Week 1, Day 7 of The Artist's Way
Today, let's turn our critic's negative blurts into affirmative allies.
Your Ally Within: Affirmative Weapons
Affirmations help achieve a sense of safety and hope.
When we first start working with affirmations, they may feel dumb. Hockey. Embarrassing. Isn't this interesting? We can easily, and without embarrassment, bludgeon ourselves with negative affirmations: “I'm not gifted enough/not clever enough/not original enough/not young enough…” But saying nice things about ourselves is notoriously hard to do. It feels pretty awful at first. Try these and see if they don't sound hopelessly syrupy:
- “I deserve love.”
- “I deserve fair pay.”
- “I deserve a rewarding creative life.”
- “I am a brilliant and successful artist.”
- “I have rich creative talents.”
- “I am competent and confident in my creative work.”
Did your Censor perk up its nasty little ears? Censors loathe anything that sounds like real self-worth. They immediately start up with the imposter routine: “who do you think you are?”
You will be amazed at the rotten things your subconscious will blurred out. Write them down. These blurts flag your personal negative core beliefs. They hold the key to your freedom in their ugly little clause.
(The Artist's Way, p. 33-34)
My creativity flourishes with affirmative action.
Let's practice dissolving the blockage of our negative blurts.
Start by picking a positive affirmation. For example “I, ___(your name)___, am a brilliant and prolific potter (painter, poet, or whatever you are).” Write that 10 times in a row. While you were busy doing that, something very interesting will happen. Your Censor will start to object. “Hey, wait a minute. You can't say that positive stuff about me.” Objections will start to pop up like burnt toast. These are your blurts. Each of them has held you in bondage. Each of them must be dissolved.
Locating the sources of our Censor's blurts.
Using your list of blurts, scan your past for possible sources. Mom? Dad? Teachers? At least some of them will spring violently to mind. One effective way to locate the source is to time travel. Break your life in five-year increments, and list by naming your major influences in each time block.
Transform the blurt into a positive affirmation.
For example, a blurt that runs, “I, Fred, am untalented and phony” might be converted to the affirmation “I, Fred, am genuinely talented.”
“Affirmations are like prescriptions for certain aspects of yourself you want to change.”
– Jerry Fankhauser