I am a perfectionist. I can’t help it. I like things to be perfect and I try as hard as I can for them to turn out that way, and I get frustrated when things don’t. Perfectionism is a character flaw that I’m trying to work on.
The thing with DIY/Photography/Food/Art is that they are a test of character and the ability to be ok when things aren’t ‘perfect’. In my previous house, I renovated a full bathroom and although it turned out very well, there are three things I know that I messed up that still to this day bug me, even though I don’t even live there anymore!
At the same time, all of these activities can be therapeutic. It can teach you to be ok with things that aren’t perfect, because you are not a professional tile-setter, painter, upholsterer, taper, or framer. You are an accountant, or a banker, or a professional dad. Even though you aren’t professional doesn’t mean you can’t do a good job! It just means that it will be nearly impossible to be “perfect” and that is ok.
Every time you tackle a project, you have the ability to learn something, whether it be how to use a tool, how to make the next project better, or even something about yourself, like that you are capable of finishing a project that was challenging. Push yourself and you’ll be surprised at what you can do!
Allow yourself the freedom to go outside the lines. Take it as a challenge to break through that solid barrier and push yourself to be ok with the results!
Take my dining room chair re-upholstery project for instance. It’s a great project that is practically impossible to screw up! You can always pull the fabric off and start it all over again without causing any damage. If you are really afraid of messing it up, start with one cushion and don’t pull the existing fabric off before you begin. This way, you get a chance to try it before getting stuck HAVING to replace them all.
There are a few things in life where failure is going to be catastrophic, but a majority of our daily lives are full of times where failure is not life or death, and those learning to live with those so-called failures will help you be a happier person!
Although we live in a world full of technology and it’s binary nature, the real world is analog. We shouldn’t judge ourselves into success OR failure. This perfectionism can prevent you from even trying! Psychologists have even studied perfectionism and their effect on procrastination. The theory is that our anxiety rises when we might not be able to live up to our own unreachably high standards, so we procrastinate!
“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” – Samuel Beckett
I’m using art and painting as a way to teach myself that things in my life don’t have to be perfect. During a recent road-trip, I turned on Netflix and found The Joy of Painting with Bob Ross. I remember watching little bits as a little kid and so I began to watch. I wasn’t expecting what was about to happen. His words resonated with me. “We don’t make mistakes, we have happy accidents.”.
For some reason this hit me very deep, and whether it was his voice, or what he was painting, I was inspired and I really wanted to try it. When I got home, I took Oliver on a dad-adventure to Michaels, and I stocked up on what I needed to start.
My first painting didn’t go well, at least in my mind. I didn’t set any expectations and I didn’t let it bother me that it wasn’t great. I’m not a painter! I’m not an artist! I’m just a broadcast engineer and a dad. Even though I didn’t think highly of it, most everyone I showed it to thought it was really good.
Perhaps they were just niceties, but no matter, the encouragement I received from showing the picture of the painting to friends and family was extremely helpful to boost my confidence to try again!
Art doesn’t have to be “perfect”. There are no rules. There is no right. No wrong. If I don’t like it, I can throw it away and never let anyone see it. It’s about enjoying the process and creating something for myself.
Whether it’s …
-Creating an hour of letting my mind go and not worrying about all of the other things going on in life.
-Creating a conversation piece when I hang the painting on my dining room wall.
-Creating memories when my son paints along with me.
Be creative, be unafraid of imperfection, and just try it.
That’s what this blog is about. Being creative and learning to appreciate what your creations mean to yourself and others, regardless of whether or not it’s “perfect”. Not all creations will be result in something tangible, but they will all be special nonetheless.