Thursday, January 3, 2013

Thursday Thoughts: Letting Go of Labels

What words do you use to describe yourself?  What words would you not use?





I think that sometimes we limit ourselves when we decide we are not artistic, not musical, not smart, not athletic, etc.  Maybe we aren't particularly talented in a given area, but one doesn't have to be talented in order to have fun or benefit from an activity.  Maybe we have talents that we haven't discovered, because we just assume that we would not be good.

Recently, my friend Nancy from Wyoming Breezes decided to hold a coloring contest.  She asked her readers to choose one of the several pages she posted, color it, and then send a photo of the entry to her.  I almost didn't participate, because I know I am not artistic. 

Flashback to 7th grade:  Each student was required to sign up for 2 electives, out of 3 choices.  We could choose from art, home ec., and shop.  I chose home ec. and shop, because I knew that art would mess up my grade point average.  I didn't know how to draw, and was convinced I could not succeed at artistic endeavors.  Craft projects frustrated me, and I did not enjoy the process.

Fortunately, I am not the same person I was in 7th grade.  I have learned to relax a bit and voluntarily will tackle some arts and crafts.  I still have not learned to draw, though.  However, when Nancy came up with a coloring contest, I thought, "Why not?"  I decided to give it a try.  I giggled as I colored, and John chuckled with me.  I did my best and felt pretty good about my ability to stay in the lines.  Then it happened:  I had a flash of creativity.  I thought to cut snowflakes out of paper and attach them to a paper frame for the picture. 

Guess what?  I won the grand prize!  Nancy very kindly and generously sent me a reversible apron that she made.  It is so cute.  It might sound silly to say, but Nancy also gave me a boost of confidence along with that apron.  I never expected to be a coloring contest winner, because I viewed myself as "not artistic."  Having someone else validate my efforts makes me realize that maybe I can be artistic.






I used to teach piano lessons, and I noticed a difference between children and adult students.  Generally speaking, adults were more likely to notice (and be bothered by) their mistakes, while children played with joy and exuberance, and would even compose their own songs.  I frequently had to remind the adults that they were taking lessons for fun, and that as long as they were enjoying the process, they were doing fine. 

I need to remind myself of the same thing, as I try new projects.  I need to be patient with myself and enjoy the process. 

When have you been surprised by yourself?  I'd love to hear about a time you discovered a past or perceived weakness that turned out to be not-so-embarrassing (or even a strength!)

Thanks for the many opportunities we have to try new things!


Linking to:  Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop

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13 comments:

  1. I am not a fan of labels either. How can something be a weakness if one has never really put effort into trying things? It's not necessarily a bad thing that one hasn't tried something, as we can't do everything, but that doesn't make it a weakness.
    So to answer the question, growing up I thought I was incapable of dressing myself in a stylish way. Even in my early adult years, I was a hot mess. I realized that the only reason I was incapable was because I never actually paid attention or even tried that hard to look nice.

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  2. I thought the contest was fun, too. Glad that you like the apron and the new perspective. Here's to a fun-filled year!

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  3. I'm so glad you entered Nancy's contest! Woohoo! Congrats!

    Jump in with both feet! It's crafty....and it doesn't need to be perfect! Goofy, silly and fun are the goals! :o)

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  4. See you are creative!!! Congrats! Love those aprons...they are adorable. :0)

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  5. I don't think of myself as athletic, so sometimes that causes me to give up very easily. However, I decided to really give my all when learning to surf in Hawaii. I ended up doing better than McKay, and the other surfers gave me thumbs-up! I was very proud of myself.

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  6. I got patience,heck I do beadwork and that takes alot! I really like the lovebug pattern.I like aprons too.Someone told me one time to do what I love and go with it.I did for 5 years on ebay and loved it.Nothing wrong with creativity!The only thing I do is I'll try something once and if I don't like it I don't do it again,mmm maybe thats why I only had one kid?

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  7. You are so right we do limit ourselves with the labels in our heads and even at my advanced age I'm still struggling to break out of my self imposed box. Maybe I'll try coloring!

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  8. I rediscovered a quote recently that said, "What would you do if you knew you could not fail?" Wow... a lot of great things. Good job coloring & nice that you won! I think everyone has some need to create - maybe not craft projects but a lovely home, decent children, or a regularly-updated & interesting blog.

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  9. Cute apron. I don't know which side is my favorite!

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  10. I catch myself labeling myself very often, also. Starting my blog was a way of breaking out of my self inflicted labels. It's fun getting to know myself better!

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  11. Cute apron, congrats on winning it! You are right it is not good to label anyone.

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  12. The apron is adorable, Kristi, and congratulations on doing something you were unsure of. I think sometimes parents give children labels thinking they are protecting them -- things like "He's shy." or "She's just quiet." I grew up in a very negative environment with very little positive feedback ever, so I was very withdrawn and introverted. In school, it was very difficult for me to speak in front of the class and that followed me well into adulthood. Over the last 20 years, I deliberately put myself into situations where I had to speak publicly; and you know what, I began to like it! I really seemed to enjoy speaking if a microphone was placed in my hand -- I not only had a voice, but I could be kind of a "ham" as well! I think we are all capable of so many things, and sometimes we just have to give it a try. Thanks for sharing your experience.

    Carol

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  13. I love to color! I bought Olivia a coloring book for her 2nd birthday and we sat down to color together. She quickly moved on to something else, but I sat there and continued to color and my kids and husband questioned me saying, "Are you coloring?" I said, "Yes!" and I loved it!! :) Thanks for sharing, but I wish we could have seen your art work!!

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Thanks for making this a conversation. I love to hear your comments!