It Doesn't Have to be Perfect
May 19, 2019
Here I am, packing up for a vacation, excitedly stowing away my paints and looking through my photo library for inspiring pictures... then that feeling starts clutching at my chest..that feeling of having to get it 'right' ...to get it perfect. No, I can't do that scene, it's too hard. No, that one's not quite right, either.. I need the perfect look on her face.. no. No. No.
That is the voice of The Judge... the Rulekeeper. And, for as sour and grouchy as she may be, let's remember, she's only trying to protect us. The trick here is to listen.. and then dive in there and figure out: from what. What is dangerous about painting something less than perfect? Harsh criticism of the past? What does that mean about me? I'm a failure if my painting does not please someone? I'm not good enough? I am not likeable?
Now, fast forward to today, right now. Do I really agree to that rule? That I have to perform well in order to be likeable, to be good enough? The nice thing about being an Adult is that you get to pick which rules you will apply to your inner life. My new rule is something more along the lines of: my performance, my joy. I perform for the pleasure of those who enjoy it, myself included. The performance is a nebulous, formless, untouchable act of expression, that, by its very nature, cannot be judged.. like trying to touch a cloud.
This new rule lets my Rulekeeper say yes. Yeah, I like that one! Or, oh, I remember that day. Look at that love in her eyes. It no longer matters if my painting doesn't look like the picture. It doesn't matter if her hair isn't right. Now I get to focus on what's important to me. Painting my kids. Feeling through the veins of time to touch them with my brush, with each loving stroke. To fix my unfocused gaze upon them and let the wordless part of my brain command my hand, to express what it sees and hears and remembers.
How many times have we let the clutches of perfection freeze our hearts and steal our joy? Rule it out!