The other day I got to talking with a client about writing.
She used to write several years ago and was even published in a magazine, but stopped because she, basically, got all caught up in working her full-time job and, well, living life. Currently, she has been feeling the urge to start writing again, but has been really struggling to get started.
Needless to say, I could definitely relate.
About two years ago I started my coaching business and setup the website. I knew I wanted to blog in order to help market my coaching because I absolutely loved writing, but, to be completely honest, I had no clue what to write about.
The coach I was working with at the time told me to write something around at least 20 titles for potential blog posts. Needless to say, I could only come up with five titles and then found myself saying, "But that sums up everything I need to say".
Clearly, my ego was having a heyday with this one.
This struggle of coming up with 20 different blog titles, then led to being highly self-critical about the articles I did write. My coach offered to look over some of my articles that I wrote to critique so I would send her every single article I'd write.
About 95% percent of the time, she would simply respond in saying "Great job!" or "I love this one!" without very minor critiques. Needless to say, I would then react with, "But... are you sure? There's got to be something terribly wrong with it, right?"
I was constantly worrying about if my articles made sense, if people resonated with anything I said, if what I said was good or correct, and if I had all my grammar, syntax, and spelling errors all figured out.
I was stuck in that place where nearly everybody goes when they have a creative outlet... a place of resistance. A place that is saturated with inner voices of "That's not good enough" or "You're doing it wrong". A place where we can find ourselves with a motivation to be "perfect" and nothing less.
Fortunately, for me, this wasn't the first time I had to deal with this kind of resistance when doing a creative outlet. A year earlier that I had taken up watercolor painting while living in South Korea. I had always wanted to learn how to paint, but I never had the opportunity to learn. I heard about a local art teacher who spoke English, so I took advantage and signed right up.
I went in thinking it'd be fun and relaxing.
Boy was I wrong...
My very first class my art teacher gave me a picture of a sunflower and told me to paint it. No instruction. No guidance. No help whatsoever. She just wanted to see "what I could do".
Needless to say, I freaked out. I spent the majority of that first class stopping to second guess myself and then looking her direction asking, "What do I do now?" but getting little to no guidance.
Even once we started the actual teaching and learning process, this didn't change very much for me. Yes, I was learning skills, techniques, and getting a lot more help and guidance, but my inner critic certainly didn't quiet down. In fact, it got louder.
I'd spend my 3 hours painting two nights a week dealing with this voice in my head saying, "You're gonna mess this up", "You're doing it wrong", "You can't do this" and so on.
It seemed that my biggest struggle in learning how to paint wasn't actually getting the techniques down, but gradually learning how to quiet my mind down enough so that I could paint really well.
And, eventually, it managed to quiet -- just as it did in my writing as well. Of course it's not fully 100% gone, but it's not nearly as loud as it was. I've learned how to manage it -- and, because I learned how to manage it, I've been able to create many beautiful paintings and written many beneficial articles.
Getting through the mud is tough, but once you manage to break through it, it is so miraculous to finally be able to bloom. There's a flow that starts to happen and your intuition seems to guide you to things that start to really energize you and make you feel inspired and excited about what you're doing. You start to feel more in-tune with your own inner truth.
And that's why we all need a creative outlet -- its not to simply create things -- but because we allow ourselves to fully express our true selves. We allow our own inner light to shine through in our creations.
That's why expressive arts therapy can be so effective. The process of confronting and overcoming the inner blocks in our minds allows a great healing to take place. We can heal old wounds and release old blocks, so that we can express what our souls truly want us to express.
So pick up that paint brush, commit to doing the work, and allow yourself to shine.
Take action now!
In the comments below, share with me one creative outlet that you would like to take up then make a plan to do it!
Jennifer is a self and relationship coach and the founder of JenniferTwardowski.com. Her mission is to help women awaken to the love that they possess within themselves so they can create more loving relationships in their lives. Click here for her Free Self and Relationship Healing Meditation and weekly blog updates. To learn about how you can work with her, click here.