What would you do if you were sitting on a park bench, minding your own business, perhaps working on a poem, your journal wide open, and someone sat next you, glanced down at your notes, and said, "You stupid fool! Why are you even trying to do that? You're wasting your time. Give up! You really think you can come up with something anyone wants to read?" Then he stands up, throws his head back, and laughs as he walks away.
What would you do in a case like that? Would you stay quiet? Would you believe him and start doubting yourself? Would you stop writing poetry? Or would you say, "Who the hell are you? Mind your own business, and get the hell out of here!"
See, the thing is that most of us have someone like that. More often than not, they're not physically present. Instead, they show up in the form of a thought, or multiple thoughts, that do a constant loop in our brains anytime we're trying out something new, or trying to express our creativity in some way.
Much like the intruder sitting on the park bench, our negative thoughts are rude; they knock us down, they discourage us, they make us feel bad about ourselves. They cause us to doubt our potential. And sometimes we just give up! We let the voice inside our head—the intruder—win.
Well, that's gotta stop! Starting today. From here on in, imagine those off-putting thoughts as intruders. Imagine them barging in on your creative moment, attacking your process. Remember, they're hijacking your space, and leaving you with little room to leisurely entertain self-expression.
Just like at the park bench, you can say, "Get the hell out of here. Leave me alone! Can't you see I'm working on something grand?"
If you've been living with intruders most of your life, it might be a challenge to speak up for yourself. But you must if you want to have a more fulfilling life.
Don't allow any intruder, real or in the form of a toxic thought, to travel through your brain and keep you from doing what you want to do; what you need to do, to be happy.
Challenge the intruder. What is it really saying? Do they have a point? The answer is no, they don't. No matter how much you struggle with getting something out, just keep going. Producing something that you think is subpar is not the problem. The problem is not producing it all; not giving yourself the chance to see any endeavor through to the end.
I heard a quote today when I was listening to Elizabeth Gilbert on her Audible book, Big Magic, that went something like this, "Better done than good." That was an adage taught to Ms. Gilbert by her mother. How great is that? I love it. It is always better to complete something than to have it half-done in a corner collecting cobwebs.
Stopping anything is a disservice to you. Especially if you're giving up because some lazy, cruel, and inept thought/intruder in your mind is telling you to.
Defend yourself! Fight for your creativity, your vision, and the chance to try. It doesn't matter how scary the intruder sounds or looks like. He can bare his critical teeth all he wants. Don't bow down to him.
Don't give up on yourself. Fight tooth and nail to create and give birth to your passions, your visions, the creative buds waiting to bloom.
I know it's inside of you—that creative genius; it's just waiting for you to look at it, and say, "What do you say we get started and create something amazing?"
Remember, your work is not for anyone else. This is your personal gift to you. So don't fret about others criticizing it, or knocking you down. Simply don't allow yourself to care. Keep singing your songs, writing your poems, composing your music, painting your subjects, etc. It's a gift you deserve.
Don't leave this world without having expressed yourself in the way you dream about. You have every right to dream, to dream big, and to express that dream. Don't get to the end of your life and die regretting that which you didn't do.
Become strong-willed. Be a defender of your creativity and it's expression.
That's the least you can do!