How do artists relate to fear? Is it different than for people who are not artists? What about unconscious fears?
While many people may like being scared in controlled situations like a roller coaster or movie, strong fear often arouses our fight or flight or freeze response, and we may want to get away from that discomfort.
But a number of artists talk about embracing it.
Singer and actor Audra McDonald commented:
“The most important thing for me as an actress is to be fearless and to challenge myself. Acting in TV and film forces me outside of my comfort zone.”
(From article Embracing fear and discomfort as an artist.)
Psychotherapist Mihaela Ivan Holtz helps creative people in TV/Film, performing and fine arts, and writes about the emotional and creative pleasures of their lives – and the challenges – on her site Creative Minds Psychotherapy.
Here is part of an article of hers on this topic:
You know you’re a talented artist. And, in many ways, you believe you’re meant to live a big, meaningful creative life.
Unfortunately, your dreams don’t always match up with the reality you’re living.
In your fantasies, your mind takes you to all these wonderful places where you live your big, creative life.
You imagine moments when you feel so in touch with your artistic energy that you create amazingly unique art.
You can almost feel the audience being moved by your art or performance.
In such imagined moments you feel something bigger than life is happening.
Your audience is in full awe, truly impacted by your work.
This is why you are an artist, after all: to create unforgettable experiences for those that seek your art.
You dream about how you’ll have a collection of such memorable moments that you’ll keep in your heart and cherish ‘til you die…
But when you come back from that daydream, you’re left wondering… Can I shoot for the stars? Can I truly make it?
You search for the answers, the keys to your destiny, and you just can’t seem to find them.
All you know is your longings and a sense that something is keeping you from showing up and creating your life.
What’s really standing in your way?
Though you’ve had success and accomplishments, you aren’t really shining with your full value.
You know there’s more to you than this. More to show, more to express, more to bring to life!
What is it? What’s keeping you away from engaging with who you really are as a creative?
What’s stopping you from putting forth your best efforts and reaching your dreams?
Underneath the paralysis that comes up when you’re trapped between fantasy and reality, you’ll often uncover layers of fears that you weren’t even aware of.
Read more in her article
Are Your Unconscious Fears Keeping You Small as an Artist?
A related article with more comments by Dr. Holtz on this topic:
Fears, Unconscious Fears, And Being More Creative.