Do you know what?  sometimes I feel like I am a walking, talking Russian doll.  You know the kind that when you open her up you find yet another similar but different doll inside.  I say this because I have over time opened up the doll or peeled back another layer, and another to get to where I am now.



I’ve peeled back so many emotional layers from my childhood perceptions (man that is a ride and a half).  I’ve peeled back limiting beliefs which came from the culture where I was brought up, work life, social connections even beliefs from the art world and coaching world.  Some of those transitions were really tough, mentally and emotionally.  But what I know to be true is that by using my creativity and my art I am beginning to cut through those layers more quickly, and am willing to strive for the other side instead of holding on to what is not serving me.

Did you know that you are complex, feeling, thinking emotional individual on a life long discovery of yourself?  Have you ever had stress in your life over a situation or a decision you needed to make, and yet later in life you look back and either wonder why that seemed so hard at the time, when it doesn’t now?  I have a theory …

I believe the stress we feel during a period of change is due to our own perceptions, or beliefs.  We start putting limits on what we can do or say for fear of what others may think of us, and so we allow situations we know we need to change to fester and often become toxic before we act.  But when we do finally act, though it may be traumatic, the relief afterwards is such a massive out breath of all of that stored up emotion and angst.

My clients come to me at many different levels of awareness of themselves.  A small few come to make art and don’t yet want to learn more about themselves.  Some throw themselves into full self-discovery mode through my coaching and creativity processes.  Others sit somewhere in the middle, aware that there is more to life than what they are experiencing right now, but they don’t know what that is or how to get there.  And …. it is all good!  They are all exactly where they need to be on their life journeys.

So what do I know to be true? Each time I’ve been through a layer it has not been without challenge.  Something in my universe has shifted, or my body has decided to give me a wake up call (they are helpful like that).  But now that I am working with creativity I have noticed that I get through it faster, with less pain, I take more of a helicopter view of what is going on, and I am much more able (though not always successful) to quickly lift myself out of the emotion that is keeping me stuck.  

By using creativity even just for 10 minutes a day I am much better equipped.  I know the relief on the other side of the struggle and I have learned that creativity helps me let go of the negative thought patterns that do not serve me.  It is not that they do not occur, it’s just I am no longer letting them run the show. (Self doubt please exit stage left …)

And so I embrace the next layer of the Russian doll, and I wonder what she will bring me next.  In fact I actually bought a Moari version of one just to remind me.  I want to share just 3 of my tips on how creativity can help your self awareness.

So here are my 3 tips to creative self awareness …

  1. When you feel stressed, short of breath or unable to make a clear decision take yourself out of it for a short while.  A simple technique I have learned is to take a piece of paper and a pen and just doodle for 10 minutes without stopping and without purpose.  This will help you calm your mind and shift you from left brain negativity and into right brain self love and creativity.
  2. When you feel lost, dissatisfied or just unsure where you are going in life then journal.  However if you are like me, do exercise number 1 first and this will get you into the perfect state for your subconscious to tell you what you need to hear.
  3. If you are feeling low and not sure why then try this tip … write down all the emotions you have felt in the past 24 hours and put a colour next to each to represent them.  Now look back at what you went through in just 24 hours, often without any of it coming out of your head.  Look at the colours you gave each emotion and see which are happy or sad colours.  Now think about those feelings which did not serve you – how can you look at that differently?

I know you will find these useful, and I have heaps more to share with you, either through my workshops or you can book private programmes with me.  Come along and have a taste of what I do in Painting Happiness, or contact me directly if you would like to know more about working with me 1:1.

Have a fabulously creative day!

Angela x

Life Coach, Artist and Specialist in the Art of Play

PS my next Painting Happiness Experience is Sunday 18th September – if you BOOK NOW you can catch the early bird price I have just announced!


4 thoughts on “The Russian Doll Effect

  1. So lovely to find your website. I have been noticing through my therapeutic process how I ive been peeling layers away these emotional layers like a Russian doll. When googled this metaphor I came across your article on this. Great work! Thank you for your empathy and validation x

    1. Hi Marissa

      Thank you for your lovely comment – yes we do peel more and more back until we find our authentic selves. You are on the right path x

  2. Each layer is as a real parter of my authentic self as any other layer! Accept and love all of them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.