The Art of Self-Discovery
Art is a pretty common outlet for dealing with your issues. There’s a damn good reason for that. Actually there are several damn good reasons for that.
I use art all the time as a coping mechanism, but not many people realize it. Mostly because my art of choice is photography. That’s the thing about art, it can take a ton of different forms. If you don’t feel painting or drawing is for you, that’s totally fine. Try stitching or photography (like me!).
A 2017 research review on art therapy found some pretty neat benefits:
Art improved the relationships between the therapist and patient,
It helped the patients better understand themselves and their mental health challenges,
It helped the patients gain perspective,
Art served as a distraction from their situation,
Patients were able to see their creations as personal achievements,
It allowed them to express themselves,
Patients found art relaxing and empowering.
Anything that lets you create something out of thin air is great. It’s perfect for expressing abstract thoughts. And for this, photography isn’t always the best. But that’s okay. One area where it definitely excels is in self-discovery.
Self-portraits are a thing pretty much every artist will attempt at some point or another during their artistic career. Photographers are no different. In fact, in a lot of ways there’s even more pressure on us to embrace the self-portrait. Which if you’re like me, kinda sucks. But also doesn’t.
I definitely prefer to be behind the camera. That’s where my comfort zone is, but I learn a lot about myself when I step in front of the camera too. At the beginning of this year, I took on a 52 week self-portrait project to really challenge myself artistically and gain insight about myself personally. One portrait a week for 52 weeks. Yes, I do have issues (that’s kinda why I’m doing this ;p). But it’s taught me a lot.
I don’t like my pictures. There’s so many things that I feel don’t represent me or that I just don’t care for when I look at my photos. This project really challenged me to see beyond that. Instead of just snapping a photo and being done with it, I had to turn it into something I loved. So I had to start focusing on what I loved about myself. I love my tattoos, I love my eyes, I love my silliness. So those all became things I incorporated into this project.
It also allowed me the chance to decide how I wanted to be seen. As women, we often feel stuck in the definitions others give us and that is more than a little fucking frustrating. Art can give us one helluva an outlet to change that and really show off who we are, not who others are trying to define us as. If you’re struggling with anything, knowing yourself is a huge step in the right direction to dealing with it and art can be that creative outlet to really start exploring yourself.
So if you don’t already consider yourself artsy, pick up a new hobby and take on a self-portrait project. If you already are an artist, tackle a self-portrait project in your chosen medium. Post a link to your self-portraits, I’d love to see what creative things my badass ladies come up with!
Also, I’m still collecting data for the development of my Broken to Balanced program. Check out the survey if you haven’t already and share it with a few friends!