So, I’ve been painting for the past few days, and for the first three days, my work seemed like it was getting better with every painting I made. But last night, I tried something that didn’t turn out the way I had imagined in my head. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t what I had expected it to be, either. So I spent a major part of the day staring at the painting and beating myself up over the fact that I had ‘lost my mojo’ because I didn’t think I was inspired enough to do better. At one point today, I had myself convinced that the first few paintings were purely beginner’s luck.
We all have those days when we start doubting ourselves and our abilities because the result isn’t something that we had in mind. See, our brain has this tendency to pick out flaws excessively when things don’t go as planned. Even the most confident person on the face of this planet has, at some point, been worried that they weren’t ‘good enough’ And it wasn’t until I took a break that I started seeing the painting for what it truly is: an abstract, but beautiful piece. Metaphorically speaking, you’re the painting that you’ve been second-guessing; you’re actually a masterpiece. If only you could see yourself through the eyes of those who love you!
It’s like that weird thing where you stare at a word for so long, it starts to play tricks with your mind and makes you wonder if that’s the way it’s actually spelt or pronounced. It works for almost everything in life. You nitpick enough, you’ll find an error or two even in an essay that definitely deserves an A+. And it’s not like we can just shut down the part of ourselves that is responsible for this because that’s the way we were all wired; we only want to do better than we did yesterday and that is how it should be, too! But don’t you think we take it too far sometimes?
The worst is when we’re dealing with a creative block or the lack of driving force and choose to push forward nevertheless. Frankly, it might not be the brightest idea because even when we don’t feel particularly ‘inspired’ to do something, we are being driven by something, even if that ‘something’ is just boredom. But sometimes, nothing works because we simply need to recharge, no other reason. We exhaust ourselves a lot more than we think we do, so it’s okay to take a break for a bit if we ever feel like we don’t have that usual magic.
I think a lot of us overlook the fact that we need to have a sound mind or the right vision to get things done the way we want. There’s this misconception that ‘hustling’ and ‘pushing through’ are going to get things done, but we fail to see that they aren’t the only factors that go into a masterpiece. Too much of anything is bound to overwhelm us to a point where nothing we do seems like it’s good enough and beating ourselves up over something that isn’t 100% what you wanted is just a little excessive!
And trust me, I know excessive! I belong to a brown family— we were asked what happened to the one point even when we scored 99 on 100. All my brown friends can relate to this! Most of us were practically brought up on excessive! It’s safe to say that it has had its own ramifications on how we performed academically, irrespective of whether we liked that particular subject. But on the other hand, it has also made it harder for us to unlearn this concept of judging ourselves harshly. Traces of it still pop up every now and then, like they did for me today. But it’s not so bad anymore.
Trust me! You’re doing great, even if you’re growing at a different rate than your peers. But remember that you’re all different, but killing it in different places in life all the same! So try not to be so hard on yourself the next time things don’t turn out exactly the way you wanted, okay? Be patient with yourself. You’ll get there!
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