By Karen Lia Schlick
Time for something new! The new year brings hopes and aspirations for change to the front of our minds. “This will be the year that I learn to paint, play a musical instrument, learn to dance, write, or find a way to be creative that’s enjoyable,” we say hopefully.
When it comes to an aspiration that involves creativity, there is often a major stumbling block: the inner critic. The inner critic develops at a young age. It’s an expectation of perfection that squelches the natural joy of self-expression. Whatever we do, the inner critic comes out and stomps on our efforts. The first step in trying something new is learning how to put aside the inner critic. “I can’t draw” or “I can’t dance” are things that we have decided about ourselves; then the inner critic reinforces the belief by rejecting any attempts that we make.
When you decide to embark on something new, the first step is to stand up to that inner critical voice, which I call the gremlin. Be aware it does not have your best interests at heart!
When it comes to creativity and art making, there are many misleading ideas. One of them is that there is a “right way” to do it. The result should be something of beauty or at least, something recognizable.
The unfortunate result of this expectation is that it crushes self-expression. So what are we doing, if not creating objects of beauty? That’s a question that we can explore further.
To begin, what new things might you like to try in the coming year? What does your inner critic say? Practice telling it to get lost! Your door to a creative life is waiting to be opened. Stand aside, gremlins!