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Perfectionism
Art

Perfectionism- the killer of artistic process

I guess creative slumps are normal, the feeling of boredom in our art, the feeling of not being good enough on what we do as well the thought of being not original, beautiful or moving enough.

Sometimes we put so much pressure on ourselves and in our work to Perfectionism, we demand never to be bored, we want to feel special, we expect from us the best of the best all the time and also, we want to be recognized.

We must be interesting at all costs, we must have a Hit formula to create, do what is reasonable, be better and under those circumstances, we are Constantly Fixated on feeling good all the time.

I guess is common humanity, I guess is part of humanity this necessity of being seen, heard, admired and be perfect at all times, frankly, these expectations are very draining.

Recently I felt this deep disconnection and a sensation of boredom with my art and consequently, I decided to question myself on the whys of those emotions to get a clearer perspective and help myself.

What lies beneath boredom, disconnection, and perfectionism? Why the necessity to constantly feel special or original? The answers that came to me were fear and the ego interfering, to put it another way, we do not trust the process or ourselves enough, we crave validation and clout from outside sources plus we are afraid of being rejected with our work.

I guess the society that we live in doesn’t help much, the constant images that are bombarded to us of the importance of being important, perfect or special are disturbing on a psychological level.

Has Mark Manson says: “Our lives today are filled with information from the extremes; this flood of extreme information has conditioned us to believe that exceptionalism is the new norm. We believe life is worthwhile only if is truly notable and great.

Perfectionism is a toxic belief and my biggest problem, and as well of a million other people;

Perfectionism comes from insecurity, from the necessity of being liked/approved by what we do at all times and if this necessity is not satisfied we get frustrated and discredit our work.

Sometimes we forget that It is normal for people not to like our art, disagree or have opposing viewpoints.

I surely know I should be the one valuing my work, my self-appreciation must be the priority but guess what I’m not so good at this, at least I recognized it and I want to change.

The knife of the perfectionist attitude in the art can be very dangerous, can block us, debilitate, drain, make us obsessive and get lost in the details of a painting or writing and lose sight of the whole.

We think too much and do not create freely; we end up messing up the entire job because we are maniacally focused on the details. We correct our originality, our essence into a uniformity that is dull and that lacks passion.

Considering all this negative emotions that come from the necessity of doing perfect art, I decided to start meditating on patience, to gain wisdom, more clarity and mindfulness with the intention to be more compassionate towards myself in this obsessive necessity to expect so much of me, and consequently learn to navigate my waves of fear of being wrong.

The meditation is helping me a lot because now I am more attentive and when I feel the inner perfectionist critic comes, I have more compassion towards myself and know how to dismiss this voice and focus on the creative process.

Agnes de Mille said something beautiful that I always try to take into consideration: “Living is a form of not being sure, not knowing what next or how. The moment you know how you begin to die a little. The artist never entirely knows. We guess. We may be wrong, but we leap in the dark”.

That is to say, it is important to understand that art is a process and mistakes are part of the growing process, grading results will not take us far.

Making art, being comfortable with the mistakes we make and above all creating the space to slow down and understand what we like, what we want and what we do not like is more important and sustainable than the belief of perfection.

I am learning that it is important to be mindful when we fill this dullness, disconnection or perfectionist rush, it is important to pause, analyze, accept and let it pass like waves in the sea and not grab hold of it and turn it over and over. The wave of emotion will naturally recede on its own; moments like these, are impermanent like everything in life and will pass.

We have to learn to use moments of instability and dissatisfaction to create energy to create and be more open and compassionate.

Is art about always being important and perfect? Not at all, art is about enjoying the process good or bad, reflecting on it, learn from it.

As a final point, I leave a quote from Michel Eyquem de Montaigne for us to reflect and smile a bit because at the end of the day the most important thing is to create flaws and all. Nothing else matters; creation is all.

 Alas, I have done nothing this day! What? Have you not lived? It is not only the fundamental but the noblest of our occupations.

Michel Eyquem de Montaigne

If you enjoyed this piece, be sure to check out 5 Ways to Make a Friend Happy

 

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by artandotherstories

Emilia Duarte, Mozambican multidisciplinary artist/writer, painter-illustrator and clinical psychologist.


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