Let me tell you a little secret, I am a perfectionist and as a result I can be known to procrastinate too. I don’t like to step out of my comfort zone and I have been known to let fear get in my way.
The thing is, I wasn’t always like this. I remember when I was younger being adventurous, taking risks and I was my own guide. When we are younger, we often embrace the freedom we have, but as we get older we become more aware of others; their opinions and actions, and we often decide that we are lacking. Somewhere along the way I took on board not only the judgements of others but what I thought their opinions would be.
I believed those close to me when they suggested art was not my strength. I believed others when they saw art as a frivolous pastime that had no value in the real world. As I got older, I looked at ‘creative people’ and compared myself to them - and I decided that they were in a category all of their own, one I could not be a part of.
I look back now and see how easy it was for me to put myself in the ‘not creative’ box. Not only had others labelled me, I had also labelled me… I had decided that I couldn’t be creative, that it was for all these wonderful people I admired and saw as different and better than myself.
The problem was staying in my comfort zone didn’t always work for me. Suddenly my kids were at school, my husband was working away and I needed something that was just for me, something creative. All those years later I still heard the words and judgements of others, I was amazed at how powerful they were.
When I found Folk Art and realised this was a creative outlet that DID NOT require any artistic background and the boredom and frustration of the status quo had become too much, I decided to give it a try. After so many years feeling stagnant, I was suddenly curious about what I could achieve.
Full disclosure? Those voices from the past were still there. I still worried that I could not learn to paint, but as I went to the workshops, the brushstrokes and skills I was learning was quietening those voices. As time went on, I grew more confident and realised those beliefs I carried around about myself for so long were wrong.
Looking back, I realised just how much power the words of others had over me and how I’d allowed them to shape my life until that point. I wish I have been brave enough years ago to tell myself that what others thought of me was just one opinion and probably said more about them than me. I wish I had known then what I know now about the benefits of adopting a Beginner’s Mind.
If my experience resonates with you, I hope that you will find the courage to try to ignore the comments of other people that you may be carrying around with you and pursue something you have always dreamed of doing. Life is too short to be living in a box (no matter how comfortable) created by the words of someone else.
Until next time x