I’ve always been a perfectionist.
Not in the crazy obsessive color-labeling things way, but in the deep soul way where that dark cave of wolves, Frankenstein and other nightmare characters from my childhood tell me I’m not good enough. From my memories somewhere in middle school, I began holding a performance bar for myself that was nothing short of stratospheric My parents were wonderful people by the way… in case you are now percolating about what in the world could have happened to cause this intense self-consciousness. I was always just a very sensitive child. Born with an extra set of feelers, and apparently a propensity for achieving perfection.
Perhaps you can relate. Before my hyper-awareness to this mysterious judging panel watching my every move, I was a five year old. I drew with abandon, anything I could dream up, using every color imaginable (with a large emphasis on pink and purple I’m pretty sure). I would run to my parents, “look at what I made!” So proud of what I had created. I rode my bike, and fell, and got up and tried again.
This is how we start out, without inhibitions. And then things happen and we learn to listen to our own standards of what is good or bad, or criticism from others begins to dictate what risks we take, and what value we put on our talents. We begin to put an insane amount of value on whether our efforts are stellar and impress others, rather than on whether we are changed and moved by our experiences.
All in all, I think we’re missing the point of trying something new. When you were a five-year-old you had to learn and practice. Now that we’re adults we seem to believe that by virtue of the years we’ve put under our proverbial belts, we should be able to deliver perfection the first time we do anything new. And this anxiety often deters us from making good on that inkling to pick up a paint brush, take a dance class, surf or join the work soft-ball league.
Don’t let that voice win. Doing something new, trying something for the first time is not really about the outcome. It’s about the process of allowing yourself to be challenged, to be vulnerable and to discover parts of you you didn’t know yet existed.
So, get out there and paint,or write or cook or whatever might be a new learning experience because perfection isn’t the point.
Enjoying life is.
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