How To Keep Your Inner Critic in Check

Written by artist Brittany Moyer

Oh no. It’s happening again... Your inner critic has clawed their way back into your mind, whispering all sorts of cruel ideas in your ear.

“You’re not good enough.”

“You’ll never be as successful as this other artist.”

“Why do you even bother?”

Soon enough, you find yourself scrolling through an infinite feed of highly curated art posts as you tumble deep down into the dark pit of comparison.

But you don’t have to stay down there. You have the power to escape that horrible place and embrace your title as an artist, to be proud of your work, and to have gratitude for where you are right now.

And you’re not alone. I’ve also experienced that nasty feeling of hopelessness that comes with comparison. When this happens to me, I choose to reframe, redirect, and refocus.

To reframe my situation, I remind myself that I am on my own journey. I’m not on the same path as that artist I keep comparing myself to. My calling is different from everyone else’s call. And because of that, only I can answer the call that has been assigned to me. I’ve tried answering others’ calls in the past, but it just wasn’t fulfilling. It was hollow, because the call meant for me was left unanswered.

Deep down, I understood that another person’s art is the culmination of their entire life’s experiences. They have been prepared to answer their artistic purpose the way they do because of where they’ve been. The same goes for me: the work I need to make is a direct reflection of the life I have lived. And only I have the potential to make this work.

Once I have reestablished these ideas, I redirect. I turn around and find the trailhead that leads back to my purpose. I put my phone away and refamiliarize myself with my journey. I’ll pull out old sketchbooks, paintings, and drawings and see just how far I’ve come from when I first started.

Taking these small steps back towards my true purpose helps me find my inner artist again. Getting back to the root of it all guides and redirects me to where I need to go, not where others have already been. And most importantly, it reminds me of why I started making art in the first place. With this rekindled fire, I can move forward with enthusiasm and authenticity.

Finally, I refocus on the journey ahead and the process of making art - not the end result, how many likes I’ll get, or if I’ll make a sale. I’ll take a moment and write out the steps I need to take to make my dream a reality. This could be putting in more practice in the studio, spending less time on my screen, or planning out a collection of work that challenges me.

In this step, it’s very easy to try to imitate another’s journey. I work hard to focus on being honest and open to the path that’s specific to me and what I’m capable of. When I have these steps laid out, I start following my newly created map. I remind myself that the steps I need to take might change over time. My path may have a couple switchbacks along the way, but they’re all leading to the same place: my true purpose.

With these steps, you too can take control over your destiny again. You can stop falling into the trap of comparison. You can get back to where you’re supposed to be, and enjoy the process as it slowly unfolds to reveal what you were always meant to be: an artist.

This blog post was written by Brittany Moyer, a Colorado based multi-media artist. To learn more about her, visit her Instagram!