I really don’t like to do things I’m not good at. My long-running involvement with sports coming to an abrupt end, my ability to get out of any required art class through school, playing it safe rather than taking the risk, the list could go on with examples of things I quit, didn’t even try or managed to avoid just because I reached a point where I didn’t feel like I did it with excellence, so what’s the point in trying? I thought it was best to just stick with what I’m good at and the terror I felt with the thought of failing was crippling. This is something I’ve been trying to unlearn the last couple of years.
Yesterday, I went to one of those places where you paint pottery and I laughed at myself about how much anxiety this used to cause me. Because for real, I’m not a very good painter. I’m just not the best artist. I am too impatient to wait for the paint to try, my hand shakes a little when I try to write words and I eventually get bored so I lose concentration and go from wishing it was perfect to if it’s good enough, that works for me. I would get so irritated that my piece didn’t turn out how I thought it would. I would stare at everyone else’s pieces and get annoyed that they looked great and they were so creative. Yesterday was different though.
I knew that painting wasn’t my strength, I knew this wasn’t something I was excellent at, but that didn’t mean that I couldn’t enjoy it. I decided to just put any expectations away…except for the expectation that my piece would probably not turn out how i wanted it to, and enjoy the process. It was a completely different experience. Come to find out…I really enjoy painting, I really enjoy doing something artistic, yes, I might get a little impatient, lose concentration and my final product is not something I could sell on etsy, but it doesn’t matter because I did it. I enjoyed the process of creating something.
How would our lives look if instead of always aiming for perfection we trusted the process of growth and didn’t make perfection the goal? How would our lives look if instead of always playing it safe and sticking with what we’re good at, we took a risk and put ourselves out there to figure out that even if we’re not great at something, we may still enjoy it? How would our lives look if instead of looking at the people next to us wishing we were as successful as they are, we appreciated their work and their excellence and celebrated their success?
I think a lot of freedom can come from letting go of perfection and a fear of failure and replacing that with the truth that really no one and nothing is perfect and we’re all going to fail at something.
Freedom comes from trusting in the process, from finding the courage to take the risk, from celebrating others successes, and from realizing we can still enjoy something even if we’re not good at it. I choose freedom.