And here’s what I’m going to do.”
Your exercise response might sound like the following: “I say that painting matters to me. But I often follow that thought up with ‘I have no talent,’ ‘The competition is too fierce out there,’ ‘I need to make money, not play at painting,’ and ‘I don’t have enough time to paint.’ I no longer want to countenance those thoughts. From now on the moment I hear one of those thoughts that don’t serve me, I’m going to shout right back at it.”
See how this process of disputing thoughts that do not serve you can help you create more often and more deeply? Do the above exercise and then put the results into practice!
Eric Maisel is the author of 40+ books, among them Coaching the Artist Within, Fearless Creating, The Van Gogh Blues and Making Your Creative Mark. He trains creativity coaches and presents workshops nationally and internationally. You can learn more at ericmaisel.com.