I’ve got a bad habit of being my very own worst critic.
Like many others, I have a tendency to be quite hard on myself when it comes to my successes and failures. I was reminded of just how critical I can be during a recent exchange I had with a friend over dinner.
I was hosting a small get-together with some friends and we were cooking, chatting, catching up… all good things. For some context, in my home, I have a lot of my art and the creative endeavors I’ve done over the years on display. Right when you walk inside my house, it’s basically like you’ve stepped inside my head. Think… lots of colorful canvases, little knick-knacks, world maps, and random art projects. That’s is my home in a nutshell.
So, my friends and I are all enjoying each other’s company and just having a grand ol time when suddenly one friend walks out of the restroom and loudly proclaims that he has officially found his favorite painting of mine that I have ever done.
I’m thinking, “What? Which painting? All the good ones are out here in the main living room. There’s nothing good back there”.
I walk over to the tucked-away bathroom and notice the painting he’s talking about and immediately make a sour face.
“Ew, what? This is one of my least favorite paintings I’ve ever done! It’s too sloppy, not professionally finished, and the brush strokes are way too rough.”
My friend laughs and simply says, “Well, it’s my favorite. I think it’s nice and it makes me happy when I look at it. I think it’s pretty cool. Good job.”
It’s funny just how hard we can be on ourselves sometimes. I know I can really get inside my own mind and that the little voice in my head can be quite the nasty lady. But it’s exchanges like this one over a silly little painting that make me realize I need to cut myself a break and be proud of the things I’ve accomplished.
One of the greatest pieces of advice my mom ever told me was to love and support myself the same way I would love and support my very best friend. That’s a solid metric to live by, in my opinion. I will actively beat up anyone who talks bad about or hurts any of my friends… so why wouldn’t I have that same protective nature for myself?
With 2019 winding down, I think it’s good to stop and celebrate the year’s accomplishments. After all, you never know if the thing you are so self-critical about is the very thing that someone is really impressed by.
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