THE ART OF PERFECTION
I have never considered myself be a perfectionist or a Type A personality. Yes, I like things done a certain way. No, you can’t help me because if it gets stuffed up I only have myself to blame. Ok, so maybe I have a slight tendency towards an A type personality with a sprinkling of control issues. Recently I have had comments such as “yes, but you are a perfectionist” or “you’re too hard on yourself” or “you’re too critical” banted in my direction. Normally I’d laugh and joke off such statements, but when you get a series of them in a week from different people you tend to stop and take note.
It’s not that it was news to me, I have certain expectations and levels that I expect to meet and expect those whom I interact with to have the same levels. Yet this is not always the case.
Being cast several “criticisms” so similar, in a short space of time, by various people factors caused me to stop and have a reflective moment. Am I too hard on myself? Just because I believe my best attempt (unless successful) is generally not good enough. But why? Why do I say I don’t care when I really do? Why do I say I don’t care what people think when deep down I seek praise and acceptance?
Even writing this blog and exposing my inner most secrets I feel anguish knowing that I will be judged and Oh someone may not like me!
So why do I care so much? Why am I so hell bent on pleasing others before myself? Is this a hangover from childhood? I have multiple school reports which state “not working to her full potential” “Allison could achieve more if she just applied herself” – do I now have some delayed trauma “trying to live up to the expectations of others” syndrome? Or setting stupidly high expectation syndrome? She’s Ok but she could do more?
This all came to a head the other week when I rolled up to a local art workshop. So, art has never been my thing, despite having close family members who are very arty this gene seems to have skipped me, but hey do something every day which terrifies you, right?
Throughout the class I couldn’t help but cast my eye around to others and their masterpieces, a heavy familiar feeling crept over me – mine’s crap! Look at hers, it so much better. It didn’t help when general class chit chat revealed that other participants included a graphic designer, jewellery designer and a preschool director (come on, she’s surrounded by finger paints daily that must have an impact her art abilities).
As per my usual MO I also took a different path than everyone else. I used to always do this at school too, picking subject topics for projects which no one else would think of so mine couldn’t be compared to theirs, yet usually making life more difficult for myself as the more obscure the harder it was to find information, keep in mind this was pre-internet days (yes, the dark ages). So, if what I was doing is different concept to everyone else why am I comparing? Aren’t we all different?
I know that art is personal and a reflective process as well as being timely, what we paint, draw or what inspires us today may be completely different tomorrow. But maybe the real art is not in the art we produce but more in the meditation it creates. Through the class I found myself centred and focused. I was able to be in the moment, focusing on only what was in front of me. My brain wasn’t running the normal ten thousand different possible scenarios and what if’s – which is great, but don’t let your inner peace be destroyed by the little voice in your head telling you that it’s crap! Tell the little voice its crap! Puff your chest out and be proud. Even if your artwork won’t be hanging in the nearest gallery the art of mindfulness can’t be hung on the wall anyway.
P.S. In this journey of art self-discovery I have since uncovered the that acrylic and canvas are not my mediums. I am much better with paper, pen, pencils and texts . I get the win-win of artistic meditation as well as producing an art work I happy with – No little voice approval needed.