Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Just Who Do You Think You Are?

One goal of The Artist’s Way course in creativity is finding ways to silence the destructive voices that derail when we try to follow our dreams. They warn us:

1. You can’t do that.
2. You’re not good enough.
3. People will laugh/talk/judge.

I’ve completed The Artist’s Way once – and have revisited several chapters since then. And you know what? I’m still listening to those destructive voices. It takes almost a daily meditative practice to remind myself that those are old scripts that have no place in my life anymore.

Last night I had dinner with a friend of mine whom I consider brilliant, bold and powerful – a pillar of self-confidence. We began talking about how we limit our possibilities. Yes, even she struggles to silence the voices.

She brought up a common and destructive phrase that all of us have used from to time. It’s so generic and open-ended that it’s easy to call up on a moment’s notice.

“Who am I to think I can__________?” [fill in the blank]

  • Who am I to think I can be a published author?
  • Who am I to think I can learn to play the bass guitar?
  • Who am I to think I can open a successful art gallery?
  • Who am I to think I can influence my city council/state senator/Congressman/President?
  • Who am I to think I can ask for what I need in this moment?

My friend and I agreed to form a *buddy system* so that when either of us lapses into this thinking, the other can kick her butt. But since most of this destructive thinking is internal, we may be on our own to stop this futile exercise. Maybe we can all just STOP and BREATHE…and then write a different script.

What have you told yourself was impossible but you made it happen anyway? Or what have you vowed to do for yourself in the future?


  1. I'll happily teach you how to play bass guitar!

  2. Mandy,
    I can't begin to tell you just how great the timing of this post is!
    Thank you!

  3. I read and loved The Artist's Way. I didn't tell myself it was impossible but I doubted I had the perseverance to finish a novel. All those words! It wasn't beautiful but I did finish a novel last summer, and now I've started another. I could use some of that same belief in my personal life, but it's easier to take up the pen -- well, laptop -- again knowing I've succeeded once before. It's getting started the first time that's the really hard part.
    - Sophia.

  4. @Tim. The first example (published author) is me ... all the others are comments from friends of mine. ;0

  5. I want to be part of the KA buddy system! Who am I to think I can be a buddy and a positive voice in my own life!
    Love your thoughtfulness and soulful reminders!
    You ROCK, Mandy!