Sometimes it can be difficult to put into words our experiences, our emotions, and even our thoughts. When experiencing such difficulties, art can be used as a beneficial tool for helping with self-discovery, expression, and awareness. Art can speak in colors, shapes, and images beyond the limitations of our spoken language and provides a creative outlet for naturally and freely expressing yourself.
Art acts as a mirror and reflection of what is happening internally, which then leads to identifying lost or undiscovered aspects of Self. Art also acts as an avenue for breaking down habits of self-criticisms and judgements, thus allowing feelings of self-acceptance, empowerment, and confidence to be experienced. When implementing art into your life, you can begin to resolve conflicts, develop interpersonal skills, manage behavior, increase self-esteem, and reduce stress, anxiety, and depression.
You do not have to be an expert artist to utilize art for self-discovery. Instead, it is about allowing yourself the freedom to visually represent your internal experiences, feelings, and thoughts in an external way
The following is a creative art activity that focuses on self-discovery.
Bridging My Past, Present, and Future
Materials: Paper and colored pencils, crayons, markers, or paint.
Think about the quote: “The past is a lesson, the present is a gift, and the future is your motivation.”
Draw a bridge on your paper.
Place yourself somewhere on the bridge to represent where you see yourself right now. (When representing things on your bridge, you can use words, drawings, images, symbols,etc)
Represent what is behind you on the bridge-experiences from your past, obstacles, achievements, difficulties, milestones, etc.
Represent what lies ahead of you on the bridge- goals, desires, what future holds
Underneath your bridge, represent what supports you and holds your bridge up- people, feelings, words, etc.
Give your artwork a title.
Answering these questions will help you with understanding your art, reflecting on what you created, and gaining a deeper insight into Self.
What do you see? Does your bridge seem strong or is it shaky?
Where did you represent yourself on the bridge? How do you feel about your placement on the bridge? Are you satisfied with where you are? If not, where do you wish you were? How can you see your present as a gift? What is your greatest gift?
What is behind you? What have you accomplished? Do you feel happy looking at your past or do you feel sad or disturbed? What lessons have you learned from your past?
What is ahead of you? What goals do you have? What motivates you to keep going? Are you determined to push forward? How do you feel thinking about your future?
What is under the bridge? What supports you? Are you content with your supports or is something missing?
The following are journaling ideas that can further self-discovery:
Write about your work by just letting words and phrases flow onto your paper.
Write a description of your work for someone who is blind and cannot see it.
Write a dialogue in a script form between objects in your artwork.