This is a follow-on to my last post, entitled Why You Are Important To Me. If you haven't read it, by all means, peruse.
About a month ago, someone said, "If you don't take yourself seriously, why should I?" She happened to be a gallery director addressing artists regarding their bodies of work and she was right. This concept is a second cousin to the old adage about loving yourself before others can love you. Or before you can love others. Actually, I now realize that I have no idea what that old adage was talking about. In any case, I've decided to consider this taking-things-seriously approach in a much broader sense and apply it in an overarching way to the rest of my life.
((WARNING: There is such a thing as taking yourself too seriously, and we've all probably met at least one of those ass-cats. Sometimes I'm especially lucky, and encounter several per day. That kind of behavior is not what I mean. I also don't mean taking things so seriously that life is a forced march. That's no fun at all!))
Her question made me consider how I spend my time and how serious I was about each activity. Do I see value in myself and the things I spend my time on? Thankfully, the answer is an emphatic YES. I do. The problem is, I have a hard time admitting that I'm serious, especially if it involves something very personal, like my art or writing. When I do that, I'm exposing myself to ridicule or criticism and that is really scary, but I personally believe that it is necessary. Risk and change are catalysts for growth. I'm going to do myself a favor. Going forward, I'm going to focus on doing the best possible work I can do, whether in my career, or one of my many avocations, and then intentionally change my mind-set to allow me to take myself seriously. This is my life, after all, and I deserve to be taken seriously.
NEW TOPIC: I hate being wrong.
I started the draft for this post last week with the title ...and, why I am important to ME, but to tell you the truth, this past week has been humbling. I probably should have changed the name to Why I Am A Complete Moron. Or maybe Foot, Mouth, Robin. I had an experience at work in which I repeatedly and uncompromisingly insisted I was right. In a sort of loud voice in a meeting full of talented people whom I respect. In point of fact, I was wrong. So wrong. Really, truly, undoubtedly wrong. When I realized I was an ass, I became physically ill. My stomach hurt and the rest of the day took on a gray pall. I don't mean to sound like a drama queen, but things really took a turn for the worse. I managed to pull myself out of the funk by taking several actions, which honestly almost killed me. If I had been offered the choice between the following actions and jamming a mechanical pencil in my eye, I would have chosen the later. I admitted I was wrong (verbally and by e-mail), asked for a mulligan, and forcibly moved on. This experience taught me two things. The first is that I should probably make a better effort to check my facts before opening my big fat mouth. The second, and most enlightening ( 'Cause let's face it, I think people have been telling me about # 1 for decades, and I've been choosing to ignore them. It wasn't really news to me.) was that people respond favorable to an earnest and heart-felt apology. I really can't remember now WHY I was physically ill over being wrong. I even considered going home and burying my head under the covers,which is completely out of character for me, and in light of the fact that everyone involved was gracious and helpful, I can't for the life of my remember why I thought that was a viable plan. At 42, you'd think I'd have learned these lessons by now, but apparently I need reminders from time to time.
My studio is kind of a mess right now, but I'm really making progress on a big painting for our bedroom. I'll post pictures of it when it's finished. I don't have a strong concept of what it will look like when it's done, I'm just winging it.
Be happy and take yourselves seriously.