Your Most Selfish Responsibility

ariane of smartist_Your Most Selfish Responsibility

 I know. Selfish and responsibility seem to be on opposite sides of the isle.

Part of this has come down through the ages via religious or spiritual precepts: that serving others is the high ground, while serving ourselves is the lowest of the low.

But isn’t this a just confusion of terms?

… because we also have the edicts to love others as we love ourselves, and to be true unto ourselves.

So, let’s see if we can tease this out, and furthermore, stir our artist life into the pot!

One of the things happening over here in smARTist Land is my looooong, detailed (read: “now I’m clear…now I’m confused!”) rebranding of the smARTist Telesummit to Ariane of smARTist.

And in this process (one, btw, I heartily recommend to all artists!), I have tripped over a trinity of ideas that I was using all along, only un-named and un-identified—the most egregious of errors, i.e., not being able to name the very course your ship is on!

It is a trinity of relationships that, when understood and deeply integrated into our lives, makes all the difference in our being fully alive and successful, instead of plowing through the days and being minimally, marginally successful.

And the first relationship, of the three, is your most selfish responsibility because it underpins both loving yourself (so you can love others) and being true to yourself (so you can be true with others).

It turns out that without the inner confidence and strength that only comes when we genuinely love and appreciate ourselves (which does not take the place of honest assessment of weaknesses and strengths), do we have the capacity to turn our attention toward serving others.

I know most of us already understand this principle.

What seems less clear is how we actually do this.

How do we go about finding those inner resources that allow us to love, accept, and serve ourselves first, especially in the face of this well-worn, damning phrase “How can you be so selfish”?

Selfish v.s. Self-Centered

Here’s how I’ve come to see this.

Selfish, it seems to me, is the result of not being appropriately self-centered.

Since our systems for body, mind, and spirit gravitate toward wholeness and health, when we are not taking care of ourselves, our inner resources instinctively focus on what we are not taking care.

The strategy is simple: bring our attention to what needs caring for, so we can take care of it.

We become selfish when we are not taking care of ourselves.

Self-centered is about paying attention to what we need so there is no reason to be selfish, because once we have taken care of ourselves, now we are free to turn our attention toward caring for and about others.

How the Artist Life Plays Into All of This

Without clarity and a deep knowing you can articulate, your relationship to yourself as an artist remains ever at the whims of daily life.

And that sense of soulful purpose you carry with you every time you start another piece of art – that too becomes battered and worn down by the whims of daily life.

And this is the exact reason why the first relationship you must pay attention to is also Your Most Selfish Responsibility: your relationship to yourself as an artist.


IF you are curious about what would change if you decided to investigate your artist identity, I’ve just put the last touches on Your Artist Identity Discovery Package: Shining a light on your true identity as an artist.

This is a 90-minute, soul-to-soul conversation with me where you become 100% clear and 100% confident about how your artist identity impacts the art you make and the art you want to sell.

Your Artist Identity Discovery Package has 3 parts:

  1. An Artist identity Assessment Questionnaire: What do I know about my artist identity, past and present?
  1. Review & Assess: Where am I right now with my artist identity? Is anything missing or is this exactly where I want to be?
  1. Connecting the Dots: What do I want to convey with my art? How well is my artist identity aligning with that? And what is the best way to communicate this so I can successfully connect with potential collectors and buyers?

BONUS #1: Comes with a month of follow-up support by email for questions and feedback.

BONUS #2: Comes with a 60-minute, follow-up support session by phone or Skype three weeks after the initial session to help you make sure life doesn’t crowd out your transformations and illuminations.

Includes the Artist identity Assessment Questionnaire, a Workbook (to capture your thoughts during the session), and an Action Plan with Follow-up Homework (to support what you’ve learned and the steps going forward.)

I’m offering this right now to my list and blog post readers for $400, which is a substantial savings from the $499 it will be when my new website goes live in January.

If you want to become 100% clear and 100% confident about how your artist identity impacts the art you make and the art you want to sell, email me ->  – and we’ll set up a time to talk.

2 Responses to “Your Most Selfish Responsibility”

  1. Pib says:

    Great piece Ariane with a lot of deep thinking behind it.

    I firmly believe that being true to yourself is a massive de-stressor and helps lead to clarity of purpose.

    The only word that I would add is “balance”. Be aware when your plans become an obsession and again start to impact others.

    What do others think?

    • Ariane Goodwin, Ed.D. says:

      Yes, Paul, being true to yourself is a great handle – but only if you actually understand what the “self” is that you are being true to.

      I’m discovering that many artists haven’t put a nickel of time into grasping their own artist identity – it’s on auto pilot, which leaves an artist with very little chance of expanding and enhancing the very characteristics that makes their art good to great.

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