Perfectionism kills creativity and how do you change in the direction of deeper creativity?
Do you compare yourself to the perfection of nature? What do you compare yourself to?
As an artist, perfectionism stifles all expression. Maybe it’s ok in the very last layer of a realistic painting, but I don’t know since I don’t paint realism. I have suffered from perfectionism from time to time. It shows up as:
That didn’t turn out very good
Is this any good?
I can never get it right
Those statements might not seem like an angle of perfectionism, but when we doubt what we made we have a picture of what it SHOULD look like, and it’s never good enough. It comes down to comparison to some kind of ideal or living up to someone else’s expectations.
Maybe someone’s voice is running a commentary in your head?
Maybe our parents expected us to be perfect in every way. What does that have to do with art? It has everything to do with whatever task you attempt, be it art, writing, speaking, teaching, accounting. Basically, in every area of life. The way we look, the way we work.
How do you escape this tyranny of perfectionism?
First, you have to realize it’s present, and a pain in the ass. Not everyone notices or perfectionism is so embedded in the “norm” that it’s inconceivable to change.
As an artist, it’s important to let loose and try something completely different from your current mode of expression.
Become three years old again. Slap some paint on a poster board.
Make ugly abstract art. Muddy the colors. Paint big.
Use tools you don’t normally use.
As you explore this, something inside has to give. The perfectionist will raise a big stink, but allow it to and paint anyway. Just go nuts!
Do this with everything. Don’t mop the floor every day even if it makes you feel uncomfortable. Don’t pick up the clothes. Don’t obsessively clean the kitchen counter. Let some dishes sit around in the sink.
Allow the inner wisdom to show you that life won’t fall apart if you get a bit “sloppy.”
It is a challenge, but to truly change, you have to face the discomfort and get to the other side.
To become a life artist we have to face the difficult things that hold us back.
Paint anyway. Show up, be daring.
Allow the emotions to flow. There might be rage under the perfectionism, but rage is good fuel for art! 🙂
Then, underneath the rage there might be other stuffed emotions. And then there is peace. And it’s ok if there are dishes in the sink for the time being. Expressing your creativity is more important.
Maybe you pick up a new style… YOUR style.
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