In an effort to increase my ability to express myself creatively, I recently began a drawing class for beginners. I have quickly come to realize that although my skill is increasing, this class is an exercise in finding my strength and learning to let go of the voice inside my head.
In yoga we call it the ego, my art teach refers to it as the “inner critic”. We all know it, fuelled by our fears looking for any opportunity to tell us that no matter what we do, we will never be good enough.
The moment I began to put my pencil to paper, the voice gained strength; “why are you even bothering? You will never be good at this….there is no way you will learn this…you suck…you will never be more than mediocre”.
With that, a storm of warm fear and self loathing began to rise in my belly. I was overwhelmed with anger and sadness.
Directed to ignore my inner critic, I painfully continued on. With every mark of my pencil, the voice became louder and louder, each line I drew appearing more disjointed than the last.
My creativity was gone, and I was fighting the incredible urge to rip my paper into a million pieces. It was in that moment that I was instructed to take a deep breath, let go of the inner critic, and just work with the lines on my paper.
Surprisingly, as I focused on my breath and worked with what was in front of me, I could feel the creativity growing, peace and calm washing over. Realizing that it was my choice to believe what the voice inside my head was saying, I felt unbelievably free.
The voice inside my head is becoming more pronounced when my fear rises, yet quieter overall. Each time it bellows, I breathe, release the tension from my body, and work with the lines that I have drawn on my paper of life. No mistakes, just opportunities to let go and create something beautiful.
You are stronger than you know, more courageous than you believe. What will you do with the lines on your paper?