To me, proper fun requires four things: being with other people; being present and engaged; being open - to newness, challenge, failure, or looking dumb; and large amounts of laughter. I’m fortunate to have a partner and a group of friends who don’t shy away from playful activities. I’m also lucky to be living in a time when play is becoming more and more accessible to adults. Gone are the days when we had to settle for bowling, mini-golf or billiards - leaving the actual fun stuff to the kids. Now we have more options than ever.
I realized that while I accomplished a lot more than I had expected in the past 12 months, the overarching theme for the year was constriction -- a feeling of being caught in a prison of my own making. I weighed myself down heavily with unnecessary obligations, adding more and more tasks to an unstable pile. While this definitely helped me take my art business further than it’s ever been before, it also left me with a sour taste in my mouth. This - burned out, worried, stressed, exhausted - is NOT how I want to feel.
Receiving feedback is hard. We need to open ourselves up to the potential of being hurt and of facing things we’d rather ignore. But I also think it’s essential. If you’re struggling with how to receive feedback without shutting down, lashing out, or feeling like a piece of garbage, here are my suggestions based on things I’ve read and my own experience.
A year ago today, I published a blog post where I declared that I would give up my day job at the end of January 2018 and go full-time as an artist. It was both completely unreasonable and absolutely necessary. It filled me with energy and made me so anxious I felt sick. Today, less than three months from my self-imposed deadline, I’m looking back on how that decision has impacted my life and business and whether I’m on track to reach my goal or not.
We all have times in our lives when our commitments outweigh our energy. When we've said yes to way to many things and can't see how it will all get done. When even the things we love start to feel like a burden and we long for a bottle of wine, our couch, and all the Netflix we can handle (it’s not just me, is it?). I’m coming to the end of one of those seasons and though I am deeply tired and quite achy, I am still standing, with a much lower meltdown factor than I expected. Here are six things that have helped me survive the last month with my joy and creativity (mostly) intact.
I talk about fear a lot on this blog. Earlier this year I did a whole series on how I deal with social anxiety. Last year I wrote about what it was like to give a speech in front of hundreds of people. The reason I try to be so open about it is because the only thing worse than feeling afraid is feeling like you’re the only one feeling afraid.
Sometimes I feel like a cross between a three year old and an old lady. Routines are veeeeeery important to me. I have a strict bedtime and I have been eating the same things for breakfast every single week for the last four years. I do not fit the model of the free-wheeling creative who stays up all night painting (or binge-drinking) and forgets to eat. A few weeks ago I got excited because I got lost in a drawing and forgot about breakfast for 30 whole minutes. Woohoo! Getting crazy in this art studio!The thing is, my desire for (you might even say obsession with) routine is what helps me thrive as a creative.
In the first part of this series, I talked about how social anxiety has impacted my life, and the things I did that made it worse. The second post was about all the ways that I've been working on changing my mindset from fear to openness, and the last post was about the things I've done to push my boundaries and leave my comfort zone. Today is the final post in the series and I'm going to share where I'm at with the process right now and where I see myself going.
This week I'm covering some of the actions, behaviors and situations that have pushed me outside my comfort zone, and helped me become stronger and less fearful. If you haven't already, make sure you read last week's post on mindset shifts, since I've found that pushing myself to do scary things without bringing a ton of mindfulness, softness, and self-care to the table just makes me feel worse about myself.
In my last post I wrote about my struggles with social anxiety and all the things I did that made it worse: obsessing over what was wrong with me, trying to fix myself, reading endless books about communication and social skills, putting my tale of woe on repeat, and letting other people define me. In this post and the next one, I want to share what I've done that has helped, and how you can apply what I've learned to your own life.