Art offers me opportunities to love myself. When I was on vacation I took two art classes. One was a water color class and the other was a plein-air acrylic class.
These were both beginners classes. In the water color class we had to wait our turn to get our supplies. Since I was at the end of the circle, I had the opportunity to watch the other women start their scenes. Immediately the part of me that compares myself to others jumped into the circle with me. As we all were in the process of our paintings my critic joined in and let me know that the paintings of the women on either side of me were better than mine. As my frustration grew I told the women in my circle that my Koi fish was “Kindergardeny.” I am so grateful for the compassionate part of me that is committed to loving myself. This part of me followed my last statement with, “Well kindergardeners are very creative and free, they go out of the lines and I see this as creativity.”After I saw the nods of agreement from the women in the circle, I continued to love myself with the following thoughts. “Michelle, this is only the 2nd water color you have ever done in your life, savor the process, be grateful for learning something new and be kind to yourself.”
The next thing this watercolor class helped me to recognize was my tendency to want things “just so.” I did not think of myself as a person who wants to overly control things, but here I was watching my inner controller trying to make my colors stay in the lines and not run out of the wet places on the paper. I became aware of how watercolor can help me with the practice of letting go. Our teacher said “Mistakes in watercolor are some of the most beautiful aspects of a painting.” I thought to myself, this can be true in life as well. I found the process of watercolor much more interesting than the final product, it was an invitation to practice Self-Love.
2 days later I was excited to go to the plein-air acrylic class. Acrylic is my favorite medium, and I’ve painted quite a few acrylic paintings, so my comfort level was higher than in my previous class. Standing next to my easel along the shore of Maui with 5 other women, I was pleasantly surprised to learn a whole new set of skills. Our teacher invited us to take off our glasses and look at the scenery in shapes and tones vs. details and colors.
Not surprisingly, I was given an opportunity to let go of my detail oriented self and loosen up and let go again. I opened myself to the experience of painting with my glasses off and I’m so glad I did! I noticed my critical self left me alone when my glasses were off. When I put them back on she came right next to me with her critical eye and began pointing out all the areas on my canvas that were not OK.
What did I do? I lovingly took my glasses off again! 🙂
However my inner critic is not easily pushed away. Even with my glasses off she bumped right into me as I was stuck with trying to create palm leaves on my painting. Wouldn’t you know it, as I was struggling with my palm tree, a woman walked by our area and came to stand next to each of us to look at our canvases while we were painting. When this women came to my easel I felt an unease, and something close to embarrassment. I wanted to say, “Don’t look at it yet, I’m not finished, it will be much better when I’m done.” Well, my loving observer noticed how I was feeling, and what I was saying to myself.
I immediately soothed myself by asking the teacher to help me with the palm tree. She came over and with a few strokes of my brush, helped me get unstuck.
I realized while writing this post that my motivation for asking for help was to get my painting “up to par” for my critic! I was more focused on the end product than the process. It’s not always easy to deal with my inner critic, but I’m committed to my Self-Love Diet and will continue to offer myself daily doses of love. Being conscious of my strengths and flaws and accepting all of me is my practice.
I’m hoping that this past month has helped you see yourself with more love and compassion and I hope you continue your Self-Love Journey with us this February. Click here to continue sharing your stories with us at: http://selflovewarrior.com
Blessings on your Self-Love Diet Journey,
31-Day Self-Love Writing Challenge
January is Self-Love month, and it marks the 4th year that we’ve hosted the 31-Day Self-Love Writing Challenge. You can participate by submitting your self-love writing to be published on this blog. You can submit your writing here. You can also participate by writing your self-love posts on your own blog and linking back to the 31-Day Self-Love Writing Challenge, 2014 blog post and Facebook event. If you don’t start on January 1st, that’s fine! You can jump into the challenge whenever you want.
Each blog post you write is one entry into our random drawing to win an autographed copy of my book, Self-Love Diet: The Only Diet That Works. You’ll also be entered into our drawing to win our upcoming Self-Love e-products that we’ll be announcing soon.
If you don’t feel comfortable sharing your self-love writing, you can write in a journal or write yourself self-love emails. If writing isn’t for you, simply reading others’ self-love writing can be powerful and beneficial to you on your self-love journey.
I hope you join us, and I’m excited to witness the self-love journey that each of us takes.
Blessings on your Self-Love Diet,
Michelle Minero, the Co-Founder of this blog and the overarching Love Warrior Community published her book, Self-Love Diet: The Only Diet That Works. You can buy her book online or at stores in Petaluma, Sonoma and Healdsburg, California. You can also purchase a copy Michelle’s book through Amazon. For upcoming events and book signings, visit Michelle’s Events page.
Michelle Minero is a licensed marriage family therapist who specializes in eating disorder recovery. Her dream is to see a world filled with people who love themselves and their bodies.
Michelle created an intensive outpatient eating disorder program in 2000, brought ANAD (Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, Inc.) to Petaluma shortly after and founded EDRS (Eating Disorder Recovery Support, Inc.), a Marin and Sonoma County based 501(c)3 non-profit organization in 2005. In 2011, Michelle co-founded the Love Warrior Community with her daughter, Emelina, an online community that helps people cultivate self-love, self-acceptance and body acceptance through creative expression. Connect with Michelle on Facebook and Twitter.