Love is in the air… but are we showing ourselves enough? In honor of Valentine’s Day, I thought I would share some of my favorite tips for showing yourself more love, especially if your negative self-talk has been louder than you’d like lately.
I’ve found myself feeling behind and discouraged because it’s February already and I’ve got a long list of goals I “should” have completed by now. I didn’t make time for Valentine’s crafts (I can still do that today, but I’d hoped to film a DIY video for the Hey Mishka YouTube channel), my office is still in disarray, and I have a pile of wedding things I need to do (like yesterday).
But I suspect that if we wallow in “should” mode instead of just being grateful and appreciating ourselves, the creative energy we’re looking for is going to remain elusive. After thinking about this a lot last month, I wrote down these reminders. They’re especially dedicated to my fellow makers and creatives.
Give yourself a compliment (and mean it)
When was the last time you deliberately said something nice about yourself—or your creative work? Being humble is a good quality to have, but self-defeat isn’t helping you. Look directly in the mirror and express something lovely about yourself, your art, your progress, whatever it may be.
“Wow, I’m pretty great at sketching!”
“My characters really resonate with people!”
“I worked really hard and I’m so happy with my latest design!”
Say it, mean it, and let it sink in! Most of us begin the day with negative thoughts already flooding our minds. It only seems to get worse as the day progresses. What if you flipped that script and declared that you’re worthy?
Oh, and start taking other folks’ compliments seriously too. There are no gold medals for perpetually undervaluing yourself.
See your work through others’ eyes
I think we can all agree that it can be hard to see your own creative work objectively. Most creatives don’t think they’re doing anything that special… which is sad, isn’t it?
Consider how enthusiastically you’ve complimented the work of others, whether a friend or someone you follow online. If your favorite artist on IG made a post saying they were no good, you’d probably jump at the chance to correct them, or at least leave them an encouraging comment.
Why not treat yourself to the same encouragement?
Even if your instinct is to put yourself down, others have an easier time acknowledging your talents. Try to look at your art, designs, photos, or content (whatever you make) through the eyes of someone who loves you: Good friends, mentees, significant others, parents. Notice what you see without the veil of self-criticism.
What are some positive things you’ve heard about your work that you can remember? What if, as I mentioned above, you can actually let those kind words sink in and accept them?
Treat yourself to a little something…
Whether or not you’re into heart-shaped candy boxes (I certainly am) I’m guessing you deserve a little treat.
Upgrade that software you use to make your art. Buy yourself a new set of paintbrushes or a cool workspace gadget you’ve been wanting (confession: I really want one of those mini vacuums that suck up eraser crumbs). Create that DIY filming corner you’ve always wanted in your apartment.
What would light you up and make your next project easier, more fun?
Whatever it is, you’ve earned it! And treating yourself to something that will enhance your creative time is always a good idea.
Give yourself a break!
One of the best insights I’ve had into the mind of the artist? It’s that whatever we make will always be at least slightly unsatisfying. This is because we know it came from our own hands.
We see the flaws, we know the process, we’ve been staring at the project for days. We know what it took to get from A to B, and somehow that fosters imposter syndrome and a range of unpleasant thoughts.
But, hey! Maybe just ease up on the judgment and appreciate the beautiful thing you made. Give your inner-artist a break and stop being so hard on them when you complete a project (or decide to take the day off).
The result of your latest endeavor, how many projects you did last month, or whether you’ve reached the skill level you’re aiming for as of today? None of these things make you any more or less of a creative person who deserves encouragement.
If you’re not sure how to give yourself a break, I refer you to step 1. *wink*
That’s all for today, creative pals. I hope you’re able to find some time today to show yourself and your work a little more love than usual. You absolutely deserve it.
Also, when someone calls you an artist, painter, musician (etc) fight the urge to say “Oh, I’m not a ____”. Just own it! Embrace your creative existence. It might be a refreshing change of pace.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
P.S. Feeling ~blah~ this week? Get the Hey Mishka Coffee Break. It’s my semi-weekly newsletter curated to perk you up with good news, inspiration, and bright ideas: heymishkanewsletter.com