Being creative is your life. You are fascinated by the arts and you couldn’t imagine a life without creating. At the same time, you are scared and terrified by this career. It’s a fine balance between keeping yourself grounded and slipping into the territory of insecurity.
When you do fall into that insecure territory, you start comparing yourself with others. Their accomplishments and successes make you feel sad and scared. You forget about your passion for your art, and you get trapped in worthlessness, self pity, and concerns about future. You feel ashamed to notice or admit that you feel envy. You feel lost between anxiety and depression.
In the “comparison trap” you find yourself in a spiral of challenging emotions and thoughts. It captures your mind and you have difficulty escaping it. And then, the negative self assessment takes over, which makes it even harder to really see yourself as you are: the artist with all your inclinations, strengths, and weaknesses. Although you have had success and you know you are talented, you can’t help but feel disappointed with yourself and your life.
Many creatives and performers experience self-doubts, fears, anxiety, depression, and other challenging emotional states when they compare themselves with others. The creative world is fascinating and tough at the same time. Falling into a “comparison trap” is very easy.
And yet, some find a way to channel this challenge into creativity. Their difficult emotions become the energy that motivates them to work hard on developing their skills and it inspires their creative expression. They respond to others’ accomplishments by creating with even more dedication and passion. They feel stimulated and energized. Instead of constantly looking to others, they take their own journey of discovery, healing, and transformation.
But you get stuck in comparing yourself with others. How can you start freeing yourself from this trap?
First, it’s important to know that we all compare ourselves with others from time to time. It’s normal. Embrace the feelings that this brings and then see it as your chance for internal reflection. You can heal, empower yourself, and overcome whatever is interfering with your creativity and success. It really is possible to turn difficult emotions into opportunities for self-exploration when you’re curious about your mind, your experiences, what you need, and what you want. So much becomes possible when you tune into what hurts, what you hope and dream, and what may hold you back. In your self-exploration, you can begin to recognize your complexities, flaws, strengths, talents, and your uniqueness.
As you gain access to your internal world, you can start seeing yourself as whole, complete person. When you see only your flaws, you ignore what is most beautiful about you. Look within and embrace the human beauty of the real you with all that you are. See all your strengths and weaknesses, and all that lies in between.
You can hold that image and ground yourself there. From this emotional space you can connect, once again, with why you are on this journey. You can remember the artist that you are. Feeling connected with your art, honing your talents and skills, and expressing your creativity: is the territory of the artist.
From this grounded emotional space, you also can develop a plan to work toward your dreams instead of getting trapped in the difficult emotions that interfere with your ability to dive into creating your life.
Your internal world is the medium for your creativity and healing
You need to find a way to push through your negative states in your own pace and comfort level. Your artistic expression, writing, making music, painting… These “raw material” of your creativity can help you push through and enable you to access any internal conflicts you may have.
There is value in your internal conflicts. Looking into your conflicts, you can find your big feelings – from fears, shame, and self-pity to love, joy, and hope. Even your fantasies are hidden in your conflicts. Fantasies of power, of conquering, of seduction, or romance that you can unlock through self-reflection. These are all your unique human experiences, and though they it may not always seem like it, they are treasures for your creative expression, healing, and transformation.
In your internal world, you can discover the sources of your fears and insecurities and why you fall into the comparison trap.
But, sometimes it’s not that easy to push through challenging emotions
Maybe you feel really anxious and unsafe to go there, into your internal world. It’s not easy when you really struggle with conflicts about your self-worth and fears that you never had the chance to face. Perhaps your are not even aware you may have self-worth issues or fears holding you back.
Emotional unresolved conflicts can keep you stuck in a “comparison trap” and you can’t benefit from what this challenge can bring. You can uncover great opportunities when you transform your desire to compare yourself to others in energy that motivates and inspires you to create.
If you have emotional trauma, this is not something you want to do own your own. I strongly recommend you do this work with a trained professional to help you through this journey.
A trained professional can really help you look within and see yourself, can hold you if you fall apart, and will help you put yourself back together in more complete, fascinating, and humanly beautiful you.
You have great potential inside of you – just like everyone you compare yourself with. You will never be anyone else, so focus on being you. Step into all that you are as an artist to find you.
Be you, express you, create what only you can create.
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.