I’ve noticed people struggle to accept failure. I don’t like to give up, but I’ve experienced a lot of failures in my life. There are times I feel down about my failures, especially after investing a lot of time and energy into something. I’m very aware that not accepting failure causes me anxiety.
Being a recovering perfectionist, I’m keenly aware when the perfectionist starts taking control of me. I tense and become frustrated, but I know failure doesn’t necessarily mean something bad. Sometimes failure just “is” … something to accept, then move on.
In my artwork, I try to quickly recover from (repair) things that go wrong. Sometimes, its not possible. Maybe a piece of art isn’t meant for public consumption. Maybe, the process of creating is really what I’m meant to do.
As I continue my journey, I am willing to accept failure. It doesn’t need to control me or leave me obsessed about what it could have been. As I look at where I am today, I am more confident about myself than ever. I know what’s in my control and what’s not. I can look back at my life and see opportunities that didn’t become much of anything. And, I can also see nothing much that turned into something big. In retrospect, all those pieces, the failures and successes, have provided me with a tremendous amount of tools to drive forward. Sometimes it may take time to actually appreciate how valuable that lesson in failure was to your current success.
After years in college, I never did find gainful employment in any of my academic studies. … So … I’m not, the wildlife biologist I had hoped to be, but its still part of who I am in very important ways. Those formative years made me better at learning and observing which are integral to being the artist I am today.
I’m grateful for the failures, because I wouldn’t be who I am if everything always went as planned. My confidence has grown, because after failing, I stood back up. It’s all about an attitude of acceptance. You make some bad art, so what? You didn’t get in the exhibit you submitted to, don’t sweat it! You can learn from these things. Are you ready to fail?
Great post Nanette-I call myself a recovering perfectionist also!
I knew I liked you. We should start our own recovery group! LOL!
A great way to describe yourself–a recovering perfectionist. I’m sure many of us could use that same name. Always trying to visualize and make good art. Some of it succeeds, but even the ones that do not have something to teach us.
Most definitely, Martha!
I’m in the “recovering perfectionist” camp too! Thoughtful post—thank you.
Thanks Cindy, maybe we should start a recovering perfectionist group. Do you think we could make a 12-step program out of it?