“Just be yourself and everything will be fine.”
These words of wisdom have been passed from countless parents to their children at the beginning of every momentous childhood event: the first day of school, summer camp, a new neighborhood, leaving for college, starting a career job.
Yet somehow we keep forgetting the message.
We listen to criticism inflicted by others and by our own inner critic and we respond by trying to be who we are not. We seek to alter our authentic selves and to silence our critics by hiding behind costumes of clothes and sets replete with cars and houses. We eat in the right restaurants, go to the right cultural events, support the right charities, cheer for the right teams. In listening to the critics, we lose the joy of living our own life.
Artists experience criticism more frequently and harshly than most of us. Last week, our friend, the artist, musician and fellow Cedar Rapidian Nicholas Simmons, talked about his recent experience with his inner critic and his painting that I’ve posted today.
“This one got destroyed, but it had a cool vibe. Another version in the pipeline, stay tuned,” he said. “I’ve destroyed lots of good painting, dozens I suppose. It’s very liberating!”
He has a great attitude about why we should live our own lives. “Artists should be explorers, out there in uncharted territory. I want to see something I haven’t seen before.”
We are all artists. Our creations are the relationships we form with others. When we work with our authentic selves, we create something no one has seen before.
Life Is Honest, Open and True: What stops you from presenting your authentic self as you craft relationships with others? We have a choice. If we are willing to silence the critics, we can explore uncharted territory and cast off our failed experiments without further thought. As we cultivate our authentic selves, we can reap the rewards of rich relationships.
About Nick: Nicholas Simmons’ work has earned him a worldwide reputation as one of the most exciting artists in contemporary watercolor. His gift for inspiring others makes him sought after as a workshop instructor and lecturer, known for his fresh, unorthodox, and often irreverent approach. He has also enjoyed a successful career as a professional guitarist. Like me, he is a native of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Currently, he lives with his family in the Washington, D.C. area. You can learn more about him on his blog and on his website.
Related Posts: Being Ourselves
Invitation to Be My Guest
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