As an artist you need talent, dedication, passion…. and emotional boundaries. Yes, you need emotional boundaries with your art to thrive in your career. Your emotional boundaries facilitates, or impedes, your internal emotional creative space and the connection you have with your art.
The more merged you are with your art, the more you invite your art into your emotional space. And, the more you invite your art into your emotional space, the more you open yourself up to your art. You and your art are intimately connected. When you are in love with something your emotional boundaries become very fluid, almost like a dance – the dance of intimacy and love. Your passion wants you to let your emotional boundaries melt and you become one with what you love. Creating and performing becomes one with you, flowing together. Nothing else exists anymore – it’s just you and what you are passionate about in that moment. The feel of eternal takes over. I am sure, you, the artist knows how this feels… When you are able to become one with your art you can create from inside out, getting in touch with your most unique talents.
Then are the moments of connection that are not deep and intimate, and yet are still very authentic and genuine moments of connection with your art. In these moments you can admire your art from outside yourself and maintaining some detachment. You enjoy talking about your art. You can see it more objectively. You see the value that it brings in the world and you know why the world needs what you created. In this state, you can advocate for your art. Your life is full of these more detached moments….Your success as an artist who shares your work with the world depends on these moments of objectivity and detachment.
Think about the various ways you relate to your own creativity and what you create. Despite how invisible and intangible emotional boundaries are, you probably can feel their impact on your art.
How do your emotional boundaries influence the way you create, perform, or present your art?
When you create your art or get up on the stage, you want to merge and become one with your art. These is the passionate and intimate connection with your art. Time stops, you create straight from you heart, effortlessly. You become emotionally very open for your art, inviting it in all that you are in order to create from all that you are.
And then, there is the times when you want to be a little more detached from your art. Although still connected authentically, you seek some emotional distance. You and your art are separate entities, completing each other. There is a kind of emotional space that allows you and you art to stand on your own. This is the state you want to be with your art when you present your art to agents, when you digest reviews about your art, and when your audience reacts to your performance.
Sometimes, when you need to be more objective and detached, you may overly identify with your art. When people express how they feel authentically about your art, you can take it very personally because it feels like a reflection of who you are. You can become reactive or defensive. You may become too emotional about it. When your art is evaluated and you’re not emotionally prepared for it, it can feel like they’re saying something is wrong with you or that you’re not good enough to be a creative or a performer.
At this point, your unconscious conflicts and blocks can kick in, taking you to places that are not good for you. Now, you are in danger of not only overly identify with your art but actually becoming enmeshed with it.
Being enmeshed with your art is very different than being authentically connected. When you are enmeshed with your art, you have no emotional space left for it. You get stuck in fears, insecurities, shame, and judgments. You cannot detach from old emotional injuries to see the value and the uniqueness of you art. When you need to create, you get trapped in internal conflicts. When you perform, you get stuck in performance anxiety. When you need to present your art, you freeze up with anxiety.
It is not about your art anymore. It is about old, unhealthy emotional injuries or conflicts. Most likely, these injuries and conflicts operate in your unconscious, controlling the emotional space that you need to keep clear and open in order to create and connect with your art. You’re unable to manifest your creative energy and you begin to project your past and present struggles into your art. If you have some unhealed shame, you may feel unreasonably shameful about your art. If you feel not good enough, you may feel your art is not good enough, when in fact your art may be simply exquisite.
You can learn the emotional art of creating emotional boundaries with your art.
You can be in love and passionate about your art. Merge and become one. And you can become detached when you need to. Also, you can heal and be aware of old injuries so you don’t become enmeshed with your art.
In a very funny way, you are more likely to get enmeshed with your art when you need it the most to be authentically connected with it. Specially during auditions, shows, and presentations. Unhealed emotional injuries have a funny way of showing up suddenly and unexpectedly at the least convenient moments. When old and unheard injuries take over, you get trapped in a place in which you can’t create or perform. I am sure you can recall moments when you froze in anxiety and you felt like you just couldn’t break through.
When is it time to become one with your art? When is it time to look at your art from the outside and practice some emotional detachment? When are you in danger to become enmeshed? You can learn the art of creating different emotional boundaries with your art. From being intimately connected, to keeping some distance, to recognizing that you are becoming enmeshed, and how to help yourself when enmeshment takes over.
Emotional boundaries can help you enjoy the ride of your creative life from a place of strength and fluidity at the same time. Remember that boundaries are not barriers. They are what helps you create your creative emotional space that allows you to connect to the energy you need to create, perform, and advocate for your art.
Contact me to set up a free 15-20 minute consultation to see if psychotherapy can help you further your career and your personal life.
I am Mihaela Ivan Holtz, Doctor in Clinical Psychology. I help creatives and performers with emotional trauma, depression, anxiety, performance anxiety, creative blocks / creative issues, relationships, and addictions – to be and live their own best version. You can read more about Therapy for Creatives and Performers here.