Being kind to oneself
As you may know, I published a book in French on how to keep an illustrated journal. I chose to publish some excerpts on my French blog, but I suddenly thought: and if I translated them for my English readers? So here it is, a first passage in which I wanted to emphasize the importance of benevolence towards oneself in the practice of the art, whatever the chosen discipline. It seems to me that we often ignore it and yet it is essential. So here is this short chapter in its entirety:
2. What is most essential to this trip
First of all, I would like to emphasize what is essential to this trip and which is most often ignored: it requires a lot of love and kindness towards oneself to create. It is necessary to start, to progress, to dare, to share, to start again, to persevere, to overcome obstacles, to face the resistance.
If I learned something from my practice, that’s it. Or maybe the practice taught me to love myself. It’s more likely that. If you do not learn to love yourself, to appreciate your imperfect achievements, to embrace your mistakes, to enjoy the path and to start over again and again, you end up hating yourself and everything you do. You end up sabotaging yourself, getting obsessed and finally stopping everything. Not always easy, but I chose the first option.
More than a technique or a talent, what is asked here is learning to evolve and navigate in an unknown territory, the one of creativity. It can be very destabilizing. Exciting yes, exhilarating, thrilling, but sometimes, too, destabilizing. And in these moments, it is imperative to be kind to oneself, to ask oneself constructive questions rather than to use destructive judgments. For example, it’s better to ask yourself, “What could I do to make it work better? What do I need to spend time on, what is important to me? “, rather than to be stuck withthoughts like:” You’re a looser, you’re not disciplined, you’ll never get there, you’d better to… ”
It is probably very natural to think “I’m bad, I should know how to do it, if only I knew, the others get there better, they understood, them! “. But it’s wrong. No one has learned anything other than by practicing a lot, making mistakes, searching, questioning and, as R.M.Rilke would say, “loving the questions themselves”. It is an exciting journey, but one that requires a lot of kindness and patience towards oneself.
My book is in French, but if you are interested, you will find all the information here. And I will publish new extracts in the coming weeks. Stay tuned!
Take care, Mireille