Wednesday, September 28, 2011

5 Ways to manage your Inner Critic! and WIP

Hi Everyone,
watercolor on paper 14 x 16 work in progress
I'm back from vacation and back to reality.  I've been working on my painting.  I'm always open for title suggestions, my creativity seems to come to a screeching halt when it comes to the title:)

I've been thinking a lot about his artistic journey that we're on and have noticed that we end up being our own worst critic.  Every time I put brush to paper I can't help but have doubting thoughts come bubbling up.  Why is that?  

I have to admit being an artist is like riding a roller coaster.  It has it's highs and lows.  That building anticipation, the sheer adrenaline high and then those gut wrenching scary lows.  My husband is currently training for a deployment to Afghanistan.  They are putting him through simulations that prepare him for the worst situations in combat.  The thought behind it is that if you already know how bad it could be you it will lessen your fears and prepare you to deal with anything that comes your way.

I started thinking about this and realized that the adage the only thing to fear is fear itself, is so true!    We hold ourselves back because we are afraid of the unknown and the worst possible result.  Why can't we envision our worst case scenarios, those obstacles that are holding us back as artist?.  Envision those situations face them and move on, move over inner critic, I'm taking back control!

I heard a life coach on the radio today, Tara Mohr, she was addressing how to deal with our inner critic.  She had some great tools that we can use to tackle that nagging voice.

5 Ways to Manage you Inner Critic!

1.  Recognize your inner critic's voice.  This can also be a version of an outer critic that is internalized.   Recognize that voice and label it!!

To be able to gain control of our inner critic we have to be aware of that voice.  Spend some time really paying attention to your thoughts.  Become aware of just how many negative thoughts creep in during the day!

2.  Find the humor in your inner critic.  It's time to listen to what that inner critic is saying, really hear it and realize the absurdity of what it is saying!

3.   Don't try to argue with your inner critic.  Instead write down what your inner critic is saying, question and analyze it, what are we really fearing?

4.  Give you inner critic the day off.  Tell your inner critic to take a hike for the day.  Write a thanks but no thanks letter to your inner critic.

5.  Kill you inner critic with kindness.  For every negative thought that creeps in there you have to counteract this with 10 positive thoughts.

I saw this on MONACO Interiors blog post today, how perfect!!
Let's face it we're never going to graduate from our inner critic, but we can hear that voice and take a different direction.  How do you deal with your inner critic? 


  1. I struggle with my inner critic all the time... it can be so tiring! It seems like each time I feel I managed to "tame" it, the problem comes back... it's a lot of work, so thank you for this post... it's good to know that I'm not the only one :)

  2. Carrie, you will never know how much I needed this 'talk' today! I'm going to print it out and hang it in my studio! Thank you. And you are very right - we cannot let negativity win. Also I try to do one thing each day that I'm 'afraid' to do. I am surprised sometimes by what I can accomplish!

  3. Oh Carrie, I gave my inner critic a new is now a MIME. I can't hear it anymore. Besides that I am old(er) and don't hear as well any more any way....what's that! I thought I heard something but I guess not. :)
    Carol B.

  4. Great to see your work again, your so talented! Keep it up the great work!

  5. the painting is coming along so beautifully carrie. how about "the lineup?"

    my inner critic was the voice of both parents at one time, sometimes it's himself, mostly it's just me now that it's dawned on me that there's only one persons responsible for the tapes i play and replay in my head and that's me. your advice is right on target. i spent a 24-hour period really listening to the voice, writing down what it was saying. it's incredible the line of poop we feed ourselves on a daily basis. i even did byron katie's "the work," which puts you on the spot and asks in a very direct way if what one believes is actually true! very interesting.

    i now believe we are as afraid of succeeding as we are of failing. whatever. i now think that if i struggle with it i make it real. we'll see.

    your post was extraordinarily helpful, thank you so much. and, i wish your husband good luck and God Speed.

  6. Carrie, thank you for visiting my blog so I would come here and read this post! You've given some important reminders about how to deal with my own worst critic.

    There are times, though, that criticism, both from others or oneself, can be viable. I'm never going to grow if I don't overcome continued problems in painting (or life either, for that matter).

    Because seeing problems does not automatically result in finding remedies, I've been thinking more lately about where to seek help. I've often tried to silence my inner critic through the years but recently I got a second opinion from a respected fellow artist and he told me the very things my inner critic was saying...except he didn't leave room to excuse it away.

    He made me realize I need to do some serious work on overcoming the faults in my paintings. So I'll be looking for books and artist teachers who know more than I do and can help me figure it out.

  7. Fear of success is a frequent method used by creative types to bring themselves down. I have suffered from every known method at one time or another but now that I am older I am FINALLY beginning to realize what a waste of time that all was. One of the things I tell myself when I start to fear that I am about to mess up what has started out to be a pretty nice painting is that "it's only paint." Bringing it down from the level of preciousness seems to help me. I am loving this new work of yours - it is looking wonderful! And best wishes for your husband going into that dangerous area of the world. Sending prayers.

  8. All of your paintings are to die for, this one included! Thanks so much for the info on the inner critic. Love your followers' comments about turning it into a mime, fear of success and knowing when you need feedback for help. The trick is decifering which to listen to when. All the best to your husband and to you who will wait and worry. I hope the state of the world starts improving soon.

  9. My inner critic has an extremely loud voice... I'm going to try some of these suggestions to lessen the volume!

  10. I fight all the time with my inner critic..still don't know who wins..! I'm still laughing with Carol's comment!! your WIP is coming out beautifully, Carrie! Looking forward to your next post.

  11. Love the jars and always enjoy seeing your WIP...gorgeous so far! Learned a lot reading the post- I always think you all are so good and that you would not have any doubts at all...glad everyone shares.
    Perhaps most importantly...Thanks and thoughts and prayers for your husband and what he is doing to serve our country and protect all of us. Appreciate what you both are doing for him to do that:)

  12. My inner critic is alive and well. Shutting down those negative thoughts is difficult. I never thought about writing them down. Thanks for this post.

    I think of you often, as I also had small children when my husband was away when he was in the Air Force.

  13. the best book I've read on getting rid of the inner critic is

  14. I can never seem to quieten my own inner critic. She's so loud!! Far louder than the other me! She's forever telling me that I am not a 'real Artist' and she is always telling me that this painting will be another failure before I have even picked up my brush!
    I must stop letting her get to me - you are right!!! The only time she was ever quiet was when I completed the bear - even she liked that one, lol! Maybe I need to paint some more bears :0) Your new painting is, as always remarkable! :0D

  15. The best way to understand the destructive power of your inner critic is to write down everything he "says" and ask someone to read (and act) it for you!
    Quite an experience!