As an artist, you live in a dreamworld. It’s a world filled with creative ideas, passion, and fantasy. In that world you meet characters, you hear music, you envision the stories that you want to create.
You love your dreamworld. It’s where all your creative ideas are born and where your big career dreams come to light. This is where you feel most at home.
Living in the dreamworld comes naturally, but that might mean that reality feels like a strange and challenging territory, for you.
The arts world is a particularly big reality to take on. It’s a world filled with uncertainty, unknowns, and competition. Rejection lurks around every corner. It can take a lot to be seen and valued for your real worth. And then there’s the potential for mistreatment and abuse…
So, you may be inclined to avoid reality - not only because you love your dream world so much, but also because the arts world can be harsh and challenging.
What would happen if you dared to see and face reality? What if reckoning with reality could move your artistic career forward? What if there is power in working with the reality?
It’s important to understand that even if you deny reality, reality doesn’t go anywhere. Whatever you wish to avoid is still there to challenge you. In fact, being in denial makes you less able to face your challenges. It can make you more emotionally reactive, overwhelmed, or terrified of the things that you need to face. Denial steals your ability to consciously work within reality. When ignored, reality has a way of taking over and controlling you.
In this emotionally clouded place you can lose your connection to your talents and skills. You’re less likely to put your efforts where they belong. It becomes harder for you to see possibilities and opportunities as they emerge.
There’s a common misconception that your artistic dreamworld needs to be at odds with the practical, mundane, difficult aspects of life. In fact, it is possible to live in your artistic realm while staying grounded in reality.
When you acknowledge and work with reality you become actively engaged in building your career dreams and deepening your creative life.
Acknowledge and validate your need to live in the dreamworld.
Yes, your dreamworld matters to you. You’re an artist. Your inner creative world is the source of your creative passion and vision. It fills you with inspiration and motivation. In this place you connect with your creative energy.
Your dreamworld takes you where you long to be, where you belong, and where you are mostly likely to shine. Your artistic life can be an amazing journey, when you are in touch with your own creative source.
Honor and protect your dreamworld! Allow yourself to fully enjoy it and be there. It’s where you feel at home as an artist.
Remember that tangible rewards are not always a measure of your value.
The arts world is fascinating and beautiful, but it can also be deceiving. Your accomplishments may not always lead to tangible rewards. As an artist you find yourself putting in all you have. Your heart, your time, your finances… And you often don’t get a return that matches your investment.
You can fall into the trap of giving more and more and more just so you can get some compensation for all your hard work. Eventually, you can feel empty. The lack of substantial emotional nourishment and financial rewards can lead to addiction, anxiety, or depression.
When you’re not rewarded and recognized for your skills it can feel like a one-sided love affair in which you give all you have and get very little back. You can run out of life energy, passion, inspiration - all the emotional ingredients you need to feel satisfied, fulfilled, and energized enough to keep creating.
You can protect your sense of self-worth by avoiding the trap of desperately saying ”yes” to everything and anything. Be mindful of your artistic value and resources and when and where you decide to offer your gifts.
You can be intentional about when you say “yes” or “no.” Remember that you are in charge of making decisions about how to use your creative energy.
Yes, put in your best effort, work hard, and continue to develop your creative skills. But remember your heart and your passion belong to all parts of your life, not just your artistic pursuits.
Maybe you’re a great actor, but also a great leader. A great screenwriter as well as an advocate. A fine artist and a great teacher too. Let all parts of who you are be expressed. It doesn’t mean that you have to be a lawyer, teacher, or go get some sort of “day job” to express all your talents. It means you can express who you are in ways that fit or add to your artistic career. Find other meaningful work along with your creative career that can offer you emotional and financial rewards.
You can find emotional or financial rewards from all aspects of your life. You don’t have to express just one of your identities. You are an artist and so much more.
As you navigate all kinds of professional relationships make sure you nourish yourself with some genuine connections, both private and professional.
Seek people who really believe in you, see you, and appreciate you. Be with those who give you that sense of satisfying emotional connection. They are your emotional buffer zone.
Such friends and loved ones feed you emotionally, helping you access all the good feelings. They fill you with empowering energy that enables you to trust yourself, feel inspired, and feel valued. They protect you from rejections, devaluations, attacks, or abuse.
Soaked in all the emotional ingredients that come with real connections, you can connect with your courage and take on the big reality of the arts world.
Authentic, satisfying relationships will sustain you and keep you moving forward.
Being in touch with reality helps you see more clearly who you are as an artist: your unique talents, skills, strengths, and weaknesses. You can understand your value, where you fit in the artistic world, and how you can be something that others can’t.
You can make intentional decisions about what skills you need to improve or hone. Where you should put your efforts, time, and money in the pursuit of personal and professional development.
Being grounded in reality helps you see opportunities as they appear and consciously move towards those that resonate with who you are. When you’re tuned into your opportunities, your best creative self emerges for others to see and value.
Being in a working relationship with reality helps you create your real artistic world, and this is an art in itself.
If I have one wish for you, it is this: Allow yourself to embrace both the creative dreamworld and this reality we all share. It’s from this place of wholeness that your artistic vision can become a reality.
Other Stage 32 Posts By Mihaela:
On the Other Side of Perfectionism You'll Find True Creative Flow
How to Be a More Fulfilled Artist
Mihaela Ivan Holtz is a psychotherapist working with creatives and performers in Los Angeles and says:
Many years ago I found myself in the therapy room with my first creative client. I was full of curiosity and excitement. Creatives have a special place in my heart. I can’t imagine a world without art. My client, an extremely skilled creative, was very passionate and devoted to his art. But, he felt abused, unseen, not valued or rewarded for his work. His fears, anxiety, and self-doubts had taken over. My work is confidential, so I can’t say much...
Fast-forward years later, my client was nominated for a big award. Really amazing! But, the nomination is not the big deal about this story. The fact that he was living with emotional integrity, pride, and working with people that he loved to work with is the big deal. Being seen, valued, and rewarded as an artist is the big deal. That client inspired me to continue working with creatives. And I continued seeing amazing breakthroughs in my creative clients.
Feeling moved by my clients’ journeys, I started to write blogs. I wanted to help and inspire other creatives. After all, I’ve been a part of creatives’ journeys of facing fears, insecurities, challenges, rejections, healing pain, and gaining emotional resilience. I’ve been there through setbacks and victories. Why wouldn’t I share what I’ve learned?
So, I’m here at Stage 32 to share my knowledge with other creatives and performers.
Psychology and art are my two big passions. To me, Psychotherapy is an art and a science, at the same time. Just like an artist, I continually hone my skills. But, I also know when to let go of my skills so I can help my clients create their lives. Creating beautiful lives is an art. While continuing to write my blogs, I feel I’m becoming a writer myself. I have a few stories brewing in my mind... My creatives are inspiring me to express my creativity through writing. We’re all here on a life journey to help, inspire, and become more through each other.
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