Every artist, every creative being at one time or another has to stare down the enormous giant of self-doubt. If you expect to produce a body of work worth the journey, in any discipline of the creative arts, you must learn to survive that overwhelming desire to self-destruct.
Wrestling with that critical voice inside that convinces you that it's better off to just quit, is almost a right of passage for artists. It's much like a dark menacing forest that seems to stretch on for miles, if you can find your way through to the other side, everything will appear much brighter and clearer in the full light of day. The lure of self-destruction is a trap that must be overcome with care. Negotiation is futile.
In those moments of self-doubt when you feel like your work is entirely insignificant, it actually feels like an accomplishment to simply trash it all. That too is a deceptive trap. I just battled the exact feelings again myself recently, even though I thought I was somehow immune to the voice of that old familiar friend.
Most often, the critical voice that rises up inside requires that drastic change be made immediately. Quitting looks and feels like a perfectly reasonable option. Trust me on this one, watching your body of work burning up in a symbolic blazing fireball is not the answer.
Anyone who has dedicated themselves to the creative arts understands that the lure of self-destruction is very real. It's a feeling that artists will wrestle with over and over again in a lifetime. But much like a loud and terrifying windstorm, these feelings shall pass. If you know what to look for you'll be prepared to board up the windows of your soul and ride out the storm.
I encourage you to stay the course, to continue doing what you do. Your contribution is not insignificant. That's a lie. Everything you create is only one small thread weaved into your body of work. Measuring our creative worth is typically done when we compare ourselves to others or to some unreasonable standard we'll never live up to.
Most often those feelings are rooted in fear, an irrational fear that we will not measure up as an artist. It's faulty thinking. Kill it now and allow yourself to become who you truly are as an artist. Let yourself be inspired by the great works of others and then use it as kindling to spark a fresh fire in your own work.Stop comparing yourself to someone else and fulfill the mission that you've been given. Trust your instincts and don't veer from your own unique path. Focus on what you're passionate about and what you choose to create.
If you need a break from painting then, write. Burned out on writing? Then indulge yourself in photography, drawing with charcoal or even songwriting for a season. Don't give yourself over to those feelings of self-destruction. It's an unforgiving task master that requires more fuel for the fire once you've sacrificed your best work in the furnace of doubt.
I know that every word you're reading right now is resonating in your soul. You can do this. You can make it through that dark forest and back into the light. In fact, I'm counting on it. I'm counting on you.
"Through self-doubt we lose our sense of self-worth."