Nurturing the Creative Spirit in the Face of Criticism and Self-Judgment

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The essence of your creative spirit is eternal. It’s a natural flow that moves through you; an effortless presence that doesn’t require work…until you add in criticism and self-judgment.


These emotional and/or mental blocks take away the power of the creative spirit and all it offers, leaving you with doubt and fear of what’s ahead and all the ways it may change you or your life. It starts as a seed that quickly spreads to your view of everything, leaving you feeling anxious or unsure. Standing strong and grounded in the truth you know becomes harder as these low-energy states wash over you, or the limited thinking and fears from others creep into your creative space.


Despite how uncomfortable it can feel and isolating it can be, criticism and self-judgment are one heck of a great mirror to clearly see where and how you limit yourself. You just need to be able use it as a tool instead of a weapon.


Mindlessly Tuning Out Turns Off Creative Expression and Growth


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When you create and share, you spread the essence of your creative spirit in the world and impact others in ways you are unable to see, perceive or measure. It’s the true beauty of your ability to simply “be.”


If you decide to tune out or not be yourself because of criticism, hiding within an insular space where you control the input and output, you aren’t really saving yourself from feeling bad or uncomfortable – you are just delaying your own healing.


Or, if you tend to discredit your own value or the beauty of what you create, you never give yourself a chance to open up to the true impact it might have for you or anyone else.


In either instance, you snuff out your creative fire and build a void within your heart.


This pattern is so easy to craft without thinking, and soon becomes a very hard habit to break. The result? You shut yourself off from the greatest gift your creative spirit offers – a path to connection and a way to celebrate your uniqueness with joy.


Tips for Busting Through Doubt and Staying Grounded


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Criticism and self-judgment come in many shapes and forms, so getting a handle on it requires a bit of quiet introspection and mindfulness.


Go for a walk, sit quietly in the grass to reconnect with the earth, or set aside alone time in your home to think about these questions. See what words, feelings, themes or messages comes up for you:

  • Do you physically hear criticism from others, or perceive it after the fact in your mind and heart?
  • Do you often hold onto situations, replaying them over and over in your mind and reconnecting with the hurt or harsh energy that comes with them?
  • Is there a specific hot-button that always comes up with a certain person or situation that leaves you feeling “less-than”?
  • Are you willing to state your creative point of view without being attached to the outcome or results?
  • Are you engaging your creative spirit in a natural fulfilling way? Or is it always left as last on the list to nurture?
  • How often do you create something, just because?
  • Is there a timeline and external rate of response that dictates how you value of your creativity?
  • Can you be open to feedback from others and see it as support instead of criticism?


Life’s little “clouds” cue you to step-back and really take a look at what you need to nurture and support your creative spirit right now. Maybe it’s more walks, baths, soothing music or downtime. It can also be a new, consistent, special creative time you set aside to do anything you want – no judgment on the results. The more in tune you are with where criticism is holding you back, the easier it is to find ways to support yourself effectively.


How can you tell when you are beating yourself up or taking criticisms to heart? What are some ways you shift into more positive thinking or feeling?


For extra reading on doubts and judgment, check out my previous posts How Creative Shame Dampens the Spirit and 5 Ways to Turn the Tables on Creative Indecision. Want to shift gears a bit and listen to tips on how to tap into your inner wisdom? Check out my Flirting with Enlightenment podcast. Need a little extra support as you shift into fall projects? Connect with me for some creativity coaching.


Photo credit: Stone Wall – Lamerie