Monday, 5 June 2017

Finding Our Self Belief

Once upon a time, I lost all the belief I had in myself and my creative abilities, and I stopped painting.  I was 18 years old and had almost finished my college course.  My college art tutor had advised me in a chat about my future, that my hoped for career path in the arts was potentially a pretty bad choice and that she couldn't see it working go home and think of something else to study perhaps...and I remember I left that tiny, messy room in the art block feeling my self confidence trickle away.  My self belief zoomed to an all time low.

And because I chose to listen to that person, and believe them, I stopped making art. Just like that.

I understand how crushing it can feel to be told you're no good.  It's similarly crushing when you cultivate these feelings yourself, when you are afraid to try something new for fear that you won't be any good at it.

We listen to the voices, perhaps they are in our minds, or they surround us in real life - a helpful friend or family member who is dismissive of your excitement at trying a new project, or envious of your talent...or perhaps it's a whisper from within telling you it's pointless to start because, well, what's the point it's only going to be awful.

I have spent many years overcoming such hurdles, I have met with those inner whispers and paid heed, missing out on many opportunites to enjoy myself and engage in something creative.  I have also met with real life people who possibly meant well, but who have inadvertently helped my self belief to dissolve.
These voices, within us and around us tell us: it will cost too much, it won't work out, how do you know it will be any good?  You're not going to be any good at that.

The problems start when we believe them.

Like me.  I believed what a tutor once told me, and it took years for me to rebuild my self belief and have confidence in my abilities again.  

If there is anything you have ever wanted to try - just go ahead and do it.  Promise me you will ignore the nay-sayers, the wicked whispers who quietly tell you its a waste of time, the helpful relative who doesn't think it's really for you.  Take small steps, starting now, towards making your dreams real.  The truth is, this life of ours is so precious, we really don't have time to waste believing that 'we can't'.

What kind of thing have you always wanted to do?  Think of the first small thing you can do that will set the wheels in motion, and keep on doing that until you are there.

Buy the paints, find the notebook and writing pen, book the SUP class, join a gardening club...whatever it is you want to do, let nothing stop you from enjoying your life and filling it with the things that make you smile and feel happy.


  1. Dear Julia
    You're so right! It takes years to forget this bad advices and to find out that they aren't the truth! For me is now important, that I go forwards to do babysteps towards my dreams and to reach my goals. Its my life and my way. I wish you the same. And in your case: the teacher was so wrong!!! Look at your work! Be proud! Never listen to this bad voices again!!!!

  2. Thank you for such wise words. You have really made me think hard today, very inspirational. x

  3. Dear Julia,
    You are talking about things which lately I have been thinking about.Last 20 years,I have been listening to those bad voices- telling me I cannot do/succeed in what I always wanted to do.(I wanted to get a pHD in pharm.)Couple of years ago I started my Masters- it is going slowly but surely and I enjoy every moment of it.Yesterday, I was talking to my advising professor and she told me it is never too late to follow your dreams.I wish she was there some 20years ago. I feel sad for the lost 20 years but I am eager to find out what lies ahead.Hopefully, I will graduate in September.(Better late than never :))
    As for your art, I have never seen such breathtaking sea paintings!One day, when I move to our new home with my son, I dream of having one of your art on my walls.So, do not get discouraged; just paint more sea themed paintings!
    Lots of love from Cyprus,

  4. Dear Julia,
    What you said in this post really resonated with me, I have always wanted to be an artist but my parents told me that I should do something else just to have it to fall back on when the art didn’t work so I didn’t go to Art College. They were only concerned for my future but here I am 30 years later still wanting to draw full time and not work as a secretary. My daughter who is 16 is looking at college courses asked me what she should do and told her to follow her dreams. She asked me what my dreams had been then asked me why I hadn’t followed them and what was I going to do about it! Thank you for your serendipitous post which is making me re-think my future. Sometimes I find God has to shout very loudly to make me hear what he is saying.

  5. Thankyou for another very inspiring post. I often have those feelings and at my low points I always remember an art tutor telling me that painting just wasn't my strong point. Unfortunately I still believe that but I know that I can turn it around with hard work and dedication. We all have our unique talents and the art tutor in question must have had the belief himself that if we couldn't paint like an expert at college then to just give up. Twenty years later, I haven't given up, I still have the dream and continue to make paintings that others have told me on social media are beautiful. I'm grateful to those lovely people and to other artists like you who are brave enough to share their feelings.
    Thankyou again for your encouragement to others and for your beautiful art. Have a great weekend!
    Jess xx

  6. Thank you for such an inspiring and insightful post. It really resonated with me. Take good care. Warm regards, Marilyn xx