The above picture is listed in my friend Mich's shop. In all fairness, Mich's real name is Theresa, but when I first met her she had an etsy shop named Michigan Hemp. I've always known her as Mich. I am sure I always will. She has since closed that shop, and moved all over to The Happy Soul on etsy. Mich's blog can be found here. She is an amazing individual, a wonderful crafter, and my soul sister.
Mich left the following comment on my blog last week: "Fantastic! So that's the secret, huh? Giving yourself permission and then stating your wishes? That makes sense. I've never stated ALL of my intentions and wishes to anyone other than you. I think some of what's holding me back is that I'm scared they will think I'm crazy or foolish. I've had many dreams fall to the wayside due to the negative responses from others. It seems that as soon as someone plants that single seed of doubt in my mind, it grows to a fullflourished weed that I cannot get rid of. I'll definitely have to work on letting my dreams and intentions be known, and to also not let that seed of negativity stay planted in my mind."
That one comment led to the following conversation. A conversation between artists, between women, between sisters, and between friends.
Me: What I would mainly like to focus on is how others can crush our dreams, whether they mean to or not, and why we so readily allow that. I think that when we create, we expose a bit of our soul. We put ourselves out there, and show this part of us that most likely was never encouraged or protected when we were children. We completely expose ourselves when we create and this opens our soul up for attacks by people who have agendas (whether conscious or not) to break us down. Crazymakers can come in many forms. From a spouse who is uncomfortable with us "moving away from them" to a sibling or parent who was never encouraged either so they have no idea how to encourage.
So... how do we protect our inner artist from these attacks? Trust me, there is NO way to keep the attacks from occurring, short of putting an end to the creating.
Mich: I think that having the confidence in yourself and your work is vital. BELIEVING that who you are and what you create is worthy of exploration. If we have this confidence, it is easier to defuse the comments before they become seeds of doubt.
Me: But how? If you were never encouraged as a child, how do you get to that point where you believe?
Mich: think that some people actually never do, but for the ones that can accomplish it, maybe taking the risk and putting themselves out there? Finding a great support group to give you the honest feedback that you need?
Me: I think the support group is the most important personally. It helps us to nourish the inner artist, and they surround us with love, acceptance, ideas, and all of that acts as a cushion when the attacks come.
Mich: definitely! They also deflate any negative bubbles that may happen into our worlds. If that seed of doubt does get planted, they are the weed pullers!
Me: I've been very blessed to find some master gardeners! Not only do they pull the weeds, but they fertilize, help us turn the soil...
Mich: totally! me too! Some people aren't as lucky as we have been, though. We might need to offer suggestions as to where they can find the kind of support that they need.
Me: k... suggestions? I've often seen listings on craigslist for artists wanting to get together. Another idea that may interest some is a church related group.
Mich: hey could search the net for forums based on their interests, if they aren't a perfect fit, they certainly could form their own group with close friends... maybe a group of moms?
Me: I was in a mom to mom support group when my children were small. It was a complete lifesaver, I was a stay at home mom and it was my only outlet. I wish we had been crafty, but they served a wonderful purpose in my life. I certainly think that if you are a mom who creates then you should be able to find others!
Mich: totally agree! We often attract people with similar interests, or at least creative peeps tend to attract more create peeps. They don't all have to have the same creative interests, they could all do their own craft as long as they are getting together to support each other
We also need to understand that reward cannot come without risk.
Me: Right... reward can't come without risk. So we risk judgment, negativity, attacks each time we create. And if we don't cushion the blow, they keep us blocked. Their attacks stop us dead in our tracks. And we discussed some wonderful and amazing ways to cushion the blow, but let's backtrack a little. WHY do we let these weeds grow? Why do we let the attacks do their damage?
Mich: maybe because we don't know the way to pull the weeds by ourselves? maybe we don't have the right tools? not even sure what the tools would be besides self confidence, and then we're back to HOW do we get the confidence we need. Hmmmm...
Me: Personally speaking, with the support group, some close friends and family who can always be counted on to give their HONEST opinion (and who will help brainstorm to improve any issues), I have a pretty good barrier. However, there are times when the attacks blindside us. Like you were telling me the other day about an instance when someone close to you made a comment, totally out of the blue, and before you knew it, the damage had been done.
I am very well guarded against those crazymakers in my life, but when someone surprising lashes out, my guard is down, and BLAM. Damage done.
Mich: yup.. very often we can get blindsided... the first thing I did was run to you because I knew that you could defuse that negativity and pull that weed. I think we all need to have at least one person in our lives to whom we can run with anything. Knowing where to turn in an instant like that is imperative! If we turn to the wrong person, it could possibly get worse instead of better.
Me: Oh yes! I've had YEARS of turning to the wrong person! What a mess!
So... if we don't HAVE at least that one person, we need to find one. With support groups, forums, etc.
Mich: yes, and in the meantime, it's always a good idea to journal. I never did that much until you encouraged me, but I have learned alot about who I am and what I'm made of through my writing
Me: I think journaling is so important! Like you said, you learn so much about yourself! And really, if you are in a supportive community, you must know who you are so that you have plenty to "bring to the table" as it were
Mich: definitely..if we are lost in a cloud of confusion about who we are, we can't possibly expect to contribute anything worthy
Me: Totally agree! And back to your original comment on my blog about people planting seeds of doubt, then that snowballing into feeling crazy and foolish...
Journal! Get to know yourself. Find out WHY you want to do what you want to do.
Have a support group, with at least one person you can bare your soul to and who will HONOR you.
And always give the same honor and support to those around you. Let them strengthen you, as well as you strengthening them.
I think that these things will keep those weeds from growing.
Mich: Totally agree... it will also allow US to grow at the same time.