Reclaim Your Worth. Reclaim Your Art.
As an artist, you need a powerful, resilient, yet flexible and fluid sense of self-worth. Self-worth keeps you connected to your creative energy. When you feel in touch with your self-worth, you can make art that you believe in. You trust the value of what you create - its message, meaning, power, and purpose.
A real trust in your creativity begins with accepting yourself and all that you are. Connected to yourself, you’re able to maintain a solid belief in your own value, despite your perceived strengths or weaknesses, beauty or shadows. Grounded in your sense of self-worth, you don’t question what you create, you just do. You don’t get stuck worrying whether your art it will impact your audience, you just trust that it will find its way to those who will appreciate it. You don’t try to measure its value, you just feel its value. And, you don’t compare yourself with what others are creating, you just get to work and make your imprint into the world.
When you are in this mindset it’s not about proving anything. It’s about living and playing in the fantasy realm. It’s about bringing your daydreams to life. It’s about engaging in your craft and your pure self-expression. Fully trusting your creativity, you can give clear voice to unanswered questions, the different complex human experiences, or the unique depth of your characters.
Yes, all of this is possible when you’re in touch with your self-worth. It’s a simple yet powerful way to live, but it can feel so difficult to attain. In truth, it’s not about attaining anything at all...
Self-worth is not about who you are, it’s about what you do with what you are.
Self-worth is not an entity. It’s not something you possess or can lose. Rather, self-worth is something you can have access to. It’s something that flows forth when you’re in a relationship with all of who you are - your greatness, your messiness, your unfinished parts, your craziness, your brightness, and your darkness.
To embrace your sense of self-worth is to embrace your most authentic self and your most authentic experiences.
Self-worth is not about never feeling insecure or scared. It’s not about avoiding feelings of shame, rejection, or about never feeling unseen or unloved. Self-worth is about trusting that despite all that, you still have value. Therefore, you can express your creative energy, show up, and bring your art in the world.
Regardless of your experiences, self-worth protects you from letting anything stand in your way of being creative. It helps you see that, in spite of anything you might have been through, you are a human being who has inherent value and who has an ability to add value to the world. Supported by your self-worth, you can connect to your full humanity and access real courage, determination, and power to pursue what you want to create.
Remember self-worth is not a fixed entity. Rather it’s a fluid and changing feeling, that transforms as you navigate your career.
Your self-worth may be reinforced by outside validation but the most stable, solid, and fulfilling sense of self-worth is cultivated from within.
Instead of trying to look to the external world to give you a sense of self-worth, find ways to connect with your own inherent values.
When you put your efforts toward growing, learning, and developing your artistic craft, your self-worth becomes active and alive. On the other hand, procrastination, fears, and self-doubts can cause your connection with your self-worth to dwindle. It’s like a flame. Sometimes it’s dormant and waiting to be re-awakened. Other times it flickers steady and strong and even bursts into a big bonfire.
You can discover and connect to your self-worth by doing your “inner work.” This means that you’re consciously and actively involved in getting to know who you are. You embrace all your brightness, beauty, shortcomings, and shadows.
Self-exploration requires emotional space and the ability to stay with whatever you encounter within. There are many ways you can do this. Mindfulness or meditation. Journaling or practicing yoga. Working with a good therapist, coach, or mentor. The right self-help books or joint a support group.
When you dedicate yourself to self-knowing you will connect more and more with the various aspects of who you are. Some of your parts may have been disowned or dismissed, while others may have been devalued or unseen. Yet, some parts of you may have been dormant for a long time and so eager to come to life.
There’s a wonderful reciprocal relationship in all of this. As you get in touch with your authentic self, your self-worth evolves, becoming more solid and consistent. Most importantly, you become more resilient so you can withstand life challenge or your own internal battles.
You’ll never have certainty about whether your work will be remembered or forgotten, seen or ignored, valued or dismissed. That is a big unknown we all live with. You can’t control the outcome, you can only create opportunities for your outcome. You can only control your own process and keep steady as you work.
Letting the outside factors control the value of your work can disconnect you from your sense of self-worth. I am not saying that the outside factors aren’t important - being honored with awards, social recognition, or financial compensation has value, but your self-worth can’t depend on these. In time, depending on outside factors for validation can lead to addiction, depression, and anxiety.
When you rely on the whims of the outer world for your self-worth, you can get stuck in dreaming, longing, fears, or frustration - instead of creating and enjoying your life. Interestingly enough, it’s possible to receive honors and external validation, but still feel empty inside.
Outside factors only offer satisfaction and fulfillment when you're connected to your own self-worth.
Ultimately, when you look inside and are able to tolerate the uncertainty that’s part of a creative career, you awaken your passion, fire, and life energy. Fueled by self-awareness and self-trust, you’ll be able to create from the richest, most complex and fascinating aspects of who you are.
Self-worth is fundamental to your happiness and success, but it can seem elusive. If you find you struggle to see and maintain a connection to your own inherent sense of value, it’s a sign that you could use some help from a trained therapist or counselor who can help you understand the past traumas and unhealed emotional wounds that keep you from recognizing and embracing your own inherent worthiness.
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
How Connecting to Reality Can Further Your Creative Dreams
Vulnerability, Strength, and Resilience in the Life of the 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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