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Art and Self-Esteem

by Kristen Andersen | Jan 15 | #mindfulness

Art is a vessel for self expression. Sometimes, we have a lot to say and words just aren’t enough. Too many people feel repelled by art because they believe they “can’t even draw a stick figure!” I suppose that means we feel art is supposed to look a certain way. For something to be considered ‘art’, it has to be held to a ‘certain standard’.

Okay well, who is setting the standard? Seriously, is there an HR handbook that outlines what art is supposed to look like? And who is enforcing these guidelines? Is there an Art Police Force that goes around writing tickets to those who create repulsive art? 

Remember, no one is going to create a Kahlo-level painting on their first try. Why would you compare your first month of work to someone who is years into their practice?  Our aversion to try new things because we are afraid to fail is what keeps us complacent. With that complacency, we start to crave novelty.

We want to escape our reality while remaining in place. 

Aldous Huxley writes about the human race seeking mind-altering substances before it even discovered farming! It is innate to want to escape. Instead of trying to fight it, accept it. Go with it. Pay attention to your current routine; how do you cope with the desire to escape?

We may find that some of our habits, while they serve their purpose in the moment, may have some unsavory effects on our physical and mental well being– and that is okay! You are only human and you are trying to keep yourself and your family alive while trying to understand this mysterious existence that is Life. 

Begin thinking about how we can replace our negative habits with something that can serve a similar purpose but provide us with a healthier being. Remind yourself that you want to make this transition because you love yourself. 

The reason I like art so much is because at the end of a practice, I have something tangible that will  represent that particular thought journey. 

What keeps my performance anxiety at bay is reminding myself “It is not important to be liked by others, it is only important that I can live with myself”.


I don’t need everyone to like my art because I like it. 



This painting of my cats may not be realistic enough to win me an award, but it brings a smile to my face because it reminds me of my four furry friends. Twenty years from now, my cats won’t be here anymore, but I will always have this painting to remind me of how much I loved them. That is motivation enough to keep me painting. Even when I’m at that stage where the painting is so hideous I start to doubt my entire existence. “Push through it,” I remind myself. Even when I’m at the stage where I’ve been working on it for days but it looks like nothing has changed yet I still feel like it’s not done. “Just keep pushing through it.” 

Just keep pushing until you get to the part where you can look at your painting and think “Yep, I can live with this”. 

Take an online art class today with some of New York City’s top rated artists. Exercise your self-acceptance muscle by creating and sharing your art in a safe and nurturing environment. New winter 2021 virtual art classes have been added for Kids, Teens, and Adults. Questions, comments, art work? Send it to ATTN Kristen