Thursday, August 12, 2010

my inner critic

Both in the journaling class I am taking and on Every Day Matters website there has been discussions about our inner critic and how they hamper our artistic ventures. Sarah of
shared her views on working with her inner critic in a positive way.
I was inspired to try what she suggested and think this is a viable and inspiring concept.
I shared my thoughts and experience with Sarah and thought it might be of interest to others.

Thank you so much for your two blog entries on our inner critic.

I have had difficulty with my inner critic for years to the point that I have abandoned my attempts at drawing and painting many, many times. I have heard all the negative remarks from “her” that so many others have mentioned.

I recently signed up for an art journaling class that was highly recommended by others. By the second class this instructor noticed and addressed the problem we were all having with our inner critics. She suggested that we give our inner critic a face and write down some of the things our critic tells us. And then what we wanted to say to her. I was really surprised that my inner critic revealed herself as a little girl. We were encouraged to silence our inner critic by putting tape over her mouth and telling her to be still. I did that but, I just didn’t feel right doing that to my critic, who I named: Miss Ul Neverdowell. She reminded me of a child that strikes out because no one will listen to her. I found myself feeling sorry for her.

But that is as far as it went. Then I picked up on your message. It really spoke to my heart. I did use active imagination with her. She too told me she only wanted to protect me. She reminded me of the rejection I felt when I drew a picture for my Father and he said a picture was not something of value. She reminded me how my mother told me I needed to spend my time on something that would give me a career that would support me. She reminded me of the art teacher in Jr. High that told me I was taking up space that could be used by someone with real talent. She reminded me how dumb I felt, how hurt I was.

She and I had a short chat about how I really do want to learn how to draw and paint well enough to make some pretty “books” for my own pleasure. I explained to her that I need time to practice and play and learn in my own time and way. She reminded me I am an old woman and it is too late for me. I told her I think being “old” is even better because now I don’t have to submit my work for grading, I don’t have to have anyone approve it for it to be acceptable. I explained to her that my parents were not intentionally hurting me, that in fact they didn’t know how important it was to me. That they had their own issues with self esteem and wanted to protect me .

I realized how afraid she is. She is part of me. So there is no reason to silence her. She needs love and time to heal.

I told her that like George Bernard Shaw once said: “Mistakes are the portals of discovery”. That learning to draw and paint can be like reading a wonderful story, page by page discovering the characters and falling in love with them. Learning to draw and paint is part of my “story”. It is learning who I am besides a wife, a mother, a daughter. It is finding myself amid all the information I have been given by people who have only seen a small part of me and deciding that was my “whole”.

I hope in time she and I will become friends. I think if we do I will find out her real name, not the one I gave her.

I continue to be amazed at all the wonderful and talented people I meet via the internet. It is like going to college without having to pay. tuition. I have made so many great friends and am learning so much.

I will keep you posted on my ongoing relationship with my inner critic.


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