Apr 25, 2019
By Thomas Matthew Pierson
I don't know if you know this, but artists are notoriously self-conscious. Many are afraid of making mistakes, myself included. As an artist, as a person, you must not let that self-doubt control you. I speak about this because I know all too well how our internal struggles can dictate our actions. Art is the same way, doubting ones-self can sideline your progress. It can make you comfortable, cause you to take less chances with your artwork. It can lead you not applying for that exhibition, submitting to an art gallery, and even not even bothering to paint.
Be wary of how doubting yourself affects your actions it can end up forming a never ending rabbit hole of artistic drought. When I work, I am never 100% certain things are going to pan out. I am always skeptical and doubtful of my work, but I understand that “doubt” will always be a constant in my life and in my work. Knowing that I will never “know it all” is liberating, it releases me from my mental shackles of self-doubt.
That's why when I work, I try to have a clear mind. Focusing on the task at hand and trying my best to complete my paintings. I do not always achieve that psychological homeostasis though. There are times where I have other things tugging at my brain, mentally draining my focus. Maybe its financial worries, maybe its stress at work, maybe its worrying about getting into that show, maybe its worry about not finishing my painting in time. It could have been something that bothered me from the day before, putting the thought on replay in my brain, exhausting all my focus for the day. I could be hit with a massive amount of doubt regarding my work. I could doubt my own work, feel uncertain, and hesitation with the next actions needed for my paintings.
Many things can contribute to all your mental vulnerabilities. Slowly chipping away at your psychological armor. What is the solution? You may ask. How can I rid myself of all my doubt and uncertainty? So that I can make art and feel confident. The answer is different for everyone. When I have time, I find that writing in a journal helps. I haven't done it for quite some time. That is something I am a little saddened by, but I don't have time to dwell on things. That is another strategy, to not stay in a state of mental self-doubt for too long. We all have times of unsureness; the thing is not be in that mental state forever. It is easier said than done and can come off as tough love, but it's easy to wallow in your own misery. We have all done it. It is easier to accept that there are things out of your control, self-doubt is in the realm of your control. You control your feelings; self-doubt is controlled by you. We doubt ourselves because we worry about what other people will think of us.
You should care less about what others think of you and care more about what you think of yourself. In the end it is all a way of mentally programming yourself to think positive. Reprogramming your mind is a far more difficult task, but equally rewarding. I will admit that I do have trouble with it. If I were to be honest, I falter probably way too often. But the point is too keep trying and to keep adapting. Life is a marathon, not a sprint. Anything worth achieving will never be easy. Focus less on your doubt and channel it to “doing”.