Fears That Keep Us Stuck (and How to Overcome Them)

Posted by on February 9, 2016

McKella Sawyer

Here are some of the most common fears that keep up stuck creatively:

  • Fear of ridicule or being made fun of.
  • Fear that people won’t like what we make.
  • Fear of disappointing others.
  • Fear of failure.
  • Fear of rejection.
  • Fear of what others think.
  • Fear of finding out something about ourselves that we don’t want to know.

Nearly all creative blocks have some roots in fear.

These are all very deep, very human, very common fears that we all experience at some point, and a lot of creative blocks have their roots here. These fears hold us back not just in our art, but in many areas of our lives. If these fears are issues for you, a creative block is just one of the ways they might manifest, and by working through them in the context of creative block, you might find that other areas of your life like your work, relationships, health, etc. improve as a result.

Other Fear-Based Blocks:

Perfectionism is rooted in fear, and it’s one of the most common creative blocks I see. Perfectionism probably kills more art and more dreams than anything else.

Holding onto expectations. Wanting it to look “right”, or a certain way. Expecting our art to perfectly match the vision we had in our minds when started. Getting frustrated with a lack of skills.

Having a certain idea of ourselves that might not match the art we want to creative. Maybe you have the urge to create really edgy art, but your show up in life as a very bubbly person.

“I’m not creative” is an example of this, that creativity doesn’t fit with our vision of ourselves and our perception of our own identities, even if we’d like it to. Being creative doesn’t have to look a certain way.

Not feeling like “enough”, the hesitation to call yourself an “artist”. Subscribing to other’s ideas about what “art” is.

If we’re established creators, we might have a problem trying a new style or working outside of our style.

So what do we do about all these fears?

-Remember, fear is how your mind keeps you safe.

Your mind is terrified of rejection, because in our mammoth-hunting, loincloth-wearing days, rejection from our tribe meant certain death. It makes sense that our minds have evolved to do everything it can to keep up safe.

-Thank you mind for that protection. It’s just doing what it was built to do, after all.

-Understand that your freedom lies on the other side of your fear. If you can move through the fear, you’ll learn that it was just an illusion and that doing that scary thing wasn’t so bad after all. And every time you do that scary thing after that, it will be easier and easier.

-Take baby steps. If your fear of what your parents will think gets in the way of you painting, get a small canvas and just glob some paint on. Don’t worry about creating big, bold works just yet (unless that feels right for you at the moment), just start with something small.

Facing fear gets easier with practice!


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