To create – anything – requires courage. It demands that we make something new, reshape an idea into something that moments before didn’t exist. And anytime we step out of our comfort we get a little bit nervous. It feels vulnerable and often the voices of self-doubt chime in.
“Everyone struggles with self-doubt. It doesn’t matter if we’ve received great recognition or accolades,” says Margarita Tartakovsky, an associate editor at PsychCentral.com and the blogger behind Make a Mess: Everyday Creativity.
But, despite the doubts and fears, we are driven to create. It’s fundamental to who we are.
Whether you paint or write books or parent or strategize sales programs or travel or cook – just about everything we do relies on creative thinking. Creativity is not limited to producing art. We express it in every aspect of life.
“Creativity helps us connect to ourselves,” Tartakovsky says. “It helps us listen to ourselves and it tells us that our voice is important. Through creating, we say What we think and feel matters. It’s another way to play. It’s enjoyable and fun and interesting. It helps us process our emotions.”
And it’s worth making peace with our feelings of self-doubt to do it.
How to Manage Self-Doubt
Remember everyone has it. Well-known and successful artists, writers, chefs, actors have all gone on record about their feelings of self-doubt. At one time or another, while in the creative process, you’ll probably feel like a failure. Like you can’t do it. Like you are not good enough and everyone else is. Okay. So, notice those thoughts and then remember that even those we deem as Masters, like Steinbeck and Picasso, felt exactly the same thing.
Remembering that everyone has got that critic rumbling through their head, makes me feel better. If they can do it so can I.
Forget the critics. The worry over what other will think of our creations can keep us from creating at all, Tartakovsky says. So allow yourself to create imperfectly. Don’t worry about what others will think – you don’t even have to show them if you don’t want. Know going in that some of the work is going to suck. You will get outcomes that aren’t so good – keep going, it’s all part of the process. And when you are creating something – anything – the process, will guide you through.
Perhaps that’s the most important thing of all, says Tartakovsky — to keep at it. Creating every day is the surest way to beat self-doubt in submission. You’ll still hear the inner critic, but they become more friendly when you notice, acknowledge, and keep at the work anyhow.
Set aside five or 10 minutes a day and start creating – anything, Tartakovsky says. Do something that you used to enjoy as a child, take on a new project, journal, or dance or do anything that brings you joy. Do it every day.
Making time for creative expression every day (preferably at the same time and place) helps make it a priority and a habit. It primes our bodies and our brains to get down to work to expand and grow. To engage in our world in a new way. And when that happens, for a time, the voices of self-doubt are silenced.