Your mind can be a real sadist.
It’s just trying to keep you safe—but, man. The experience isn’t always all that fun.
The mean self-talk isn't something your mind does out of spite. It's just trying to get you to stop doing anything dangerous. And, to the mind, trying new stuff is one of the most dangerous things going.
As you've no doubt experienced, doing something new (or something you’re rusty at) is a pretty surefire way of coming up against at least some level of suckage. It's normal and natural that you're imperfect at it, and that your hopes and expectations far surpass your abilities.
When you're starting something new, or re-starting something you haven't done in a while, your mind perceives this as being a threat to the safe status quo. With any change in the status quo, the mind sniffs around for the threat of failure as well.
It pulls no punches in trying to get you to stop what you’re doing so that failure’s not even an option. If lying’s what it takes to keep you safe, well—your mind’s perfectly willing to tell a few whoppers.
1. "You're not even a real creator."
Oh, it loves this one. To keep you safe, the mind wants to scare you into inaction. One of the easiest ways to do that is to convince you that you're not even a creator.
It might tell you that real creators don't experience blocks, and that it all comes easily for them. This is, in fact, utter nonsense.
Coming up against your fears is evidence that you're learning and growing. And if you weren't a creator, you wouldn't be drawn to this work to begin with.
2. "You'll never get it right!"
If you'll never get it right, you're better off just stopping right now, right? And that suits the mind just fine, because it means more of the status quo.
Trying and failing and trying and failing (over and over and over again, as the case may be) is part of learning something new. If you can write the alphabet, or make a sandwich, or even walk, this is an experience you've had. You got it wrong again and again, until eventually you got it right. And then there was no turning back.
Why should your creative practice be any different?
3. "You might as well pack it in."
Giving up can be pretty tempting. For one thing, it's a lot easier than sucking for a good long while until you don't.
But it's also what keeps you stuck where you are, without the benefit of growth.
Taking breaks when we're tired is fantastic. Reveling in them is even better. But giving up? Giving up leaves us looking back later and wishing we'd tried harder. You don't want to be the person wishing you'd stuck with something when you tried it years ago. Stick with it now. See what happens.
When you start to recognize these little tricks of the mind, it gets easier to keep them from fleecing you out of your hard-won creative practice. These thoughts are going to happen---and other ones too, no doubt. But the more attentive you are to these attempts to keep you safe, the more fun and easeful your creative practice will become.
And then your mind can relax. Because the new status quo will be consistent creation. And that's not scary at all.
If you're looking for time and space to create alongside a creative community, Co-Creation Time might be just the thing to help. Held twice weekly, these sessions foster a warm, fun creative atmosphere and give you time to get your creative work done. Learn more, and come join us!
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