My Toughest Critic
Thursday, February 07, 2013
I'm taking a beginning pottery wheel class at a local arts center. Last night's class was the halfway point. The last time I worked with clay on a wheel was in middle school - over 30 years ago. I'd had a pretty good outlook while dealing with my ineptitude up until last night. The instructor talked about how each of us get so much glaze and firing space in the kiln as part of the class. The majority of participants already have several items done. Me, I have zilch. Well, I did save one small pot that I did last night, but it's not very good. After a couple attempts at making bowls during which the top half of my bowl went flying off the wheel, I decided to call it quits for the night. During the 20 minute drive home, I had an internal confrontation with myself. My loud, inside voice kept saying what a loser I was, not an artistic bone in my bone, to just give up, that everyone else in class must be asking themselves what the heck I'm doing there. A smaller, quieter voice said to give me a break, I'm learning something new, that there is no reason to be perfect, just enjoy the process. This struggle continued until tears filled my eyes and I hushed both voices.
As I sipped tea last night, I couldn't help but wonder why we are so often our toughest critics? I seldom cut myself any slack. I have impossibly high standards for myself and am continually failing to live up to them. To many, my life would look fantastic. I have a good paying job, a house, a wonderful partner, and two fabulous sons. I have an athletic build that is not thin, but far from obese. I have friends and family that I love dearly. I run, bike, lift weights and generally enjoy life. Until it comes to my dirty little secret... I continually compare myself to others and find myself lacking. If I'm having a good hair day, there's always some else's that looks better. If I'm running on the treadmill, I'm constantly checking out the people around me who are running faster or with better form or who look cuter in their workout clothes. While I love my little ranch style house which suits my needs perfectly, I am always looking at other houses that are for sale thinking they might be better. I have to find a way to make this stop!!! I've driven myself so far in to the ground, I'm not sure I'll ever be able to dig my way out. Why do I struggle so mightily with believing that I am a good and worthwhile person? And how do I change?
I think that along with working on my outer self, I need to do some work on the inside as well.