I’m Not Good Enough
Copyright 2009 by Kathy Hughes

How many times a day do you tell yourself, “I’m not good enough?” We don’t use those exact words, but they disguise themselves in thousands of ways like, “I’ve always been clumsy.” “I never could carry a tune.” “I have two left feet.” “I’m too fat.” “Math was never my strong point.” “I’ve never been athletic.” And the one I hear the most: “I can’t draw a straight line.” And on and on and on.

Nobody criticizes us and puts us down more than our own inner voice. The direction I will take this is our creative path. When a child or grandchild draws you a picture or makes something for you, how do you react? With smiles and joy? Why? And why did that child create?

When you make/draw/paint something for yourself, how do you feel about your creation? Acceptance, smiles, and joy? The actual act of creating is soothing and nourishing. When we suspend criticism and judgment we become that child creating from a feeling of love deep from within. Our creation itself becomes an extension of us. Treat it with kindness. It is your child. It deserves your respect.

Your spirit thrives on praise, appreciation, and care. I know we all crave acceptance from without, but it has to begin from within. Honor your creations. Look for the beauty in each one. Trust me, it is there. Your “voice” is there. It is teaching, loving and nurturing you. It is not judging.

If you are working in a sketchbook or journal, make notes to yourself around your drawing. Jot down your thoughts. Date it.

Allow the flow of creativity. Judgments are noise that interfere and disconnect you from allowing. Trust yourself. Express. Get out of your own way. 

We are afraid of self-expression because we feel we are not good enough. Every artist has felt the same way. That includes Michelangelo, Van Gogh, etc. Down deep we have feelings of inadequacy. And, yes, YOU ARE AN ARTIST, a creator.

Why do we love our pets so much? It is because they give us unconditional love. Your creations do the same. How about returning some of that love?

If you have no idea what to draw or where to begin, how about just getting some plain paper (an inexpensive sketchbook is great for this), something to mark and/or color with, and just begin making shapes. It doesn’t have to look like anything. The purpose is to just get your hand moving and work through your heart and not your head. Keep going. Play. This is called Expressive Art and it just plain feels good! Add notes about your feelings, or just enjoy the color and markings.

The dictionary defines “self-expression” as the expression of one’s own personality or feeling, especially in the creative arts. YOU are the only one with YOUR feelings and personality. Honor your creations.

Now, back to this self put-down talk. Try to dissolve it little by little. When you catch yourself criticizing yourself in any manner, reword your thoughts to honor wonderful you.

In this season of thankfulness, of giving thanks, we remember our families, friends, and blessings of all kinds. How about adding thanks and love to ourselves, our inner voice? Be kind to yourself you expressive artist you!

Kathy teaches non-judgmental art and creativity classes at the Kaleidoscope Art Studio in Rantoul on Tuesday mornings and at Hobby Lobby in Champaign on Thursday mornings. Sessions meet 10:00-11:30 and are $10 per class. Kathy has taught art in the public schools for over 15 years and is a member of the Creativity Coaching Association. For more information (and to read past Active Seniors articles) visit her website at www.room200.com, call her at 351-1680, or email kathy@room200.com