Why don’t we finish things?
Why do we get so excited about something and then the honeymoon is over before it starts? It seems to happen more often than not, and our surroundings are filled with an unfinished wasteland of once exciting new projects, dreams, and desires.
You know it happens all the time. We can’t wait to go out to eat at our favorite restaurant. We even starve ourselves to make sure we have room in our stomachs to take in all of the goodness. Then we take a few bits, and we just can’t finish. We are full before we got even started.
We start a new hobby, maybe knitting. We are motivated and excited to knit every sweater, baby blanket, and our whole winter wardrobe. We buy all of that beautiful yarn and supplies with a list of all of our projects we plan to complete. Then it happens we get overwhelmed, or the desire just dies down. Several unfinished blankets, unused yarn and sweaters half way completed lay in a pile.
Our intentions are always good. We get excited; we get really pumped to start that new project, and somehow it deflates, all of the air taken out never to return. But why? Where does the desire go? Hmmm, our inner critic could be the culprit. It saps our inspiring passion’s energy quicker than we can recover.
Let’s again revisit our restaurant experience. Our inner critic could be telling us we shouldn’t eat ALL of that food. We will get fat, we will get sick, this is unhealthy for you. We may not even hear what our inner critic is saying, it could be so ingrained in our inner thoughts we are unaware of its existence. What about our knitting journey? Our inner critic could be saying; this is a big waste of time. We should be doing something more productive; we should be making sure our children are being taken care of, or this doesn’t pay our rent. Yes, our inner critic is our biggest enemy. Preventing us from completing all of the unfinished business our passionate hearts are born to do.
I am a victim of this blame and excuse merry go round on a daily basis. I joke all the time with my students about all of the unfinished paintings I have in my studio. I explain and share my ever emotional roller coaster of my painting process. It starts with an idea, I am excited, I am pumped. I begin my underpainting; my process is beginning, taking shape. I start building layers, and the excitement continues. And then it happens. I begin to doubt my idea, my process. I start disliking every new brushstroke I add to my canvas. It’s horrible, it looks like complete crap. I should just give up now before I just ruin it completely. This is where most of my paintings end up in this lifeless pile of nothingness. The world of unfinishedville. I let my inner critic get the best of me. Complete knockout. I allow it to take over and what gets accomplished? Absolutely nothing!
How can we break free from the art of unfinished business?
I have found that breaking through the cluttered mind of disappointment and excuses is not that easy. But breaking through puts you in a new realm of consciousness. The concept of accomplishment. It’s exhilarating – Yes, I have been there.
How did I break through with my creative process?
I enjoy painting landscapes, and I usually paint from the many photographs from my travels. But many times, my oil painting process is frustrating. I tell myself it’s not good enough; I have no idea what I am doing, etc. I beat myself up all of the time because I just can’t get there creatively. I give in to the negativity and give up. I open a new canvas and do it again, but again it happens. I needed to find a breakthrough, a way to fight off my inner critic. So I opened my mind to a new and exciting creative process. I started painting intuitively without any notion of what the finished product would be or look like. I put on some music, let the paint slip through my hands and fingers and let loose and accepted the freedom. The process was life changing and therapeutic. I couldn’t believe what happened. My inner critic didn’t have time to respond because the music was too loud and it was fooled not knowing what direction or end result it could respond to. My confidence exploded – the end result didn’t matter – it was the process that was important. I learned to trust the process, and the end result just magically formed. When I did return to my oil landscape paintings I returned with a new sense of excitement; I felt freer, it felt more natural. My inner critic couldn’t regroup quick enough to respond because I was too caught up in my process.
So is our inner critic the reason for our unfinished business?
It could be one aspect – I know it’s mine. It could just be it isn’t our path right now. Taking a break and letting go of something that is frustrating for you could be the solution. Don’t get too caught up in something that continues to stress you out. But learn to listen to your inner critic – if it is berating your process and progress don’t allow it to. Tell that inner critic to step off and leave you alone – you are trying to create something.
So about all that unfinished art
Since I have been working on silencing that inner critic I have been revisiting some of those unfinished paintings I fought with. I know I can just pick up new paint and cover it all up. I can close my eyes and make it new. These paintings have now become my creative challenges where I can reinvigorate them into new and exciting pieces. I understand some will fail – but that’s ok. It’s all about the process. And, about the knitting, I plan to return to that soon too.
I have a FREE course coming soon (launch date is set for September 15th) This course showcases my life-changing process – the thing that got me out of my creative funk. Artful Inspirations: Floral Abstracts is a new course I developed to show others how I was able to break free of my inner critic and allow my true process to emerge.
Click here to sign up and get more info!
Artful Inspirations: Floral Abstract Online Course
This course and many other online courses are in the works to share my passion and process. I am excited to offer this new tool to all of you and hope it helps you battle that inner critic and follow your passion too!