Overthinking and the inner critic – are you familiar with these? I don’t know about you but for myself, ‘doing’ can often appear more difficult than ‘dreaming.’ Is it really, though?
Life would be hard if I only dreamed and never worked. Of course, both dreaming and doing are important parts of creativity. What happens when it’s time to for me to start doing? (I start overthinking. AKA making excuses that stem from insecurity and anxiety, thanks to overthinking and the inner critic.)
“I can’t start my painting.” “What if I mess it up?” or “I’m slightly tired – I think I should only work when I’m ‘feeling it’.” “I’ll never be a great artist.” “I have no idea what I’m doing.” “I’m awful.”
Where Does Overthinking Stem From?
Let’s think about the truth concerning my overthinking/disbelief in my abilities, and I hope it helps you, too. I know I’m not the only one who suffers from overthinking and procrastination! (What hobby/work do you put off doing and why don’t you do it?)
Here are some great thoughts: https://www.psychalive.org/critical-inner-voice/
What is the Critical Inner Voice?
“The critical inner voice is a well-integrated pattern of destructive thoughts toward ourselves and others. The nagging “voices,” or thoughts, that make up this internalized dialogue are at the root of much of our self-destructive and maladaptive behavior.
The critical inner voice is not an auditory hallucination; it is experienced as thoughts within your head. This stream of destructive thoughts forms an anti-self that discourages individuals from acting in their best interest.”
How Can I Conquer My Critical Inner Voice?
“In order to take power over this destructive thought process, you must first become conscious of what your inner voice is telling you so you can stop it from ruining your life. To identify this, it is helpful to pay attention to when you suddenly slip into a bad mood or become upset, often these negative shifts in emotion are a result of a critical inner voice. Once you identify the thought process and pinpoint the negative actions it is advocating, you can take control over your inner voice by consciously deciding not to listen. Instead you can the actions that are in your best interest.”
My Trick on Working Despite the Inner Critic:
I love this part: “…you can take control over your inner voice by consciously deciding not to listen. Instead you can (take) the actions that are in your best interest.”
This goes hand-in-hand with my tried and true ‘Just work for five minutes’ mental trick play on myself. When my inner critic/overthinking OVERWHELMED/paralyzed my desire (and seeming ability) to just get to work on my paintings, I forced myself to get up and work for ‘only five minutes.’ After all, I can endure a mere five minutes, right?
Do you know what I found? (STARTING A PROJECT WAS THE HARDEST PART FOR ME!?) Five minutes would whiz by and I’d soon find myself deep into painting. (And therefore, I did start to make money off my paintings as an added benefit!)
More on the ‘Five Minute Trick’ VS. Overthinking
This five-minute trick got me into the habit of painting regularly. Before I knew it, my inner critic became a little less nagging. I am now more productive. I am equipped to choose productivity over paralysis. I’m not saying working on your passion for five minutes a day will change you overnight. It may not change your career path. It did eventually change mine, Let me ask you this: What is truly the worst thing that could happen? What would you say to me if I said, “I can’t become a professional artist because I am ‘a little tired.'” I certainly would haver have shown at galleries or have Ginajacksonart.com.
May your creative endeavors be blessed and please believe in yourself. Your inner critic could be…well, a little too….critical. 🙂