I hear it all of the time. Sometimes even coming from my own mouth. It goes something like this…
Friend: Oh, I love that dress! Did you make it?
Me: Oh gee, yes I did. Thank you.
Friend: I wish I could sew like that!
Me: Oh its nothing. The hem is all sorts of wonky.
Why? Why must we feel the need to critique ourselves so harshly?! So often I will make something, and be happy with it during the process. And upon completion feel like it is suddenly crap because it doesn’t live up to the expectations I had in my head. Or doesn’t have the same quality of a store bought dress. Or doesn’t look like the pretty pictures on-line I see from my friend’s blogs. Clearly I am not good enough, my talent is not worthy, and I wonder why I even bother at all.
But here is the thing.
I AM GOOD ENOUGH.
Exactly as I am, without needing to change a thing.
AND SO ARE YOU.
Full stop. It doesn’t matter how good you, the person standing next to you will always have something you love that just might make you feel less worthy. Instead of comparing, try celebrating their success! It has no reflection on you. In fact, we often compare the worst part of our lives / DIY project, with what we perceive to be the best part of theirs.
“You have nothing to gain by comparing, but oh so much to lose. For example: your pride, your dignity, your drive, and your passion.” – Becoming Minimalist, A HelpFul Guide to Stop Comparing.
REALIZE THAT YOU ARE GETTING BETTER.
With each and every attempt at crafting / sewing / cooking, you are getting better. You are learning something and moving forward with your passion. Some of my very favorite sewing projects are from when I just started. The stitches are not perfect, in fact – they aren’t even in a straight line…but they are my keepsakes. They are kept in boxes for my kids to give to their kids someday – because that is what they wore as a baby. And I put so much love into those projects, I didn’t even notice the imperfect stitches.
GET OFF OF PINTEREST.
Granted, I have a whole article about how awesome Pinterest is, and how we shouldn’t be basing our own happiness based on what we see that you can read HERE. But if a rock in the road causes you to stumble, you shouldn’t keep going back to the same rock. If looking through Pinterest causes you to feel bad about your craft…stop looking! Go on for inspiration if you need to, but don’t sit there browsing it all day long if it is going to make your life feel inferior. Get off-line looking at other people’s lives, and start living yours!
GIVE IT TO A CHILD.
I am always amazed at how much I can learn from my children, like how to be happy with exactly what I already have. Their innocence can remind us of what is truly important in life. And guess what – its not what is in the Pottery Barn catalog pictures. There are times when I am less than pleased with my sewing project or craft, only to be reminded how awesome it actually is when I give it to my child. Their reaction is always priceless. The JOY that they have when you give them something you made, it is almost as if you are validating your love for them in a way that they can understand. Think of it this way – you know the bazillion pictures that they draw and give you? That is their way of showing you how much they love you – they are giving you something they MADE. When you return that gesture, by giving them something you made – it is a love language they understand. Don’t love what you made? Give it to your child and see their reaction…it might change your mind.
GO DO SOMETHING ELSE.
Stop obsessing over it. Go outside and ride a bike, go bowling, or see a movie. Sometimes I find that by simply separating myself from the project for a bit – when I return I can view it with new eyes. Eyes of appreciation, or when needed – eyes that can view the project freshly and see what needs to be changed / fixed. Without being so critical and harsh.
STOP LISTENING TO OTHERS.
I am not saying to stop learning and growing. But if you are around perfectionists, especially ones who love to give ‘friendly advice’ – stop listening. I know plenty of people who used to love a certain artistic craft – but stopped doing it because the people they were around constantly tried to ‘help’ them. After enough of this, the person just stopped because they stopped enjoying it. Often times this person is a parent, someone who has learned a craft for years – and they think they are helping you. They really do. But instead they are stymying your craft because they constantly have something to say to help you ‘improve’. Learn how to tune them out, or ask them kindly to hold their opinions to themselves – letting them know that you will ask when you need help.
RECOGNIZE THE SHAM OF THE PERFECT.
Nobody is Martha Stewart, not even Martha. (Well, obviously she is Martha). But what I am trying to say is, Martha cannot do all of the things in her magazine. She has a team of people working with her, that all specialize in their craft, putting forth content. And even the content they do put forth is edited in photoshop. Martha’s main talent is her keen business sense to start an empire out of being a homemaker.
There is a new website called Sham of the Perfect, which showcases real photos from every day lives. They are still beautiful photos from fantastic photographers, but they are REAL (with messes and all), and I relate to them in my own every day life. I remember Dana once wrote a post about ‘the mess’ outside of the photo. You can see it HERE.
So just remember, nobody is ‘Martha‘. Not even Martha.
Realize that you did something with your hands, that you made something out of nothing. And that is pretty dang amazing all on its own. Celebrate that! Celebrate that you tried, celebrate that you have a gift and that you are already ahead of the curve. After all, you aren’t sitting on the couch watching TV – but you are trying. You are working hard to achieve a goal – and that is something incredible!!! Even if I don’t know you and you are reading this, know that I am dang proud of you!!! Like for real – if you are crafting or sewing or cooking – or basically just TRYING to win at anything (like training for a marathon). Regardless of the outcome, I think you are amazing. And I am not alone, I would guarantee that the entire on-line crafty blogging community would agree with me.
ROCK ON WITH YOUR BAD SELF.