A few years ago I met a man, who loudly and clearly declared to me: “Why you don’t get it?! Your paintings are your paintings, you decide if they’re good enough, it doesn’t matter what others think about it!”. There were quite a few swear words in that statement, but because of the tone of this article and my way of writing, I decided to exclude them :). Obviously, that kind of language shock was something I deeply needed to break the pattern of self-criticism of me and my work.
Our mind very often turns on the switch of “not good enough” translator. Even if the whole world says the opposite, we will translate each statement into a language that will follow our inner belief, we are not good enough. That might sound like:
- “Your paintings are wonderful!” translates it to “She is just being polite.”
- “You could teach others.” translates it to “I don’t have enough knowledge, experience, skills.”
- “Others would really like to learn what you know.” translates it to “I don’t really know much more than any other person, there are way more skilled people than I am.”
We already know by now that whatever we believe about ourselves, our products, work, and activities, vibrates inside of us so we attract situations that confirm us those beliefs. As I always try to emphasize, making art is only a reflection of our inner beliefs and in what way we think, feel and function in life, because of them. That is why self-growth directly affects our development in the art field.
What is actually considered as good enough? To paint like Picasso, teach spirituality as Osho, cook like Martha Stewart or play basketball like Michael Jordan? Who sets us the criteria about what is enough, when is enough and why is enough?
First of all, there are our parents, who set their expectations which we need to achieve to get their love and approval; we also collect others opinions about being enough; we deal with the same issue at school, will I we be good enough for an A or a D; at work your “enough” is equal to the amount of your monthly payment; finally influence of the media and articles like – 10 ways to make you become “good enough”.
The other delusion that causes us feeling not enough on a daily basis is a belief, that everything we make or do is equal to our self-worth. If someone thinks our painting is crap, lunch not tasty and the apartment not clean enough, we explain that to ourselves as: I am not good enough. Can we make a distinction between the I, me, who I am, good enough just by being here vs. everything we do? Whatever we do, make, how we behave is something we constantly change, upgrade, improve, retain or discard, but from a place of joy, passion, inspiration, excitement to change, and not because we want to prove we are good enough to someone.
It’s important that we acknowledge we are enough, no matter where we are and who we are at this moment. Sounds a bit cliche but it’s true. We can’t expect to achieve everything in one day, week, month or a year, and also, after 3, 5, 10 weeks, months or years of investing our energy, time and ourselves to accomplish a certain skill, project, personal development goal, we can give ourselves a credit and recognize our readiness to move forward and persistence in times that we almost gave up. Can we be a bit less critical and a bit more easy on ourselves? We’ve actually done quite a lot, the best we could and it’s totally enough. But most of all remember, just because you exist you are already enough in your core you are good enough.
One of my favorite daily mantras is now:
- Be committed to living at your highest level of knowledge and just do the best you can. (Mark Groves)