My clients in the arts regularly complain that they don’t trust themselves. By this they mean many different things: that they don’t trust that they can do good work; that they don’t trust that they can perform under fire; that they don’t trust their own decisions or even their decision-making process; that, most poignantly, they simply don’t trust themselves in some global sense. They are predicting that they will do the wrong thing or in some other way fail themselves.
This is often tied to other areas where they don’t trust themselves: they don’t trust themselves around food, around alcohol, around intimate relationships … they feel prospectively out of control or about to make a poor decision in multiples areas of their life. Of course they have good reasons to feel this way: they have their own past experiences. They aren’t just making this fear, worry or self-doubt up. They have failed themselves before.
Nevertheless, that lack of self-trust must change. You must trust yourself more, even if you’ve failed yourself in the past. Those binges, those crazy affairs, those episodes of self-sabotage, those less than stellar paintings or sculptures, all of that must be put in the past, silenced at a deep level, and met with new resolve to make yourself proud and do better and with new tactics that help you recover and maintain your self-trust.
In this regard there are many tactics to try: a 12-step program, a meditation practice, a self-affirmation practice, a spiritual practice, focused journaling, coaching or therapy, a supportive teacher, workshops and retreats, and more. Whatever tactic or tactics you employ, your basic stance ought to be the following one: I can heal; I can do better; I can get a grip on my thoughts, feelings, and behaviors; I can put the past to rest.
If you stand pat not trusting yourself, that lack of trust will play itself out in every aspect of your life – including, of course, in your art. You will want to earn your own trust by actually changing and improving: but you also want to begin trusting yourself right now, by affirming that you really do have the right stuff and that you aren’t bound to fail. Make the changes you need to make; but while you are making those changes, stand up and vote for yourself. Please be on your own side.
Eric Maisel is the author of more than 40 books. His latest is Secrets of a Creativity Coach and his next is Life Purpose Boot Camp. Visit Dr. Maisel at https://www.ericmaisel.comor drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.