As true artists, we all share a deep longing to embrace our calling and share who we are through our creativity.

But sometimes fear sneaks into our lives and we question whether we’re meant to be an artist. It’s the fear that we don’t have what it takes, and that our dreams will remain just that — dreams.

When our inner critic keeps telling us our work is not good enough, we struggle to embrace our identity as an artist.

As a result, what we’re left with is a tension between wanting to turn art into a livelihood and believing it is possible. An uneasy feeling which can make the road ahead feel more terrifying than exciting.

Let me tell you something.

Most artists, at some point, feel self-doubt and question their calling. It’s part of being an artist. We question what we are doing, we quiver and want to throw in the towel. That’s normal.

When I go through moments of doubt I start to question my ability to create new work, I feel my creative energy slipping away and I am left feeling drained.

But we have a choice.

I could just do nothing and let self-doubt wash all over me when things have not gone as expected. Alternatively, I can use this as motivation, a starting point for my next creative project.

I remember after I finished my degree I submitted to various galleries and was not accepted. It felt like rejection and I did feel like giving up.

But I started to dig deeper and found a voice within me with a different perspective.

Just use this raw emotion to create something new and submit the previous piece to a different gallery!” It was this voice within which had helped me turn my initial rejection into a strong foundation of my art business and owning my art gallery.

We all experience self-doubt but the difference is to dig deep and don’t give up. Use your feelings of discouragement, anger, or excitement to fuel your art or your next creative project.

self doubt quote by Shakespears

Here are a few things that help you mute your voices of self-doubt and trust yourself again when feeling defeated:

 

1. Listen to the beat of your own drum

Hovering right beneath your thoughts are other people’s perceptions, judgement and declarations about what an artist is and is not.

Don’t listen to the noise, instead believe in your ideas of what it means to be an artist.

I understand that approval is a vital building block in establishing self-esteem and confidence — especially early on in your career.

But this can soon turn into a trap.

Particularly if we are often told that our aspirations are unrealistic or that we can’t achieve them.

Negative chitter-chatter from others influences the decisions you make and how you do things. It’s a sad fact, but sometimes we are so influenced by other opinions that we end up lowering our aims.

Stop asking for validation

Seeking others’ input and advice is helpful. But don’t make a habit of always asking others what they think. For example, if you’re working on a new project, and you continue to change what you have created based on the feedback you receive you end up losing your voice.

As a result, your artwork becomes a diluted version of who you are. Take some advice, but only make a decision based on what feels right to you.

2. Invest in yourself

It is easy to get lost in self-doubt when you don’t feel good about yourself and don’t take care of your needs.

Don’t underestimate the power of a good night sleep and regular exercise. It is so much easier to deal with rejections and all the ups and downs along the way if you feel your physical best. A daily ten-minute run, swim or walk can go a long way.

country lane with self doubt quote
Image by Melissa King
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