So many artists (and humans) struggle with the opinions of others. Having an unhealthy view of external opinions can negatively impact your art practice. And your life ! In this episode, I discuss why other people’s thoughts matter, the unhelpful ways we think about other people’s opinions and strategies for breaking the cycle.
Outline of This Episode
- [3:54] Why other people’s opinions matter and creating safety within ourselves
- [14:49] Cultivating curiosity creates better art
- [20:38] Falling in love with our own work and releasing the opinions of others
Show up for yourself first
Most of us would say that the opinions of other people about our art do not matter in the grand scheme of things. Yet, as human beings, one of our core needs is to belong. So of course, we will be sensitive to other people’s opinions, whether we want to or not. The truth is, some people’s thoughts and opinions do matter because they can help us. We only encounter issues when we need the positive opinions of others for validation. Or we can be easily derailed when someone is critical of or doesn’t like our work. And part of that desire for positive reinforcement is safety. Everyone wants to feel safe. Artists fall into the bad habit of equating safety with belonging. But in the context of creating your art, safety doesn’t come from belonging to the group. Safety is something that we create for ourselves first. If you can learn to create that safety for yourself first, before looking to other people for it, then and only then can you show up authentically in your studio.
Safe and sound
The concept that we can and should be the primary source of safety within our art practice may be challenging for some. We’re so used to looking for a community to tell us whether or not we belong. Or that we’re good enough. Cultivating that safety for yourself means having your own back. It means saying, “Yes, I am an artist, and I don’t need other people’s validation to tell me whether or not I belong here.” Once you create that safety for yourself, go out and find groups that align with who you are as an artist and the goals you want to achieve. But at no point do you need them to feel safe and sound in your art practice.
Embracing the difference
That’s different, right? Because so often we want other people to tell us we’re good. Artists tell me all the time that they “need” to look outside themselves to make sure that they’re “doing it right”. Here’s the thing though: As long as you’re looking outside of yourself, you are not tapping into your inner voice. In fact, you’re tapping into everyone else’s voice except your own. You will constantly second guess your marks for fear of not fitting in. You won’t paint the things you want to paint for fear of losing the safety of the group. You will rely on the opinions of others instead of trusting your own decisions. Our best and most authentic work happens when we release the opinions of others to embrace our own voice. We alone are the chief experts on our work. Only we can determine if we’re doing it right. Listen to this episode for more insight on releasing the opinions of others about your art!