3 Tips for Overcoming Creative Self-Consciousness

in Creativity

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Creativity is a very opinionated business. Art is subjective, after all, and scholars and critics alike have had roaring debates about the objective criteria needed to dissect creativity — or if objective criteria can be applied at all.


On one hand, someone could make the argument that all creativity is then flawless. On the other, someone could easily argue the opposite: that all creativity could be called into question because it is so subjective. In a business environment, creativity has to have a certain standard applied to it, and that standard is how much success that creativity can bring.

When we create things on our own, like painting as a hobby on the weekend, nothing is truly on the line if we develop a “bad” product. In a business context, however, creativity has to be held to a certain standard: success. Thus creatives in the business sector do have to consider different factors with regards to their creativity.

This added pressure can make someone self-conscious in regards to their own work. If someone is in line to critique their work, it makes them feel less inclined to truly go outside the box and instead play it safe. Here are three tips to help break that mold and be proud of all your creative work, win or lose.

  1. Stifle your own negativity.

One reason we become self-conscious in general is the fear that people will think negatively of us. Something to consider is that in order to assume someone will think negatively of us, we have to first be thinking of ourselves in an equally negative light.

For instance, if someone thinks “they’ll think my idea is too boring,” they would first have to implant that worry into their own head. The less negatively you think of yourself, the less likely you are to be self-conscious.

  1. Ask for lower-level opinions first.

If the task at hand is to come up with a marketing idea that will impress company bigwigs, don’t jump straight from the creative side of things to showing off your work to them. Ask around to people who, in the context of the risk, don’t matter as much. Asking a peer to critique your work is a lot easier than asking someone who holds a higher level of authority over you.

This is also an exercise in opening yourself up to criticism. The more accustomed we become to criticism, the more likely we are to accept it as something that doesn’t hold as much emotional weight within us. Start with small opinions, then work up to the ones that matter most in your own eyes.

  1. Be Self-Critical

Doesn’t this fall outside the lines of the first tip? Not necessarily — being negative emotionally and observing your work with a critical eye are two different things. The more you edit your work and assess it as if you’re someone who is critiquing it harshly, the more you refine your creative work. This helps to build pride — when you fine-tune your work, the more proud of it you’ll be.

This leads to self-acceptance. When you like what you’re doing and are proud of it, the less likely you’ll be to show it off.

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