Learn to Love Yourself as an Artist

LOVEMost artists refer to their craft as “their calling” and something “they must do.” They will tell you that they knew they had to create even before they had a formal word for it. I’m sure you feel this way too.

But taking the leap from looking at your art as a hobby to one that is your life source can be scary. You know what you want to do — what you were born to do — but you have no idea how it is going to come together. But like in any situation, the path only becomes clear after much time and effort.

Even after you make the leap of faith and decide to devote your heart, soul and creativity to the pursuit of your passion, you will have times of confusion, frustration and hopelessness. Sometimes it will even feel as though you are moving backwards. But regardless of the direction you are traveling, the most important thing is that you keep moving. Even if it doesn’t always feel this way, it is taking you closer to your goal. No one can tell you when you will arrive, but if you stop, it’s guaranteed that day will never come.

No one is saying it’s easy.There are times in every artist’s life when they just want to give up and settle for a 9-to-5 job that pays the bills but doesn’t make their heart soar. Don’t let yourself be one of the ones who quit!  There are other ways to make money while you pursue your creative passions.  Make sure that whatever you do to support yourself is in some way is a reflection of your natural talents and skills and gives you enough time and energy to work toward your creative pursuits.  Take to heart that yours may not be the typical path.

Here are some tips to keep you focused on your goal:

  • Have faith in yourself. You must always believe in yourself and your talent, even if no one else does … yet. The people who are looking for your work to inspire them are out there. Go find them.
  • Make friends with and embrace the unknown.  All we can count on is that there will always be change and uncertainty in our lives. Humans have been programmed to want security, but in reality there is no such thing. It is important to live with intention but learn to practice detachment from a specific outcome.  If you think you already know what is going to happen, then you are not being present to what is.
  • Shut out past criticism. Most of us have someone in our past who made us question ourselves.  Maybe it was a teacher. Maybe it was a parent. Certainly you can take their feedback and grow from it, but you shouldn’t let it stop you. Evict harsh or discouraging words or from your mind.
  • Find ways to tap into your creative source every day. Whether it be doing your art or engaging in some kind of mindfulness practice, do something that allows you to connect to your creative self.
  • Dare to dream. Spend time creating your vision.  Imagine a life where you can create all day and your work is embraced by all who see it.   It feels pretty good, doesn’t it?  Then take one practical step that will move you towards your vision.

Now it’s your turn: How do you stop yourself from becoming discouraged on the road to your true calling?


  1. I try not to become too ‘precious’ and manage to laugh at myself. Some of my paintings are in a doctor’s surgery and I get some lovely feedback from different people. (We don’t even have a gallery in my town…) We have to do art for ‘ourselves’ first and foremost. My art is contemporary and I live in a conservative, traditional country area. *sigh* A strong spiritual/inner connection to self is paramount. As a somewhat controversial artist my friends are thin on the ground at times… hehe. (Especially when painting political satire around issues such as Manus Island and Fracking.)

    • Thank you AMD for sharing ways that help you stay motivated and true to your calling. Yes, having a sense of humor about oneself is key! And, It sounds like you are finding novel ways to display your work! I agree there are many non-traditional spaces that would benefit from having exposure to art! Having a strong inner connection to self is particularly important especially when you are somewhat isolated from a like-minded community. Keep painting and expressing yourself!

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