March 11, 2013

caring less...

For so much of my life, I've cared too much about what other people thought about me. What they thought of me as a person, about what I said, what I thought, what I did, how I looked, what I created, how I came across to them. Just... everything.

There are times when caring what others think is important.

But a lot of the time, caring what others think gets in my way and stifles me and keeps me playing small. I won't go into all the ways this has impacted my life over the years, but it has.

As time has passed, as I worked on gaining more confidence in myself and showing who I am, as I've grown older and realized it truly doesn't matter so much what others think of me - things have shifted.

These days (and for quite a while, really) I'm caring less.

I still have times when I care too much what others think. But I know I care less than I used to. And a few days ago, it struck me how very much I care less than I used to.

I've been taking Flora Bowley's Bloom True e-course, a class about intuitive painting - and painting on canvases large enough that the thought of them intimidated me at first. I'd only painted on canvas once in my life, and it was smaller than a page in a notebook. And I'm not a painter. And I can't draw. But this method of painting, intuitive painting, really called to me. The sound of it felt freeing. It felt like being able to play with paint, and express myself through paint, in a way I've always wanted to do... but felt I never could, because I can't paint things or people.

The 5-week class recently ended, but I'm behind and only on week 3. But I was right - painting this way has been freeing for me. I can't even express how much I'm loving this class. (and how grateful I am to have access to the course materials for a few more months, so I'll have plenty of time to finish going through the course)

Since I'm only on week 3, my canvases aren't finished. But all along, I haven't cared how they look. For me, how they look isn't the point of why I took the class.

But even though I'm not finished with the paintings, I realized several days ago I wanted to go ahead post a picture of at least one of them.

Most of my life, I would have been too scared to do something like this... but when I realized I wanted to post this draft of the painting here, it struck me how very much I'm caring less these days about what other people think. Not only about what I paint, or what I create - but also caring less than I used to about what other people think of my opinions, or how I do things, or the decisions I make.

Caring less about what other people think of me and who I am.

Then I remembered... over a year ago on my blog, I posted a picture of an art journal page I did. It was the first time I ever tried to draw a face. (not counting smiley faces!) For most of my life I would have never done something like that. And yet I did it.

Remembering that art journaling page, and how I posted it, made me realize how this process of caring less really has been happening for a while.

And it is a process. I care less now than I did when I posted that art journaling page with the face. I cared less then that I did the year before.

I'm still in process. I'm still not where I want to be with this. But I'm in such a different place than I used to be.

There are times to care what others think, and I don't want to lose sight of those times because that would mean being a person I don't want to be.

But when it comes to being myself... I'm caring less what others think about me.

It's a good feeling.