Be Kind to Your Art, Be Kind to Yourself
Personal Art is stuff you make for yourself, be it an altered book, art journal, a quilt, a knitted sweater, collaging a treasure box, or anything else. You are making yourself a gift and you can practice compassion throughout the process.
Here’s how to practice self-compassion while making personal art:
- Practice laying down your thoughts of perfection, “should’s”, and expectations. This does take a lot of practice so shift your thoughts away from the automatic judgement (or inner critic) that slips in so easily.
- Remember you ARE creative because you ARE creating something – period. Personal art is not “fine” art to be sold at a gallery. Personal art is purely for your personal use to find your personal style. If you find yourself getting too caught up in what your inner critic is saying, do your art anyway. Work for 5 mins and then notice something that you like about what you just made, repeat.
- Your art comes from your soul/spirit/inner wisdom. There is beauty inside you that wants to come out to play. Your creative style is your inner language. It communicates what you really love (colors, shapes, symbols, etc). Dive into the beauty that you love and find what brings you joy! It may be all things red or the texture of moss or glitter on everything. Whatever makes your heart lighter and sparks your imagination – that is the alphabet your inner muse uses to talk with you.
- Your Inner Critic repeats programming from childhood. The voice in your head that tells you to stay safe by not trying or criticizes anything new is trying to keep you safe inside your comfort zone. Your comfort zone has rules that make you feel comfortable because that’s what you have learned. Somewhere you got the message that your art (or you) were not what other’s expected and you received that message as, I’m not good so what I do is not good enough. Your inner critic tries to keep you in a place that you feel you are good because trying something new will bring condemnation and judgement. Your inner critic is a tape recorder that is set on repeat and IT IS NOT REAL.
- It is safe for you to make art. Nothing bad will happen if you try to doodle or paint or make a necklace! If you don’t like it, start over. It’s that simple.
- Making personal art will take practice. You will make crappy art and it doesn’t hurt you or cause a catastrophe. You are not a fake if you make ugly art. Your first attempts in any artistic medium will look like a kindergartner did it and that is because you start out as a kindergartner. As you practice your personal art, it will get prettier and your style will change along the way. It’s a journey of exploration and you don’t see very far ahead in this process. Keep remembering you will get “better” at making stuff so keep trying! Your creative ability gets stronger pretty fast if you keep with it!
- Here’s what the creative process looks like: try something (anything), look at it, change what you don’t like, and keep the parts you do like.
- You learn as you make stuff you don’t like. It’s just as important to know what you don’t like as it is to know what you like. Trying several colors together might turn out in a way you like or it won’t. You will know that for the next project.
- Use colors, pictures, and shapes that are beautiful to you. Just like putting on your favorite perfume or lighting your favorite candle brings peace and elevates your mood, using visual things that make you feel that way does the same thing. Self compassion and self care is the act of lifting your mood. There is no better way to lift your mood than to collage a bunch of beautiful images that make you feel good.
- Spending time making art is spending time with the most important person in your life – YOU! Doodling or finger painting in your visual journal carves out time for you to”just be” and to practice “being in the moment”. I consider it active meditation. You will have the space to think and to ask yourself, “how are you”, “what am I feeling right now”, “what is it that I really like”? Self care is knowing what you are feeling and how you want to feel so you can get more of what makes you happy.
With personal art and a visual journal you can get clear on how you are feeling and how you want to feel.
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