So much of what we do as artists requires an intense level of mastery. Not only with the skills we use every day in our studios, but over how we think about our work, how we show up as artists, and how we perceive ourselves. On this episode, I want to help you develop creative mastery by changing your relationship with resistance, expanding your tolerance for uncomfortable feelings, and practical tips for getting more in touch with your emotions.
Outline of This Episode
- [0:07] Shoutouts and the joy of new music
- [7:39] Keeping promises to ourselves and changing our relationship with resistance
- [21:28] Expanding our tolerance for uncomfortable feelings
- [27:43] The key to expressing emotion in your work and the journey of mastery
Change the relationship
Part of developing mastery is changing our relationship with resistance. We often break the promises we make to ourselves about our art because we have an unhealthy relationship with resistance. We lean into that mental urge to resist to avoid uncomfortable feelings in our art practice. Ironically, that resistance ends up prolonging our discomfort most of the time, but at the moment, it feels like the best and only option. We then get into the habit of anticipating negative emotions that result in us experiencing them ahead of time. Before brush touches canvas, we’ve already processed the full weight of failure that we’re convinced this painting will lay on our shoulders. Our feelings of resistance only intensify, and we quit halfway through. Or worse…before we even start! We manufacture this painfully prolonged experience when in reality, all we have to do is acknowledge where these feelings are coming from and try again. Pursuing creative mastery means changing your relationship with resistance by developing the confidence to explore and experience your emotions while continuing to take action.
Get acquainted with uncomfortable
One reason why creative mastery can be a difficult pursuit is that we have a low tolerance for negative emotions and uncomfortable feelings. This may come as a shock, but we are not entitled to feel amazing all the time. And if you are just starting your journey as an artist, I can guarantee that you won’t. Being a beginner at anything requires discomfort. You will likely experience fear, confusion, impatience, boredom, and failure. All of these come with the territory. And if we don’t learn to sit with feelings like these and keep moving forward, we won’t reach our potential. A low tolerance for discomfort conflicts with our desire for mastery. If we want to get to the next level, we have to get uncomfortable.
Once more, with feeling
The beauty of allowing ourselves to feel discomfort without letting it derail us is that we become more in touch with our emotions. When we stop running away from them, we can actually be aware of them. Many artists desire to convey more emotion in their work. They want to move people. They want to evoke a feeling when people look at their paintings. The more intimate we are with our emotions, good and bad, the more they will show up on our palette to paint with. So often, we are taught not to show or even have emotions because some view it as a sign of weakness. But that perspective will only stunt us mentally and creatively. We have an amazing spectrum of emotions to experience! Emotions to create with. Emotions to evoke with our art. The more willing we are to experience our full range of emotions, the more nuanced, powerful, and expressive we can be with our work.