I don’t know a single artist out there who doesn’t suffer from imposter syndrome. If you’ve not heard that term, it’s basically comparing ourselves to other artists or other people out there who seem to have it all together. You feel they’re much further ahead or much more talented. You start to allow that negative voice to creep in. We all suffer from it at some point. I would like to share three tips that have helped me deal with imposter syndrome when it strikes and will hopefully help you stop comparing yourself to other artists.
Imposter syndrome can rear it’s ugly head at the most random of times. It happens to me. I’m sure it will continue to happen for the rest of my years. So here are three little tips, techniques, tricks, whatever you want to call them, that I use to help me get through that mindset and into a more positive and healthy mindset.
It’s so easy with social media (especially Instagram) to spend half an hour scrolling, and then suddenly think, “oh, my gosh, why am I even bothering? There are so many amazing artists out there that I can’t even start to compare”. But instead of comparing ourselves against that kind of brilliance, and noticing all the bad things about ourselves, what I try and do is notice all the good things. Reflect on how far you’ve come on your journey. Take time to think about how different your art is to what it was at 12 months ago and everything that you may have learned. Think of the things you have achieved, the discoveries you have made.
Instead of focusing on what you don’t have, all that negativity or the things you’re unhappy with, focus on congratulating yourself on the things that you have achieved. Let’s face it, when we look at social media, it’s always the polished versions of people’s lives. It’s like the movie trailers, isn’t it – nobody puts on their Instagram feed that they’ve spent an hour binge watching Netflix with a pack of Krispy Kreme Doughnuts and not wanting to get out of their pyjamas.
Instagram is just a highlights reel.
Everybody just puts on this whole front for Instagram. It all looks nice and happy and shiny. But it’s not real. We only see the good bits, we don’t see any of the sh*tty bits. So first of all recognise that fact. And also, instead of comparing yourself and looking at the negatives, as I said, look at all the positives and how far you’ve come already.
Top tip number two! Recognise that everybody who you’re looking up to has been on the same journey and at some stage they’ve been at the stage we are at now. They have moved forward and progressed, and not stopped and not allowed failures to get in their way. Every single step of that gorgeous journey has taken them to where they are now. So just enjoy the process, enjoy the journey and recognise that everybody goes through this whole process!
Even the Masters will have doubted themselves. All artists doubt themselves, compare themselves and have the similar imposter syndrome. Remember that we’re all on a certain stage of our journey. There’s no rush. It’s not a race. And it’s just how it how we want to take it at our own pace.
My last top tip is to embrace your own creativity. Take a break from social media. Switch it off for a day or a few days. Just immerse yourself in your own creativity and what you feel needs to come out and, and just play and have fun, rather than doing any kind of comparisons. Things like getting out for a bit of exercise or even just going for a little walk can help take your mind away from that comparison and that analysis and that perfectionism, and having to live up to standards that we are trying to set for ourselves.
So take the pressure off, go and have some fun, meet some friends that are really uplifting, maybe do a bit of exercise. These are things that really help me.
Remember: don’t look at just the bad things. Focus on the good things.
The important thing is to know it happens to everybody. I think also in today’s world when we’ve got so much available work from other artists to look at and scroll through it’s easy to start to compare yourself to others, but let’s take inspiration from it, be motivated by it and be inspired by it. Don’t let it dent your confidence.
I think that’s probably the healthiest way of looking at things. So let me know in the comments below if these tips on how to stop comparing yourself to others were useful, or if you have any other ways that you deal with these kind of things. It’s it’s always great to learn from other people as well.
If you need support moving forward with your art journey, get in touch! On the blog there are tons of resources to encourage your confidence in your art (such as the free Artists Roadmap to help you figure out your next steps) and the Passion to Profit course can help artists create a thriving and profitable art business in 90 days or less.
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With love and gratitude
I worked at an auction house for a couple of years which really opened my eyes to how subjective art is. Works I wouldn’t have given tuppence for sold for thousands of pounds! It dawned on me that not everyone will like my work either, just as I hadn’t liked all the works being sold…and that’s o.k. I can’t expect everyone to like it . This very fact gave me courage to display my work (and own up to it being mine instead of hiding behind a counter), acknowledging that some people wouldn’t connect with it and they’d move on but following on behind them would be other people who do love it and will buy it. It was a great lesson.
I love this Lorraine! So true, we can’t be everyone’s cup of tea otherwise we’d be a mug 😉 On a serious note we just need to do what we love then find the people who also love it, allowing those that don’t to move on and find their thing.
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