Self-confidence and self-worth were my biggest struggles growing up. I’ve always had trouble with negative thoughts and self-doubt, especially when it came to receiving compliments. If someone commented on how pretty I was or anything positive about my physical appearance, I had a very difficult time accepting the compliments but, more importantly, believing them. I found solace in becoming a people pleaser, mistaking their fleeting approval for self-esteem.
Throughout my teenage years and into early adulthood, I tried all the usual things to overcome my insecurities. I started spending money on friends, going to the gym, dieting, and buying things to make me feel “better”. I invested into clothing, make-up, vacations, etc. Not to mention, hanging on to relationships that didn’t serve me, just for their approval. But these were temporary fixes. Relying on external validation was just putting a band-aid on the real issues. It was like trying to fill a vase with a hole at the bottom. No matter what I did, the emptiness remained.
When I was about 18, I graduated high school and had no direction. I knew I couldn’t sit in a classroom again, so I found a full-time job instead. My mother's suggestion led me to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) with Sara, a therapist who tried to steer me towards integrating my passion for art into my future. But at 18 that was the last thing on my mind. However, without planning it, I now realize that most of my jobs in my 20’s were in creative atmospheres. Surrounded by artists, architects, and designers, I felt a deep sense of belonging and often found myself inspired by their creative paths. We tend to subconsciously navigate towards what feels right, and my experience was no exception.
As I reflected on my journey, I started to realize that maybe the phrase "be passionate about what you do" could be the answer to living with more self-confidence. This idea, once a mere suggestion in the background, began to resonate deeply with me as I saw how my love for art transformed not just the canvas before me, but also my self-perception.
It wasn't until I had my two sons that I truly understood the power of pursuing a passion. I enrolled in art school, majoring in art education. I thought I'd end up teaching art, but one fateful day of fieldwork in a middle school changed my path completely. As I watched the students create, I saw the joy and release they found in art. It wasn't about the final piece; it was about the process, the release of emotion, the journey of creation.
Art allows us to embrace imperfections, to see beauty in the unfinished and the flawed. It was a reflection of life—never perfect, always in progress. That's when I realized that art therapy was my calling.
Graduate school solidified this understanding. It taught me that the creative modalities I loved—painting, sculpting, sewing, even puzzles and beading—were not just hobbies. They were tools for healing, ways to cope with life's challenges. Through art, I learned to give form to my feelings, crafting pieces that were both therapeutic for me and a source of happiness for others.
By allowing myself to fully explore the activities that naturally captivated me, I went from feeling lost to feeling anchored. Art became my lighthouse, guiding me through the fog of doubt and insecurity. Now, whenever those old feelings surge again, I have art—a sanctuary where I can find balance and peace. Let my experience serve as a testament to the transformative power of embracing your passions, a journey that can lead to profound healing and self-discovery.
Drawing from my own path to self-assurance through art, I've designed 90-minute art therapy sessions to guide others toward similar revelations. These sessions unfold in phases—beginning with reconnection, moving through relaxation, and culminating in creative expression. It's during this creative time that clients often encounter their emotions and find moments of clarity.
It isn't just about making art; it's about the transformative journey and the self-discovery that happens along the way. My aim is to support females aged 13 and up in building their self-esteem and self-confidence, helping them to find their own sense of balance and healing through the creative process.