Having Your Own Back – EP 280

Just like our paintings, we have visions for how we think our art journey should turn out and who we want to be as an artist. In order to achieve our full potential, we need to learn how to have our own backs and be our greatest advocates. On this episode, I’ll discuss how to shut down negative self-talk while maintaining high standards and embracing our humanity.

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:58] Why you need to have your own back
  • [5:32] The art of being kind to yourself
  • [15:10] Why you still need high standards
  • [22:21] How to embrace your humanity

Stop hitting yourself

We’re all pros when it comes to beating ourselves up. No one knows how to hurt us quite like we do. When a painting or our practice has an unexpected result, we immediately feel the need to become our own punching bag. But here’s the deal: there is absolutely no upside to beating yourself up. None whatsoever. When you continually use negative language towards yourself, it creates a hostile work environment that ultimately produces inferior work. Ironically, we keep beating ourselves up because we believe it’s the only thing holding us accountable. We really believe that being kinder to ourselves will make us lazy, unproductive, and even a bad person. Having your own back means committing to never beating yourself up, no matter what. Because it doesn’t make you work harder, and it certainly doesn’t make your work any better.

Have high standards

In the process of learning how to have your own back, it’s easy to mistake kindness for weakness. Just because you have a commitment to stop bullying yourself does not automatically mean you’ve given up on having high standards. Having your own back is also a commitment to excellence! The two ideas are not mutually exclusive. This is where black and white thinking trips us up. It tells us we can’t reach for the highest bar possible while being kind to ourselves.. Yet, that is exactly what we have to do!

The exciting thing about art is that ours can always be better. There’s always something new to learn or a technique to improve on. Knowing that should give us the freedom to embrace the moment while always striving for more. We have to see that our work can always get better while still appreciating the value it has right now. We may not be able to execute the vision in our heads with our current knowledge, but with every painting we have better questions to ask ourselves. Having high standards while loving yourself means always asking better questions while patiently waiting for the answers.

Allow yourself to be human

You are going to screw up. You are going to have bad days. You are going to miss the mark. All of it is a part of the learning process. We have to come to terms with the fact that not every painting is going to be a masterpiece. But you know what? I love that. I love that we have to search for it. That the journey is far more important than the destination and that it’s the journey that makes us who we are as artists and people alike. Being human means embracing our mistakes as a part of the journey. Having our own back means we know mistakes come with the territory and we don’t allow them to mean anything more than they should. Even if we commit to not beating ourselves up and we slip and do it anyway, it just means we’re human and that we have to keep reaching for our higher self.

Resources Mentioned on this episode

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