Ways you might be self-sabotaging your creativity

There are many reasons why we might self-sabotage ourselves, no matter how much we want to enjoy some me time and learn to paint, we find ourselves getting in our own way - often in many, subtle ways, we may not even be aware of it!

But why? It could be that we don't believe we deserve good things, so we unconsciously push them away. It could be that we're afraid of success and our brain is telling us that we're not good enough. It could be that we have some kind of past experience (like an awful art teacher or art workshop that didn't work out) that's impacting our current decisions. Whatever the reason, self-sabotage is a common way we hold ourselves back from reaching our full potential.

How do you know though when you are holding yourself back? After all, you are putting in the painting practice so why do you always feel like the reality of this journey isn't matching with the vision you had in your head? Here are a few ways you might be sabotaging your creativity without being aware of it...

1. You suddenly feel the urge to create even though you know you have somewhere to be soon.

You find yourself having a cheeky little painting session right before the school run. Great, that's what wet palettes are for isn't it, those short bursts of creativity! The problem is when your painting sessions always seem to be cut short by your other commitments. This is a great way for us to convince ourselves we are trying yet our mind and body are never allowed to fully relax when it's got one eye on the clock.

Break the sabotage - schedule time in your day where it won't be cut short OR be realistic of what you can achieve in that time. Why not practice with water so you're not dashing around cleaning your brushes at the last minute?

2. Everyone in the house is occupied so you can enjoy a little creative mindfulness...

This is great when they are quietly occupied but when you can hear them arguing, or cooking, when you can hear their music these noises can keep you from fully focusing on YOUR activity. Painting to the soundtrack of construction, laundry in progress or noisy neighbours is going to scatter your focus and prevent you from enjoying the mindfulness painting can bring, suddenly it becomes easier to convince yourself that you should give up because painting just isn't as relaxing as you thought it was going to be.

Break the sabotage - in the times when your painting space is feeling less than calm, why not tidy your space or transfer some designs so that when you do have calm you are ready to go?

3. You are using old supplies that have seen better days.

Of course we don't want to waste anything and throw a perfectly good bottle of paint in the bin BUT if you are spending more time trying to achieve the right consistency of paint than actually painting what's the point? If you just can't seem to master the brushstrokes and you are trying everything, watching tutorial after tutorial to try to learn, maybe it's time to make life easy and invest in the right supplies. That way, you'll know if you still need practice or if it was just your tools...

Break the sabotage - you are worthy of good supplies and life can be easy. Why not donate those thick paints to a school or charity where they can enjoy them? Keep those old brushes for basecoating but invest in a new brush to help you bring your creative ideas to life

4. You are forcing your creative time even when you're not feeling it

But it's the only time you've got this week! You've had it pencilled in your schedule for ages! Unfortunately, our creative mojo doesn't always get the memo. (Yes, sometimes painting can calm those negative feelings we experience but) Sitting down to paint when you feel irritated, impatient and frustrated can only make things worse.

Break the sabotage - take a walk, surf Pinterest, do something that will recharge your batteries and inspire your creativity but give yourself a break from actually painting. Your paints and brushes will be waiting when you are ready and you'll feel such a difference when you've stepped away from it for a while.

Have you recognized yourself in some of these? Don’t worry. There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to preventing self sabotage, but there are some general steps you can take to help yourself. Being aware of what you're doing is the key!

The concept of Progress not Perfection isn't just about our brushstrokes, it's about making progress inside ourselves too. Let go of those expectations, those plans and know that it's ok to be flexible, it's ok to take time out. Progress is progress whether we are going in a straight line or taking a few detours now and then.
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