How many times have we, any of us, found ourselves spiraling into anxiety and depression because we expect ourselves to attain perfection?
This is common among people who were considered “gifted” as children, writers, artists, public figures, and so many more. It’s because our society never gave us permission to fail, to learn from not being flawless. But, we’re adults. We’re responsible for ourselves now, and can’t always blame the past.
How do we get over the crippling perfectionism we and others have imposed on ourselves?
Give yourself permission to suck.
It’s soothing, liberating, and makes for a LOT of room to grow and learn! It allows the space to do something just for the joy of doing it.
Did you know….
No one will grade the things you make with your hobby. The only way to get a passing grade is to enjoy yourself with it.
No one will (at least no one should) tell you to stop doing a thing because you’re not doing it well enough to become a star.
I’m going to share an example of a time I allowed myself to suck. I love working with colored pencils. Layering colors, experimenting with textures, looking at different techniques, it’s fascinating to me. Well, one day I decided I’d just go with the image I had in my head and see what came of it.
I think maybe three or four others have really liked the result, but that’s alright. I wasn’t trying to win a contest or get this thing into a museum. I was just having fun with things I had recently practiced.
It’s not “great art” right? I love the colors though. Did you know I layered 6 different colors to get that exact shade of orange? The red at the bottom has 9 colors but the one at the top has 5. It took me a week or so to make this, and I was entranced the entire time.
Well, thanks to letting myself not try to create the next great work of art, I did another one!
Once again, I had a LOT of fun. I also learned more about moving from one gradient of color into another. That’s why the pink, purple, blue and green are all different in how they fade out. The orange had mistakes. We don’t talk about the orange. lol.
I do hang these in my home, and I enjoy them. They’re bright, expressive, and to me, they’re as interesting and telling of my journey as family photos.
But if I hadn’t allowed myself to suck, I wouldn’t have them.
Then, I created this. This was a piece I just felt like I was able to do, after playing with things and letting myself suck. I gave myself permission to suck here, too. I don’t want to sound arrogant, but… I ended up not sucking on this one.
So really now, do it. Give yourself permission to suck. Get out there and have fun.
Make that wobbly looking vase.
Pour that acrylic into the mold with a different technique.
Draw that picture you know isn’t quite “right.”
Write the words that aren’t perfect.
Do the things you have fun with. Do them because they’re fun. Don’t make them about pleasing anyone else, and let yourself suck. You’ll learn and grow, and heck, you’ll even enjoy yourself!