The path of the empathic artist is a difficult one.
Being highly sensitive, deeply introverted and intensely empathic seems like a gift. But it’s more like a curse when it makes you feel like you don’t want to be an empath at all anymore.
Let’s face it, feeling all the feels, all the time is exhausting. And that’s just your own feelings!
You’re also highly sensitive to other people’s feelings and energy and absorb them like a sponge.
Deep down you know you’re being called to be an artist, but no matter what you do, no matter how hard you try, you feel like no one sees you.
You lose hope when you feel like you’re just screaming into the void.
You start questioning your life choices, you try doing other things, being some other version of you – yet nothing feels right.
I’m here to tell you that you matter. Your artist’s work is important and meaningful.
We need you. The world needs you.
I know it seems impossible right now, but there is a way through this. And I’m here to help!
I’ll show you how to sit with the dark side of yourself and swim in the deep of your strong emotions without drowning.
Stick with me and I’ll teach you how to become unshakeably optimistic and transform the pain of being a highly sensitive artist into your source of healing and creativity.
Here, let me tell you about me, and you tell me if this sounds familiar…
My inner life is rich, lively and chaotic.
So rich, lively and chaotic that if I don’t have a tool belt full of tools to manage it, my life quickly spins out of control and I end up crying in the foetal position under a blanket somewhere.
I’m in my head a lot, which means I’m quiet and introspective.
I observe and absorb a lot of information so that I can think about things deeply. This makes me a good listener (sometimes to the point where people think I can read their minds) but it also means I often forget to express myself out loud. To other people. So they all think I’m a weird kind of quiet.
When I think about things – like past conversations and interactions, the way someone said something, the words they used – I’m trying to discern what it means or find some deeper meaning that I missed the first time around. This quite inevitably leads to me juxtaposing everything with my own life and trying to see myself and my own choices from new perspectives.
And yes, spending this much time thinking about stuff makes me a hopeless daydreamer.
It also means that I don’t readily or often reach out to others to connect because I feel like meeting a person just once gives me a lot to think about and – as I said – I take my time digesting it.
I’m also easily drained by social interactions, even when I really enjoy them, and I need a lot of time in between socialising to recover.
If I don’t give myself that time, I’ll get overwhelmed and most likely say something incredibly stupid, which I’ll then spend the next decade regretting (though the other person tends to forget about it in about 10 minutes).
So, learning how to be a better communicator has always been important to me.
And not just communicate with others, also get better at communicating with myself.
Because I easily fall into a negative state of mind and start blaming myself for everything from here to the end of time, if I’m not watching my self-talk and proactively cultivating a profoundly optimistic mindset.
My inner emotional storms are strong, the crests of the waves are high and the falls in between them are terrifying.
Learning how to surf those waves, rather than being drowned by them, has taken a lot of practice.
For a long time, I felt like I was living a charade.
I was masking the things about me that other people found odd, like my quiet demeanour, enjoying spending time alone, being super sensitive to random stuff and experiencing things profoundly.
In some ways, it’s like being a toddler because the veil between me and the world is very thin. I’ve been reduced to tears by putting on ill-fitting pants, I’ve had entire days ruined by skipping a meal and I’ve flown into fully blown hissy fits as an adult because I’ve forced myself to compromise for the sake trying to please others.
I had no one like me growing up to teach me how to deal with being so deeply tuned to the world around me.
Most people only notice what’s glaringly obvious and right in front of them.
I see a world that is infinitely and intricately interconnected, where a minute change in one place can have large-scale consequences in another.
Where other people experience a gentle breeze, I feel like I’m being battered by galeforce winds. And when I tried to express this to others in the past, I was told I’m being too sensitive, overly dramatic or just plain stupid for caring too much about something so unimportant.
I constructed intricate facades that were designed to hide the traits in me that made me feel ashamed and unaccepted. I spent my days in fear that someone will expose me as a fraud.
Until I learned that there’s a better, more authentic way to live.
So, for a happy life my recipe includes large amounts of educating myself on myself.
To understand how to make the most of my sensitivity, I spend a lot of time and energy on personal growth. I also craft my environment to support my emotional, physical and mental well-being, eliminating and/or minimising triggers that cause emotional or sensory overwhelm.
Pursuing my creativity is also critical because it allows me wild and unrestrained self-expression, which further deepens my understanding of myself and keeps me from dumping a confused mess that will only prove I’m insane on other people in conversation.
And I make sure that I maintain a connection to this world even – and especially – when losing myself in imaginary worlds becomes incredibly attractive. So, I push myself to be social, online when I need to keep it at arm’s length and reach out to people to connect and gently push myself outside of my comfort zone.
I bet you’d just love to break free from the chains of comparison and self-doubt.
Discover the freedom and power of being you.
The real you, not the version of you that’s been shrunken down to make other people feel more comfortable.
When was the last time you felt good about yourself? Worthy and capable of achieving what you really want in life?
Maybe it’s been so long you cant remember.
In which case let me tell you; embracing that emotional, sensitive side of you is something that should empower you to share your love, your joy and your laughter. It should make you feel fuller for doing it, not leave you drained and exhausted.
Because when you know how to manage your empathy, your whole life becomes a sharing of love and you find that you can afford to give, without ever feeling overwhelmed or like you’re trying to give from a place of emptiness.
My goal is to help you feel alive by design, not by chance.
Click here to sign up to my emails and get the best advice your mother never gave you.
Learn how to manage your gift of empathy and dive into the deep work required to become profoundly optimistic – you’re gonna need it if you want to survive being an empathic artist.
“The aim of art is not to represent the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.”– Aristotle
Did you always want to be an artist?
and other FAQs
I’ve been drawing since I can remember, and I dreamt of being an artist when I grew up, but my journey to becoming an independent illustrator wasn’t straightforward. I didn’t go to school to become an artist, though I do have a degree in performing arts and was headed towards the stage as a professional dancer.
Along the way I’ve also wanted to be a photographer, a vet, a professional horse rider… and those are just the ones I remember! But most of us have big dreams that change over time and when some doors close, other (usually better) doors open.
Why do you have a blog?
In addition to being an illustrator, I’m also a writer (and a pretty darned good one if you ask me!). I’ve always loved writing, and though I worked as a copywriter for almost 20 years, my style of writing has always leaned more into creative writing than purely commercial.
For me, writing is a way to process things and develop a deeper understanding of my experience. And since I’m an empath, introvert and HSP I hope that my experiences and lessons learned about being an empath can help others in the same situation.
I have lots of resources for empaths & HSPs:
- Work on your money mindset
- Develop your self-expression
- Advice on mental health
- Being an empath at work
My main mission is to help you deal with your emotions better by learning to recognise your triggers. If it was up to me no empath would ever again experience emotional overwhelm without a belt full of tools to deal with it.
What inspires your work?
My own experience as an empath or the experiences shared with me by other people is usually my biggest source of inspiration. And I know that when I feel uninspired, it’s time to go out there and talk to people, do things and live life away from my studio again.
Empathy and compassion are central themes in my work – and let’s not forget my obsession with details!
Can I mix different styles of art in my home? Or do I have to pick something and stick to it for it to look good?
Just like you can pick and mix your favourite candies, you can and should mix and match your favourite art! By combining a mix of art styles (and even kinds!) shows off your unique tastes, life experiences and creativity.
By taking a proactive approach to creating your space you’re personalising your home, making it more interesting, and it opens up whole new conversations and experiences.
When did you start lettering?
Like most kids, I’ve been lettering since I started decorating my school workbooks and notepads with fancy headlines. But that was more out of boredom in class than any desire to pursue a career in art.
But lettering combines my two favourite things: drawing and words. I’m a total word nerd and obsessed (not in a stalker-y way) with the power of words. I think it’s a testament to how much our experience of life is shaped by our mind when one word or one sentence can completely change how we see something, ignite a revolution and create large-scale change.
The Gutenberg press made wide-spread literacy possible and the internet further lowered the barriers to publishing. I’m an avid reader because I know that a society that reads is a society that thinks and engages in intelligent discourse to change things for the better. Words can transport us to other places or remind us important things.
Lettering is a way to combine those things with art to create an aesthetically pleasing message that is all the more effective for having been illustrated (rather than just written).
Why do you hate positivity? It’s such a good thing to have in life!
I absolutely agree with that – optimism is a necessary life skill! However, what gets my blood boiling every time is TOXIC positivity – you know, the kind where you try to brush all the hard feelings under the carpet by declaring “positive vibes only”.
“Toxic positivity is a false and forced positivity. When you share something difficult with someone else and they insist that you turn it into a positive, what they’re really saying is, My comfort is more important than your reality.” – Susan David, PhD.
We’re messy and complicated creatures and should live our lives true to that. We need to have difficult conversations if we’re going to live better lives and create a better society.
Blanketing difficult or unpleasant emotions in standardised positive affirmations while ignoring the shadow work entirely is counterproductive. We need to get better at being uncomfortable and learning how to deal with the hard stuff as well as we do the good stuff – that’s the only way we can grow as people!
I’ve been doing inner work for a long time, and it’s the one thing that’s really helped me work through the difficult days. I’ve inadvertently taught many people how to do the same, so now I’ve started doing that with my business as well! The Money Mindset Workshop is a great example because, even though it’s approaching inner work from the perspective of money, it’s really a deep overhaul of your underlying beliefs and patterns.
Is it hard having a business?
Going out on my own as an artist is a challenge for sure! Because it’s not just that I can sit and draw and design all day and people will just magically find my work.
In addition to the work itself, I have a lot of other work that needs doing and I’m doing everything myself. But building my own business is something I’ve dreamed of for a long time and I don’t begrudge it the work that it takes to build it.
And it’s great that you’re here supporting my small business! Because buying from small businesses really has a much bigger impact than buying from big chains.
What’s the Money Mindset Workshop?
I created the Money Mindset Workshop to help you with:
- getting comfortable with big money
- taking control of your personal economic power and making the most of it (women have a short history of being in control of money and it’s a challenging thing for many of us to really step into that role)
- understanding how emotions and money are so intertwined with each other that it can be hard to tell where one ends and the other begins
It’s also a deep rabbit hole into your inner psyche, which may be cruel of me to put you through that since I’m supposed to inspire you to shed everything that you’ve outgrown. But hey, participating in the workshop is really good for you – it’s like healthy fats! (Think avocado.)
OK, I’m in! This sounds like my kinda place. What do I do now?
If you think that the road to serenity is paved with challenging conversations and some well-placed profanity, then I think you and I were meant to be friends. That’s what you become when you subscribe to my emails.
Plus it means I’ll write to you with the best advice your mother never gave you on feeling all the feels, all the time.