Last night I tried something that I have never done before… a Paint and Sip class! I have wanted to do one of these for a while now, and finally the perfect opportunity presented itself.
I had been having a bad day and almost didn’t go. I am happy I didn’t back out! Our instructor, Lynn, was amazing. She works for Paint for Good in Richmond, Virginia. While I have traveled far, gone on solo adventures, and been skydiving among many other thrill seeking activities, this was a different type of soul journey.
The worries of the day honestly faded as I concentrated on the canvas in front of me. The level of relaxation was exactly what I needed after a rough day. Having worked in mental health for about 6 years, I am familiar with the stress-reducing capabilities of art and have often recommended drawing, writing, painting, and the like to patients in the past who were struggling with stress, anxiety, and depression. Yet, as we know, those of us who are paid to help others in dealing with these struggles, aren’t always the best at taking our own advice.
So, if I knew the potential benefits, what was holding me back? I feared I would “mess it up.” Sounds funny, right? It is MY work, MY vision, how could I mess it up? Not to mention, there were absolutely no risks to my health, safety, or life. Throughout the evening, the well-known phrase so commonly uttered by Bob Ross “There are no mistakes, only happy accidents” echoed throughout the room. These little reminders coupled with the uplifting spirit of our instructor singing sweetly “That is beautiful!” and “You are doing fantastic!” helped to fade these fears. –The wine may have contributed as well 🙂
Embarrassingly, I must admit that I was feeling somewhat indifferent about encouragement the instructor offered. I thought to myself “she cannot possibly think that all of our paintings are really THAT good.” Then I allowed myself to relax, and I realized that I was again judging myself. This is a behavior I need to improve. I was uncomfortable with (and admittedly somewhat defensive against) the kind motivation of the instructor, because her words were in conflict with how I felt about my artistic abilities. In the psychology world, this is called cognitive dissonance. Obviously, this puts us in a place of discomfort, so in order to get out feeling this way, we can either tell ourselves that these affirmations from others are incorrect, and we truly lack (artistic) ability… or, we can challenge the irrational thoughts associated with our beliefs by:
- Concentrating on more supportive beliefs that prevail over the dissonant belief/thought
“Look at the ways I blended those colors, that’s not too shabby!”
- Shrinking the significance of the conflicting belief
“Even if I am not the best, I am still having fun and that is what matters!”
- Changing the conflicting belief so that it is consistent with other beliefs/behaviors
“I am not too bad at this!”
Keep in Mind: When you have differences between your actions and your beliefs, you may feel discomfort. Changing not only your thoughts, but also changing your behaviors can help to reduce this feeling of discomfort, by enabling you to grow.
My challenge to you all is to GO FOR IT! Step outside of your comfort zone. Do that that thing that you have always wanted to do! You will learn more about yourself and the world around you, if you give yourself permission! The world needs your creativity. So, if you don’t take a leap and unleash your creative side, the world will miss out on all you have to offer!
As always, please feel free to ask questions or leave a comment!