I'm Afraid of Blank Canvases

*Jerry Seinfeld voice* What is the deal with blank canvases?

Are they good? Are they bad? Are they blank-faced judgmental jerks?

Sometimes that is how I feel when I sit in front of a blank canvas and see a large white space staring back at me. Sometimes I swear I even hear it laughing. (I promise I’m not crazy.)

I hate to admit it (especially considering I’m an artist) but,

I am afraid of blank canvases.

Fear and self-doubt. Things that rude inner voice makes you feel when starting something new. Here's how to combat those negative feelings plus a free download of over 30 daily affirmations and a free printable. | Ilona Toth Creative

It is not a good feeling when I feel that blank canvas silently judging me. There’s something about the endless possibilities that are facing me with all that white space. It makes me feel like I’m not good enough to call myself an artist, like I’m going to make a million mistakes and no one is going to like my art, and that I’m going to fail so why should I bother attempting to paint anything at all.

That feeling is not just limited to blank canvases. I feel that way with just about anything new I’m starting. New job, new article, new project, new whatever. Basically, anything new and blank has a tremendous amount of anxiety and self-doubt attached to it. A giant lack of confidence. Mt You’re-Terrible-At-What-You-Do.

I stare at that blank canvas, and I am afraid.

And you know what?

I am ok with that. I am ok with being afraid. I am ok with hearing that blank canvas laugh at me and tell me that I am not good enough. There is nothing wrong with a little fear.

But you know what is wrong?

Letting that fear control my actions.

When I am starting a new project or staring at a new blank canvas, I let that fear and self-doubt in for a second. I let that canvas tell me that I’m not good enough, and then you know what I do?

I tell that voice to shut up and then I prove it wrong.

I show that blank canvas that I am good enough. It doesn’t matter if I make a mistake. It doesn’t matter if I make a million mistakes because they’re my mistakes. The only mistake would be to give up and give in to the fear and self-doubt. I can always try again and do better.

Have you ever hear the saying “you are your own worst critic?”

Well, it’s totally true.

The reason I hear that blank canvas laughing at me and telling me I’m not good enough is because it’s an extension of me.

Like millions of other people, I struggle with self-confidence. I am extremely hard on myself when it comes to my painting, my writing, or any of my other work because of that horrible little voice in my head telling me I’m not good enough.

Every time I am about to hit “publish” on a blog post, or post a picture of my painting, that little voice goes off telling me “no one is going to like that! It’s horrible! You should just give up!” But I hit publish anyway because that little voice is wrong.

I am good enough.

And you know what?

You are good enough.

I know that there are so many reasons to be afraid of trying something new or taking risks but it is so totally worth it.

If I didn’t tell that voice in my head to shut-the-heck-up and decide that I am good enough then I never would have made the decision to pursue self-employment, and put myself out there by blogging and sharing my art. I would have been stuck in a job that only made me miserable and I would have been stuck existing instead of living.

It is so satisfying to hear all that self-doubt and then ignore it. And if I can do it after a lifetime of being self-conscious, then so can you.

Because you are a good enough.

So go get your blank canvas, blank page, new job, or whatever it is that you have been afraid of, tell your inner voice that keeps shouting negativity to shut up, and go after what you want.

You are good enough.

I am good enough.

We are all good enough.

Have you struggled with feelings of self-doubt? What are some ways you've overcome that? I want to hear from you!


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