What picture are you painting in your mind about yourself?
Anytime we paint a picture in our mind that’s not authentic or represent who we really are, it leaves an indelible imprint. It’s an image that we constantly try to emulate, assimilate and redefine based on someone else’s picture.
Recently I attended a paint party. Paint parties are popping up all over the United States. They are sometimes held in restaurants, bars and private homes. Wherever they are held, the atmosphere is jovial and there is always plenty to eat and drink. The whole idea of a paint party is to have fun while a professional artist guides novices (like me) in creating our own unique work of art.
Like anything we try that’s new, I was apprehensive and didn’t know quite what to expect. In other words, I almost let fear keep me from a fun experience.
As the room filled and everyone takes their place in front of an already set up easel with an attached canvass to start our masterpiece, the artist announces confidently, “our project today is a sunflower”. As she distributes the various size paint brushes, paper plates to hold and mix the paint, I’m feeling less and less confident. When the instructor passes out the aprons, I assume this is so we don’t go home looking like we’ve been in a paint fight with a 5-year old.
Of course, the instructor had her sunflower prominently displayed so we all could see what a real sunflower looks like. And, like most of the large group of women (and a couple of men) in the room, I tried my darnedest to follow her instructions and imitate her painting of a sunflower. And for a moment, I thought I might be successful until I noticed my masterpiece had taken on a life of its own. While the instructor’s was dead center on the canvass with vibrant colors, my leaves were a little off center and leaned slightly to the left. What I intended to be a bright yellow had somehow morphed into a yellowish/orange.
Unlike the instructor, I don’t have years (or even minutes) of painting experience. Nor do I have a natural talent for painting or even a plausible knowledge about mixing paint. Nevertheless, here I am ready to paint my masterpiece!
I’m keenly aware of my strengths and my limitations. Painting is not one of my strengths.
So, why in the world did I sign up for a painting class?
It wasn’t about creating a masterpiece worthy of hanging in the Smithsonian. It was about:
pushing through the fear of “getting it right” to experience something new and exciting
acceptance (being okay with who I am and what I can do)
breaking free of self imposed limitations (e,g,, “I can’t paint”...)
letting go of negative self talk (“it won’t be good enough” – good enough for who? -see acceptance above)
and another chance to get closer to living fearlessly.
Here is what I took away from that painting class –
I don’t have to create, be or do anything like anyone else
What picture are you painting?
When I shoved aside my fear, judgment and self-doubt and let go of what I thought the other people in the class would think of my feeble attempt at painting, I created my own unique sunflower (tilted and off-color). My painting may never win me an award or hang in a museum but I got something much more valuable than recognition.
I got self-satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment. I experienced yet another opportunity to show up as my authentic, creative, divine self without judgment or self-doubt. And, I had fun doing it.
Now, you can’t put that on canvass!
Is the picture you have in your mind representative of who you really are? What picture are you painting?
Please take a moment to share comments about your unique picture.
And for more ways to suspend fear, self-doubt and criticism, you may want to read my book, Master the Genie Within: Uncover, Embrace and Celebrate the Real You.