Who and what we think we are can deeply impact what we consider possible, what we actually do with our creative talents and passions, and how much we express our unique voice.
Sometimes that voice is our literal one, such as being an actor, singer, speaker, spoken word artist, author giving a presentation and more.
Like other forms of “voice” our audible speech can be affected by our self-esteem, beliefs, and other issues.
But it is our inner voice or critic that may most encourage or inhibit how much we authentically express ourselves through our creative work.
Photographer Annie Leibovitz has talked about some of her self-limiting fears:
“I am finally doing pictures for myself…
“I realized that I am my own worst enemy.
“I’m the one, who by doing what I think other people want from me, has held myself back… haven’t let myself grow or listened enough to my own voice.
“It’s so important to listen to your own voice.”
From my post How Can We Create More Confidently?
[Photo is from her Facebook page.]
Actor Marcia Gay Harden commented about the power of finding and expressing your authentic voice:
“The only thing that seemed to me I could do in such a way that no one else could was acting.
“I thought, I can be a doctor, but there’s going to be someone else who is just as good or better.
“I can be a lawyer, which I still sometimes think I would love to be, but I think there’s someone who can do it just as good or better.
“So, being an actor, there will be people who can do it just as good or better, but I’ll have my voice, and no one will have my voice.” (imdb)
Psychotherapist Mihaela Ivan Holtz helps creative people in TV/Film, performing and fine arts.
She notes when you find your authentic creative voice, “nothing else matters.
“No doubts, no insecurities, no fears interfere with that voice.”
She also writes about artists who are not fully in touch with their unique voice having a “persistent sense of feeling unhappy, discontented, or unfulfilled with how you manifest your creative or performing energy.”
She adds, “Somehow, that actor, musician, writer just doesn’t feel like you and you constantly feel empty, disconnected, and unmotivated.
“You’re never more alive than when that art you express or you create is YOU…
“You know you’ve found your voice when you feel real, connected, and strong.”
- Read more quotes by Dr. Holtz in my article
The Power of Finding Your Creative Voice.
This photo is from “The King’s Speech” (2010).
Guillaume Wolf (Founder of Wolf Creative Research) summarizes:
“This excellent movie is a story of George (a.k.a. Bertie, played by Colin Firth), who becomes King George VI, but suffers from a stammer and seeks the help of an unorthodox speech therapist (played by Geoffrey Rush), with whom he develops a friendship, and is instrumental in helping him overcome his speech problem.
Writer Robert J.R. Graham notes in his review article,
“In this movie there are many scenes when Bertie resists the speech therapist’s efforts – arguing that he can’t be cured of his stammer because that’s what he has always known.
“This is a very interesting point.”
Graham continues, “This raises the powerful question of where our identity lies.
“Is our identity the result of past events? Or is it something that’s being recreated everyday through our actions? In other words: are you the result of the past – or are you creating yourself in the present?:
He points out that “brain plasticity” is the “lifelong capacity for our brain to create new neural pathways.
“In the last two decades, research as shown that the brain never stops changing and evolving.”
Graham writes that Guillaume Wolf “is transforming the way we feel about creativity. The French author, teacher and mentor is showing people around the world how they can activate their creative power in any area of their lives.”
From article Creative Identity and the Ugly Duckling by Robert J.R. Graham.
Wolf is author of The Creative Advantage Book.
Artists who stutter
Emily Blunt has talked about struggling with a stammer when growing up: “I couldn’t even talk. It was over the course of four years and it gradually just went away.”
From article Stammering as an opportunity.
Nicole Kidman has said,
“I am very shy – really shy – I even had a stutter as a kid, which I slowly got over, but I still regress into that shyness.
“So I don’t like walking into a crowded restaurant by myself; I don’t like going to a party by myself.”
“In each person’s life there comes a time when he or she pursues growth and expansion on the level of form.
“This is when you strive to overcome limitation such as physical weakness or financial scarcity, when you acquire new skills and knowledge, or through creative action bring something new into this world that is life-enhancing for yourself as well as others.
“This may be a piece of music or a work of art, a book, a service you provide, a function you perform, a business or organization that you set up or make a vital contribution to.
“When you are Present, when your attention is fully in the Now, that Presence will flow into and transform what you do. There will be quality and power in it.”
- A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose – by Eckhart Tolle.
Do you express yourself creatively as fully and authentically as you want?
If you’re like most of us, the answer is No. For one thing, our inner dialogue can be less than helpful or encouraging, and hold us back.
Author Pearl Cleage points out some of the ways our inner critic may dampen our creative voice:
“I think one of the things that writers and creative artists generally have to deal with is the censors that we have in our heads…
the voices that we have that say you better not tell that and don’t tell that, and people will think you’re not a good girl, and your grandmother’s going to be mad at you and all of those things.
“And that’s the death of the creative process.
“When you sit down to write, you have to be prepared to strip all of those voices away, all of the censors away and talk about what you think the truth is, which I think is really the task of the writer – to get to the truth.”
From Playwright Pearl Cleage Opens Up, NPR podcast May 1, 2014.
How do you think of yourself as a creative person?
Director Jane Campion earlier in her life commented:
“I never have had the confidence to approach filmmaking straight on.
“I just thought it was something done by geniuses, and I was very clear that I wasn’t one of those.”
Another example: Natalie Portman referred to artist stereotypes when she once admitted:
“Sometimes I get scared that I’m not a creative person, because it seems creative people are really flaky.”
Beliefs are a key element in our identity and capacity for change and growth.
Morty Lefkoe developed a program for eliminating self-limiting beliefs, and the Institute of Noetic Sciences notes that he “made a series of discoveries that allowed him to help people make permanent changes in their emotions and behavior.”
He says he had very little self-confidence for most of his life, adding, “but now I consistently experience a high level of confidence.”
“Confidence actually exists on a continuum, ranging from a very low to a very high belief in our own abilities, a sense we can handle whatever life throws at us. Very few people are totally lacking in confidence and very few feel confident that they can handle almost anything.
“So the issue for most people is where they currently are on the continuum and how they can improve their confidence.”
From my post Building Self-confidence and Changing Limiting Beliefs – which includes an audio clip of Lefkoe.
See these articles of his, among many others:
Many talented and creative people experience impostor syndrome or fraud feelings and beliefs about themselves, despite their accomplishments – another way our creative voice may be suppressed or distorted.
Valerie Young, Ed.D. is an expert on the impostor syndrome and commented in an Entrepreneur magazine article:
“Millions of people, from entrepreneurs to celebrities, have a hard time internalizing their accomplishments.”
The article author notes “the impostor syndrome is especially common among people who become successful quickly or early, and among outsiders, such as women in male-dominated industries.”
Young adds, “They explain away their success as luck or timing. They feel this sense of waiting for the other shoe to drop.”
Read quotes by a number of creative people and see video with Dr. Young about how we can change those feelings, and be more confident and creative, in my article Getting Beyond Impostor Feelings.