A dear friend  (our own dear Meg) recently shared a concept with me that has really stuck in my heart and mind and is changing my life.  So, I thought I would share it with you in hopes that it would help you as it has me.  She said that our unhappiness with things in our life does not result from what those things are, but from what we want them to be.  In other words, it's not how something turns out that is the cause of our disappointment, but rather our expectations of how we wanted it to turn out.  Instead of appreciating something for what it is and recognizing that it has value in and of itself, we impose our desires and expectations upon it and this produces our feelings of unhappiness.  Now, at first, I applied this concept to people.  I started to realize that it's not the person who is faulty, but rather my expectations of that person.  Then, I slowly began to realize that this concept applies to everything in my life - most especially in my art. I have always been hyper-critical of my own art - never thinking that my work was "good enough." Now, I try really hard to let go of my pre-conceived expectations and just enjoy the process of making art.  I am trying to loosen up and not focus on how it's going to turn out.  My children have helped me so much in learning this and practicing this precious concept.  When they create a work of art, they enjoy the act of creating.  They just get in there and have fun.  And no matter what it looks like, they always seem to love it.  So, I began to wonder - "Why can't I do that?"  Then it dawned on me.  They love what they make because they don't have any preconceived ideas about how it should look when they're done.  They just roll with it and enjoy the process and because they're not going into it with any expectations, they are always happy with the outcome.  

What I know for sure is that each and every piece of art I make teaches me something, and because of that every one has its own intrinsic value.  So, rather than creating a piece of art with preconceived expectations, I am now trying to think of each piece as a teacher with a valuable lesson for me to learn.  I am trying to appreciate each piece for what it is and what it has taught me rather than being unhappy with it because it didn't turn out as I had hoped.  I find that since I have changed my perspective, I am much freer and am enjoying the act of creating so much more.  I am beginning to relax and enjoy the process.  And coincidentally, I find that I am happier with the result.  Thanks, Meg!

Views: 89

Comment by Maureen Craddock on October 27, 2011 at 1:27am

Thanks for sharing,I can totally relate . I'm at a point where I want so badly to keep going with my artistic endeavors and also where I think should I give up.I  have a lot of stressful things going on in my life right now and it makes it hard to relax and enjoy the process yet that is what i want to do most of all. I's hard to balance everything. Hopefully soon I will find what you have found Starr and Meg.

Comment by Shari Bryant on October 29, 2011 at 5:23pm
enlightening! i find it difficult to accept the concept that my art has something to "teach" me though... maybe its just me. :*)
Comment by Maureen Craddock on October 29, 2011 at 7:08pm
I think art has so much to teach us. It's like everything we see in life brings something to us. Experiencing other peoples art also teaches us to look at things from another persons perspective. Art can be calming. Did you know that there is such a thing as art therapy? It helps people reach into themselves and release their innner feelings, they use art theraphy for children too. I love teaching children  through art, it helps them look and explore. Any time we look at something and respond to it with thoughtfulness we learn from it.
Comment by Minvi Duncan on October 31, 2011 at 5:47pm
Thank you for expressing your thoughts about "expectations". I can sympathize with you completely as I am just like you in some ways; so overly critical of my work and talent that it crippled me for many years. I am now starting to get back to painting and just letting myself enjoy the whole experience instead of zoning in on my mistakes. So glad for this website--the camaraderie of the artists is so exhilirating and inspiring!
Comment by Starr White on November 3, 2011 at 1:17pm
I totally agree, Meg.  I have met so many wonderful, supportive people here.  It has helped me to see that I have been my worst critic.  The encouragement and support I have received from so many wonderful people here has really helped me to grow my confidence and loosen up a little bit!  I love the Art Colony, too!  Thanks everyone!

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