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!
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