Imposter Syndrome is a pervasive psychological phenomenon that affects many individuals, regardless of their accomplishments or talent. For creative individuals, this self-doubt and fear of being exposed as a fraud can have a significant impact on their artistic pursuits. In this blog article, I will delve into how Imposter Syndrome affects creativity and provide practical strategies to overcome its grip, allowing artists to embrace their true talents and unleash their creative potential.
The Impact of Imposter Syndrome on Creativity
Imposter Syndrome can hinder creative individuals in multiple ways. It can lead to self-censorship, causing artists to doubt their ideas, skills, and worthiness of recognition. This self-doubt can stifle experimentation, limit creative risks, and prevent individuals from fully expressing their unique voices. Imposter Syndrome can also generate feelings of anxiety and stress, further impeding the creative process and stifling inspiration.
Recognizing the Signs of Imposter Syndrome
Identifying the signs of Imposter Syndrome is the first step in combating its effects. Artists experiencing Imposter Syndrome often discount their achievements, attribute success to luck or external factors, fear being exposed as a fraud, and constantly compare themselves to others. They may also avoid seeking feedback or sharing their work, fearing criticism or rejection. Awareness of these signs can help artists understand that they are not alone in their struggle and that their feelings are not a reflection of their true abilities.
Reframing Self-Talk and Challenging Negative Beliefs
Imposter Syndrome thrives on negative self-talk and limiting beliefs. To counteract its influence, it's crucial to reframe negative thoughts and challenge the beliefs that fuel self-doubt. Engage in positive self-affirmations, remind yourself of past successes, and acknowledge your unique talents and contributions. Recognize that making mistakes is a natural part of the creative process and that growth comes from embracing challenges rather than seeking perfection.
Seek Support and Build a Creative Community
One effective strategy for combating Imposter Syndrome is to seek support from like-minded individuals. Surround yourself with a supportive creative community that understands your struggles and can provide encouragement and constructive feedback. Engaging in conversations with fellow artists can help normalize the feelings of self-doubt and foster a sense of belonging. Collaborative projects, workshops, or joining creative groups can also provide opportunities for shared experiences and growth.
Embrace Vulnerability and Share Your Work
One of the most effective ways to overcome Imposter Syndrome is to face it head-on by embracing vulnerability and sharing your work with others. Understand that your art is a reflection of your unique perspective and experiences, and it has value. Start by sharing your creations with a trusted circle of friends or mentors, gradually expanding your audience as you gain confidence. Embracing feedback, whether positive or constructive, can help you grow as an artist and reinforce your belief in your abilities.
Imposter Syndrome can cast a shadow on creativity, dampening artistic potential and preventing artists from fully realizing their talents. By recognizing the signs of Imposter Syndrome, reframing negative self-talk, seeking support, and embracing vulnerability, creative individuals can break free from its grip. Overcoming Imposter Syndrome allows artists to reclaim their confidence, nurture their creative spirit, and create meaningful and authentic works that resonate with others. Remember, your creativity is valuable, and you deserve to share it with the world.
Are you finding yourself not creating as often as you would like? Do you find yourself avoiding the art studio or your laptop altogether? Procrastinating much? Do you have a tough time deciding which creative project to start? Finding it difficult to complete a creative project? Resisting marketing your creativity project or product?
If you find yourself with one or more of these symptons, you may be have creative anxiety. According to author and creativity coach, Dr. Eric Maisel, creative anxietiy is "this kind of anxiety regularly stops creative people in their tracks and makes their experience of creating more painful than pleasurable. It stops would-be creative people entirely, preventing them from realizing their dreams. Anxiety is the number one problem that creative people face, and yet few know about it." Couple this with the uncertainty of a nearly two year old pandemic, socioeconomic crisis and social unrest, our ability to create at all can be at stake.
Just about every creative gets some form of creative anxiety at some point in their life. The trick is to find a way to deal with it when it rears it's ugly head so you don't become or stay immobile as a result. Creative anxiety is designed to keep you from being productive creatively....or the spend circles in fear, procrastination, "research" for your project or just not attempting anything at all.
So what can you do to deal with creative anxiety? Here's a few ideas:
1. Adopt mindful habits to deal with your creative anxiety: Mindfulness activities such as meditation, yoga nidra, and other similar activities can help immensely. If you are embarking on a creative endeavor, consider getting into the habit of doing a guided meditation focusing on creativity that will help relax your mind and focus on the task at hand. If time is a factor, a series of deep breathing exercises (breathing in from the nose and out from the mouth) can help as well.
2. High vibe sounds: Consider having a playlist of favorite songs or music that inspires your creative impulses readiy when you begin to work on your creative project. I find certain music like low-fi hip hop or jazz helpful when I am writing. I like classic rock when I am creating. Some people like classical or acoustic sounds. Find what suits you and have it available when you create or write.
3. Aromatherapy: Aromatherapy, which is also known as essential oil therapy is defined as a "holistic healing treatment that uses essential oils to improve the health of body, mind and spirit." Essential oils are made using natural plant extracts by steaming or pressing different parts of a plant and then capturing the compound which produces the fragrance. Aromatherapy has many benefits including helping reduce stress and anxiety. By placing a few drops in aromatherapy diffuser, on your skin (check to see if the oil is safe to do so or needs a "carrier" oil), or in the bath, the fragrance can help with creative anxiety before working on a project. Some oils to consider include wild orange, lemon, tangerine, lavendar, peppermint, sandalwood, jasmine, bergamont, chaomile, and ylang ylang.
4. Perfectionism: As creatives we all want our work to be a near perfect as possible. Quality control is imperative. However, an obession with perfection can put us in a hamster wheel that can force us to never finish a project or get stuck because it's not "good enough". Find a way to relax and write an affirmation that you can see that addresses that doing the best you can is enough or that all your efforts are enough. Work with that affirmation to help overcome the anxiety that if things are not perfect it will never be ready to be completed or sent to the world.
Creative anxiety can get the best of us but also can be overcome. How do you deal with your creative anxiety? What would you add to this list?