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The Inner Critic

By September 29, 2016Uncategorized
I can’t believe some of the shit my brain says. I wouldn’t let anyone talk to me the way I talk to myself when I try to paint.



Joan Mitchell

“This is stupid. I’m stupid. This isn’t going to work. I’m wasting my time. I don’t know what I’m doing. I’m just embarrassing myself. There are more important things to do with my time. How could I spend all this money on art supplies? It’s selfish and wasteful and arrogant. Shouldn’t I do something that’s actually productive?”

You get the idea. Beginners think it’s a beginner thing. Professionals feel like frauds. Whatever it is, it’s incessant and it can stop us from doing what we want to do. I’ve already decided that painting is important to me, so I’m mostly past the point of justifying that I actually should be painting, but still the voice comes. Sometimes I turn on podcasts and give the audio side of my brain something to chew on. After all these years I’ve grown rather familiar with it, and see it like an uninvited guest. These voices aren’t going to leave with any amount of insistence or force, so instead of fighting it directly I offer the jerk a cup of tea. Then I keep painting.

Here are some more strategies:

Goya, The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters

Goya, The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters

  1. I pretend the voice is coming from a person who is standing in the room. I can’t help but laugh and pity them because the person is obviously being such a miserably selfish turd that I can’t even take what they say seriously.
  2. Whenever they start up again, I pause and look at them.
  3. I check my mood. Why does this keep coming up today? Am I tired? Am I worried about something? How is this effecting my status or concerns?
  4. Breathe. Yeah, yeah. I know. I’ll do it in a minute… or tomorrow. No really. Breathe. Breathe again. Continue breathing.
  5. I try to treat myself as I would a good friend. If I’m too low and that’s difficult, I try to treat myself as a good friend would treat me.
  6. Sometimes I’m just bombarded and tired, and I take a tiny nap. If I’m pushing myself too hard it’s likely I’ll wake up feeling better after giving myself a break.


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