Thursday, November 14, 2013

Painting the Sunflowers Yellow

This post has been brewing in my head for a little while now. It all starts with the question:

Why is it more socially acceptable for us to hate ourselves than for us to love ourselves?

I was at an event a little while ago with my sister and mom, and 220 other women. We were learning how to paint. (It was at my mom's church, they called it Canvas and Mocktails, a quite silly spin on the trend in Denver that started with a company called Canvas and Cocktails, check 'em out!)
So here we are, 220 women strong, and then we start painting, and then it happens.
Out goes the happy go lucky charm, and in comes the self-criticism.

All of the women at my table start talking about how bad their painting skills are, about how they need to find the nearest trash can so that they can throw it away on their way out. The fun is gone, and it has been replaced in a hurry with hate.

Here's the deal. We were painting, this was nothing of any consequence! Who cares if you suck! This isn't brain surgery, we're not repainting the Sistine Chapel! We're painting, just for fun, just let it be fun.

And then I realized that this is FAR more common than just this particular setting. This happens in groups of women, even between just two women, daily. Let's think about this. How does it make more sense for us to outwardly hate ourselves than to outwardly love ourselves? What has gone so wrong that has led to this!?!

It makes my heart break. I was so saddened by this mask, this shield that women were using. Here I was enjoying myself, sipping on my grape juice (let's just be honest people, "virgin" sangria is pretty much just grape juice) focused on my painting, proud of the fact that I was creating, grateful for having the ability to create!

I've fought over the past several years to remove the voices telling me that I was weird, that I needed to change, that I wasn't good enough. I have learned that I am funny, creative, awesome and most importantly fun to be around, and I'm not ashamed to say it! The night was more about community than painting, and when you shield yourself behind your own negative comments there's no way that community can be fed. Dissing yourself is hurtful to those around you. Talking down compliments is hurtful to the givers.

I hope that you take the time to "paint the sunflowers yellow." Enjoy your abilities, and enjoy yourself! And don't be afraid to remind your friends of how great you are!


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