by Stephanie Lindquist & Glendalys Medina
It’s common to face discouraging comments and life circumstances as a creative. We’re always putting ourselves on the line and showing others our innards and dreams–that’s what makes us creative! But not everyone will appreciate our work. In fact many will not. They may say nasty things behind our back or to our face. And sometimes life will throw us challenges that may have us questioning the value of living a creative life entirely!
Recently I’ve had a lot of discouraging thoughts about my future as a creative run through my head. In times like this it’s easy to recall some mean things people have said to me. “You’re too lazy to succeed.” “I told you so. You should just get so-and-so job.” What makes it worse is that these comments sometimes come from people I love. Once these fears seep into me, it feels nearly impossible to pull them out. I feel lethargic and depressed.
There are a lot of techniques to change your mood, but here are a few that we use to lift our spirits so we can get back to our happy, productive, creative selves.
Never take advice from someone who has not done it themselves.
We tell each other this one often.
Still have your friend’s stinging words cycling through your thoughts telling you your creative dreams are unrealistic, impossible, silly or worthless? Well, have they achieved whatever you’re seeking? No?!
Then stop listening to them! They have no experience in the matter.
As Jay-Z says in “Already Home:”
And as for the critics, tell me I don’t get it. Everybody can tell you how to do it, they never did it.
Take 90 seconds.
I’m still struggling to master this technique, but others swear by it. Next time you’re feeling down or angry or disappointed or discouraged try this method we learned from Martha Beck and tell us how it works.
“These days, when Jill Bolte Taylor finds herself feeling any sort of unpleasant emotional reaction to a situation, she says she simply checks her watch and waits ninety seconds. That’s how long it takes for her body–and yours–to process the hormonal reactions associated with fear, anger, or grief. If you experience them without resistance, the emotions then disappear, though they may return again, but only in ninety-second waves. .. Instead of pushing away or holding onto experiences through mental storytelling, she simply felt the negative emotion until it went away, leaving her back in euphoria.” – Martha Beck, Finding Your Way in a Wild New World
Laugh or at least sing while riding your bike.
Make light of whatever sad situation you feel you’re in. Joke about how ridiculous your doubts and fears are. Smile and be grateful for what you have.
I am moving soon, and I am terribly frightened about this transition because I feel I haven’t accomplished as much as I would’ve liked to live comfortably in my next city. I feel disappointed in myself and I’m afraid I’ll disappoint others too.
So! While riding my bike I made up a song about all the things I can’t wait to have and do after moving. And in the process, I made myself and Glendalys laugh quite a bit.
“And won’t it be so nice when New York gives us iPhones so I can stay on social media all the time and update people constantly about myself and MD.”
“And I can’t wait for New York to give us a wonderful clean new home and studios for us to continue our work.”
Use ‘What if thinking’ for good.
What if I reached my goals? Then others couldn’t lay on the sidelines with a referee whistle pointing out my mistakes. What if I inspired them to step up their game, or at least join it? What if I was the example, and took their negativity and threw it in the furnace to fuel my fire? What if I prove them wrong? What if I answered “Watch me!”? What if everyone reached their full potential? What do you think would happen?
What are your tried and tested techniques for lifting your mood on rainy days?