You know you’re a talented artist. And, in many ways, you believe you’re meant to live a big, meaningful creative life. Unfortunately, your dreams don’t always match up with the reality you’re living.
In your fantasies, your mind takes you to all these wonderful places where you live your big, creative life. You imagine moments when you feel so in touch with your artistic energy that you create amazingly unique art. You can almost feel the audience being moved by your art or performance. In such imagined moments you feel something bigger than life is happening. Your audience is in full awe, truly impacted by your work. This is why you are an artist, after all: to create unforgettable experiences for those that seek your art.
You dream about how you’ll have a collection of such memorable moments that you’ll keep in your heart and cherish ‘til you die…
But when you come back from that daydream, you’re left wondering… Can I shoot for the stars? Can I truly make it?
You search for the answers, the keys to your destiny, and you just can’t seem to find them. All you know is your longings and a sense that something is keeping you from showing up and creating your life.
What’s really standing in your way?
Though you’ve had success and accomplishments, you aren’t really shining with your full value. You know there’s more to you than this. More to show, more to express, more to bring to life!
What is it? What’s keeping you away from engaging with who you really are as a creative? What’s stopping you from putting forth your best efforts and reaching your dreams?
Underneath the paralysis that comes up when you’re trapped between fantasy and reality, you’ll often uncover layers of fears that you weren’t even aware of. These fears operate in your subconscious and you probably don’t see how they cause you to avoid aspects of your life. They shape your life without your awareness or consent.
Fear of humiliation, of confrontation, of being judged, of being rejected, of not being enough, of being shamed… all keep you stuck.They stop you from allowing yourself to be you, express you, create you.
Unconscious fears are seductive and deceiving. They are masked by defensive behaviors and manifestations like: chronic avoidance, addictions (eg. phone, shopping, drugs, and sex), agitation, and anxiety. You may find that you’re plagued with feelings of inauthenticity, feeling like you don’t know who you are, and finding it hard to develop the discipline required to hone your skills. Often, you’ll find you don’t trust what you create and you’re always on the quest for seeking outside validation.
These fears put walls between you and reality, between you and your creative emotional space, between you and your dreams. You feel trapped somewhere between what you could accomplish and the fantasies of what life would be like on the other side of this wall of fears. These fears and illusions keep you from living your life by not allowing you to engage actively in creating your life.
They leave you hanging between fantasy and reality…
What can you do if you find yourself stuck between fantasy and reality?
First, if you catch yourself engaging in any of the defensive strategies I mentioned, stop for a moment and ask yourself: “Do I really live my life that reflects me?” “Do I create my art that represents my talents and abilities?”
Asking these questions is probably just the beginning of your journey from being trapped in fears to creating your life. Many times, under unconscious fears, lie your possibilities…
The most powerful way to get back in touch with unconscious fears is psychotherapy. You’ll want to find a psychotherapist trained to work with unconscious fears.
Once you free these old ghosts from the dungeon of your unconscious mind, you can stop repeating patterns that have kept you small and stuck. It really is possible to reconnect with your treasures as an artist and fully put your life energy and talents into achieving your dreams.
If I had one wish for every artist and performer out there, it would be this: create your life, don’t just let life happen to you. Begin by asking yourself what’s really going on beneath the surface of your fears and your everyday actions.
I am Mihaela Ivan Holtz, Doctor in Clinical Psychology. I help creatives and performers with their life struggles, depression, anxiety, performance anxiety, creativity, relationships and love, PTSD, and addictions – to become their own best version.
This post features the special and unique work of artist photographer Scott Hefti @Havenlust.