Meet my worst critic – her name is Betty!

Oct 19, 2020

Over the past few months I have been working on the largest piece I have ever created, I took on this project at the same time as launching my book clubs, arranging my next art workshop, putting in my entry for the Inaugural Hibiscus and Bays Art Awards, and painting new pieces for the upcoming pre-Xmas sale at Albany House – oh and holding down a very busy day job!

To say that I may have bitten off more than I can chew is probably an understatement – but I do have good strong teeth and I can chew vigorously LOL –  So bite by bite, chunk by chunk I have been working my way through each task. (By the way anyone who says they can multi task with maximum efficiency must be lying).

All the while sitting in the background is THE CANVAS … The piece I have been working on is called ‘Back to the void’.  As often is the case the name came to me as I was creating, whilst working with an intuitive mind and open heart.

But this piece has been haunting me – first I thought it was the size “what was I thinking taking on something this large?” and then I thought I had lost my way “you have no idea what you are doing, maybe your earlier paintings were a fluke!” then I got “you will never finish this piece, you should stick with the day job!” – and that is when I went WOAH!! STOP!! The voice in my head was not my creative goddess, the person I was listening to was my inner critic, and she was taking over my life (by the way just for clarity – hearing voices in your head is not necessarily a sign of insanity!)

I have a name for my inner critic her name is Betty. She sits on my shoulder and whispers in my ear, she hides around corners and jumps out on me when my resolve is low. In moments of creative crisis Betty stands in front of me with a placard telling me I will fail. I’m sure I am not alone; you guys probably have your own Betty? But what to do? How could I get the better of her? Or how could I make friends with her?

I needed to find a way to take back control of my inner thoughts, and I decided to get in touch with my inner critic. So I sit down, pen in hand and begin my inner work.

First step – get to know my inner critic, give her a name, describe or doodle what she look like? (great idea for a visual person). Ok I have this one – world meet Betty, Betty meet the world!

Second step – list what she commonly tells me. Ok I have this one too, writing down all the things she’s said to me proves so cathartic.

Third step – list how she’s been holding me back? Now this was interesting, a list just flowed from me (and by the way will form my next 12 months business plan!)

Fourth step – decide what I will do instead? Great now I have an action plan!

Fifth step – work out how I will ‘talk to Betty’and keep her from running my life? I decide it is easier to make friends with her, to acknowledge her presence, thank her for her input but not to act on her advice. Feeling better already.

Sixth step – ditch the thing that fuels Betty – Comparison! First I go to my Facebook page and I unfollow people who I have been comparing myself too.  Then I go to my inbox and unsubscribe from all of the newsletters that feed Betty with comparison and self doubt.  I immediately unsubscribe from 47 newsletters. Oh my goodness – a weight is lifted from my shoulders !!!

The next day rolls round, and I stand in front of THE CANVAS and I begin to paint, without listening to Betty, without comparing myself with others, just listening to my intuition…. and then the magic happens – the work suddenly comes together. The paint just flows, the images begin to gel into a whole and all that is left to do are minor touches. Sighs…

So for now Betty is on vacation, my email inbox is up to date and I am one happy intuitive artist. 

What name would you give your inner critic? What do they often say to you? I would love to hear your stories – so please comment below. 

Blessings  Angela x

Thank you to Angela Raspass for your inspiration for my process.

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