The only way to drive out negative thoughts is to replace them with positive ones.
Once you become aware of all of the icky stuff floating around in your subconscious mind you can’t just flush it out and expect to be gunk free for the rest of your life. You have to replace all of that icky stuff with things that make you feel warm and fuzzy inside, with things that make you feel strong and powerful. Then around your treasures you must build a fortress.
Tear it all down. Build it back up. Rinse. Repeat.
But we’re not building with bricks or steel or anything else you can actually see and touch. We’re building with words.
Affirmations are one those self-helpy things most people seem to scoff at. Stare into a mirror and tell myself I’m beautiful? Give myself a giant hug and whisper that everything is going to be alright? The next thing they’ll tell me to do is become best friends with the voice in my head like some kind of crazy person.
First of all, we’re all crazy. If you think you’re the exception to the rule you’re wrong. Second, yes, that is exactly what I’m going to tell you to do. Because that voice in your head is you and loving yourself is where this journey begins for all of us.
Stroking the non-toxic parts of our ego is actually important work for an artist. We need to believe we’re talented. We need to believe that what we have to say is important. We need to believe that our art has the power to change lives if that’s what we want it to do.
The problem is, our confidence tends to come in waves. One second we believe we’re hot stuff and the next we’re curled up in the fetal position waiting for someone to expose us as a fraud. Imposter syndrome has a special affinity for torturing creatives. Probably, because we give it the most attention. We battle with it constantly because we are constantly exploring unknown territory and taking risks in a way that normal people are too terrified to do.
But our bravery waxes and wanes. It comes in like a flood and then recedes into the abyss. It’s those times when we’re standing on the edge of the unknown, staring into the deep dark blankness, something whispering for us to fill it, that we clutch imposter syndrome’s hand for dear life, begging it not to toss us in the deep end.
It doesn’t of course. Instead, it pulls us in closer, reminding us that we don’t know how to swim, that the current is too choppy, the tide too strong, that there are sharks and jellyfish and a million other things down there that could kill us. And we listen. If we listen long enough we begin to believe its lies. Its lies become our truth.
We become trapped and the only way to free ourselves is to replace that “truth” with one that actually serves us. That makes us believe in ourselves. That makes us brave enough to dive into the abyss head first, no life jacket, no oxygen tank.
One of the ways we can begin to replace these false and harmful truths is by repeating our new truths over and over until they’re so ingrained in our subconscious mind that we don’t even have to think them anymore. We just are them.
I make art that makes the world a better place.
I make art that changes people’s lives.
I make art that makes people happy.
I make art that liberates.
I make art that celebrates.
I make art that reflects my love for the world and all of the creatures in it.
My art is beautiful.
My art is powerful.
My art is needed.
Speak these things over your life. Your art is essential. You are essential. And if your subconscious mind tries to tell you the opposite, remember that it lies. Remember that lies become truth. Remember that you have the power to choose what is real, in spite of your fears and doubts. You have the power to become your own masterpiece.