I recently read a blog post from a Mom of a special needs child who was watching her child prepare for an art competition.
The mother was concerned with how discouraged the child would become in the process of creating her "perfect" art piece for the competition.
The child struggled with getting what was in her head down on paper in a way that satisfied her, but more importantly trying to capture what she thought the judges will be looking for. She talked about the child not yet being at an age to know her style.
The child showed great bravery to try to compete and face the possible harsh critique and comments which are a part of a judged competition.
The mom went on to say she knows that is best to resist the instinct to protect her child, but as a
Momma she wanted to discourage her child from competing - to keep her child's feeling safe.
Instead she continued to encourage her child to
"Follow her joy and listen to her inner voice" and to "keep on creating."
She concluded it was best that her child learn that it really doesn't matter if her artwork never brings joy to others or wins awards. All that matters is that the artwork brings her joy in the making and completion.
This story hits home for me, as I have had a lifelong love of creating...painting, drawing, crafts, etc. But at a young age my creative spirit was crushed by someone important to me.
A project that I created at school was lovingly given to them and a short time later I found it sitting on top of the trash heap. Leaving me with crushed feelings of inadequacy.
This one heartbreaking and careless act stayed with me too many years and fueled an inner voice that told me that my art wasn't "good enough".
Since my art was very important to me it quickly translated into my own feelings of me not being "good enough".
It was only years later when I was a woman in my 40's that I heard the right words that finally "undid" the damage.
I was asked to create a Creativity Journal and in this process I was able to dig up this old memory that had buried itself .
By digging it out and grieving for the loss of joy in creating I able to comfort that bruised little child and finally heal myself.
It freed me from that harsh inner voice and those terrible feelings once and for all.
I, myself, could move forward to NOT judge my art, but judge the feelings that it unleashed in me.
I was able to learn that if the act of creating makes me happy, then I am happy. I no longer need to go to an outside validation.
So, if I could speak to my younger self I would tell her, your art is an expression of your inner beauty. Only by bringing it forward will you truly become yourself.
I would hold her and comfort her. I would let her know that her own joy is the only reward she will ever need.
I would tell her to keep experimenting, keep learning, keep trying, keep creating. I would tell her to bring joy to herself.
In speaking to my younger self, I am also speaking to you.
I give you permission to stop doubting your own creativity.
I give you permission to know it is okay to use Pinterest as an inspiration.
It is okay to copy a project you saw somewhere to bring yourself joy or to give to someone to bring them joy.
If you need guidance to know how to pull everything together, go ahead and use project instructions.
Allow yourself to step away from the instructions and try your ideas.
It is with different colors, different papers, different stamp sets that you will make the project your own.
When you allow yourself this freedom then you will find your own style.
Go play! Have fun! Make ''mistakes". Laugh at yourself and let it go!