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fairfax

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hello there....

i just need a help....

i'm an art student in college.i don't know if i can call myself a perfectionist....but i'm self-critical. i have high expectations on myself and with what i do..in my artworks...but overtime i always disappoint myself...i'm not happy with much i do...people think i'm always slow in whatever i do...but the reason is..i'm so detail-oriented and very indecisive. it's takes so much of time for me to decide even with the color i'm going to use...i always wanted to make the right decision...i want to make elements in my artwork in perfect place. which most of the time limits me to be creative. as much as i want to be creative but i couldn't. it's so hard. for in my course, it's always about thinking "out of the box".

well i can say that i'm really not that good... i don't want others to see my works bacause i'm really afraid that they're going to criticize it and they'll going to have a different view of me.and i feel so stupid to even think that all these time others think i'm good. while i'm the only one thinking of that.

maybe this may sound a bit light problem...but i'm feeling fine right now and not really low just like few days and months ago.
i'm really sorry for having this one very long.....
but do you think i should have a break and take a different path away from the arts? i ask myself sometimes "what if this is not really for me?....."

i always feel disappointed and now i'm having this mechanism of being apathetic and always making excuses even to myself whenever i'm not doing any good.

any advice will be really appreciated....:)
 

ladylore

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Re: self-critical.... i need advice please...

I have fortunately taken a few art therapy sessions which has taught me to have fun - its about the process, not the finished peice. When I started looking at it that way what I drew or made, made sense and looked better when I was trying so hard to get it right (whatever that meant).

You may want play around with the techniques you are being taught and with what you know and see what comes up. Art for me is an important way to express myself (I think in pictures :) ) Hope this helps a bit.
 

fairfax

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Re: self-critical.... i need advice please...

art is important for me. since childhood it's what i do. the process of making art should be really fun and sometimes it is. but when you have a conflicting mind, it is hard. a part of me is trying to experiment, be creative and unconventional. another part of me is trying to be in order and rational.....i really don't know where i stand....
 

lallieth

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Re: self-critical.... i need advice please...

Hi Fairfax

What your art means to you and the enjoyment you get doing it,is more important than what other's think.Perhaps you can change your thinking from a negative standpoint to thinking of yourself as "meticulous & mindful" when it comes to your art of other aspects of your life

How do you know you aren't "really that good"? Does your art bring you joy? does it satisfy something in you,is it a reflection of who you are as a person? If so,then it has to be good doesn't it?

I remember a teacher once telling me that my short stories and poetry weren't that good because I didn't follow the taught structure.I told her that she had no right to judge my work based on what some schoolbook said,that my writing came from my heart.I was also a little mean in saying that perhaps that is why she was teaching writing and not actually a writer herself.

Keep at what you love,don't ever let anyone tell you that you can't do something simply because they do not have the guts to achieve their own goals
 

ladylore

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Re: self-critical.... i need advice please...

Meticulous and mindful - I love that Lallieth:dimples: And its true.

Something came into mind reading this that I wasnted to share with you fairfax. When I was growing up I really wasn't the best student - mostly a C average, except in art where I excelled. However, I was told that wasn't good enough because I will never use art in the real world. Everything I was doing wrong was pointed out while what I was good at was ignored.

Therefore as I got older I though my art had to be the best, perfect to make it worthwhile. It only in the past year where I have actually gone back to having fun with it.

:)
 

fairfax

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Re: self-critical.... i need advice please...

thanks...

meticulous and mindful...i like that one too.

i sometimes also try to think about it in a positive way. but you know most of the time my being meticulous is in the wrong way. or rather not helpful. or when it isnt really required i keep on minding the details....i don't really know how to say it....

it's not that i don't like criticisms..it's all part of learning i know....i criticize other's work as well....constructively.....and i always do it..it's just that, i think high of myself. i expect so much from myself. and before, i have this thinking that others think i'm good and if i'm going to show them my not so good works their view of me is going to change. .....but now i get to accept that people don't really expect much from me even from the beginning.....this is a realization that came to me even before but it's only recently that i got to accept it after 3 years of school.

it's hard for me to pursue something because i always lose interest in what i do. one reason i don't excel at anything. i have no specialization.
i'm such a lazy person.....i easily get tired and sad recently....

would you suggest to me to try a different path? because sometimes i'm thinking about it. but i feel like i'm just trying to escape cause i did not succeed and achieved my expectations.

i dont tell my friends who are also art students, about this directly. cause i know what they will say. that's why i need your opinions and advices...

another thing, i don't really know if i'm just overreacting to my problems or i'm really sad....i don't understand myself... cause i easily change moods.... right now that i'm writing this, i'm quite fine and i don't feel as sad as before...but i know the feeling is just here hidden somewhere....i don't know if i'm just trying to feel pity for myself....arrrgghh. maybe it's just another mechanism that i'm having....trying to have a reason for escape.....yeah, now i'm analyzing myself....trying to think that i know everything, that i know what's happening...


anyway, thanks for your time reading this...
 

Lana

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Re: self-critical.... i need advice please...

would you suggest to me to try a different path? because sometimes i'm thinking about it. but i feel like i'm just trying to escape cause i did not succeed and achieved my expectations.

Hi Fairfax;
I don't know if you should try a different path or not. As corny as it sounds, you're the only one that knows the answer to that one. :eek:

I took art courses when I was in high school. The most memorable lesson I had was from a teacher in our figure drawing course. He said that what made art good was the entire context, the big picture. He said that some people loose the art in the details. Some of us, including me, didn't agree with him then.

He laughed and said, "When you look at a tree, do you see each and every leaf in great detail? When you look at a building structure, do you see every block, bolt, or wire? In fact, if you were to take a closer look, you'd find that nothing is perfect. But its the way that these items are put together that makes them what they are. Art is the same. Don't waste your time on details, focus on the big picture. That is why every now and then we literally need to turn away, take a few steps away from the drawing, and then look at it from the distance to get a better perspective."

I don't know if this helps you or not, but it did help me in so many ways...not just art. So, what I was wondering...could you let go of that control a bit and just let the art flow and see what comes out? You can set a time for yourself. Do it for about 5 minutes, without censoring your work. Then increase time as your comfort increases. See what happens.
 

ladylore

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Re: self-critical.... i need advice please...

That's a great approach Lana. Definitely thinking outside the box. :)
 

Lana

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Oh, I forgot to add one more thing....

Buddhists say that most of our suffering comes from the expectations we inflict on ourselves. Thus, the way to end them, is to stop expecting and to just be. It's not an easy task if you're weighed down by expectations, so they recommend meditation.

Meditation can just be a form of a breathing exercise and standing still for a moment, then letting yourself flow...easy and controlled without being too controlling. There are a lot of books and web sites on this so you can look it up if its of any interest.

Whatever you choose, I do wish you the best.
 

prayerbear

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Re: Self-critical.... i need advice please...

I found a great book on that problem-see as an OCD'r I used to be VERY hard on myself. Please read David Burn's book Good Mood Therapy. He talks about replacing self-critical thoughts with self-endorsing thoughts.

Here's an example:
(self-critical) I am so fat and my thighs are jiggly
(self-endorsing)I have been very disciplined with my eating habits and excercising for an hour a day for the past four days. I can really reach my goal-even if I am not skinny like I used to be!

Are you taking an antidepressant? Too much adrenaline makes a person too self-critical, but when I started on meds to tame the OCD inner critic beast, it was a lot easier to pat myself on the back!

Make a list of your most self-critical thoughts and then come up with another column of self-endorsing thoughts!

I deliberately screen out negative thoughts and journal them and replace them with encouraging thoughts. This is a hard habit to overcome, so writing it down really changes the way you view yourself. You have to decide to like yourself the way you are. I have three mental illnesses that I am challenged with. OCD, PTSD, and bipolar II. I don't tell people negative things about myself, thus enforcing the inner critic.

I think you can really change the way you think, but it is going to take a lot of work, Did I mention I have been receiving psychiatric therapy for the last year twice a month? A therapist can really help you change your mind-set.

Challenge every negative thought you have about yourself and journal every self-affirming thought to counter the negative. I used to be so self-critical I went into an almost nervous breakdown!


If you want to change nothing will stop you!


miss-ex-clean(who used to spend 8 hours a day cleaning and has cut down to 3 hours a week or less.)



miss ex-clean
 
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i don't think that changing your path will change your thinking. no matter what you choose to do, you will still have high expectations of yourself that you won't be able to meet. you may still lose yourself in the details of whatever the subject is.

i think what would be a better approach would be to try and change that inner critic and somehow not be as fearful of making a mistake. mistakes aren't the end of the world. mistakes are ok. mistakes are actually what help us learn, they teach us how to do things differently and better the next time around.

it may also be helpful to realize that no one will be more critical of your work than you. you may have a whole list of things that you consider "wrong" about it but other people will never even think of those things. also i think art is subjective and what some people will love other people won't care for much. you can't please everyone. you may as well aim to please just yourself with your work :)
 

fairfax

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thank you so much for all your advices....

it really helps a lot reading your replies....
i would try your suggestions...but i know this will be really hard and will take a lot of time. since i'm already like this since i was in grade school.. but not in art...during those times, i hate having errors or erasures on my notes...i also hate it when i don't like my handwriting...i would tore the page and rewrite again or not write at all...

you know what...i really envy my other artist classmates. my friends also notice my "perfectionism" but they don't know that i really look up to those who are opposites of me...very carefree, doesn't mind what others think of their works, and their very content with it, their STYLE are really reflected on their works, and so on...and you could really see contentment and fun on their faces.......:)

i'm feeling really really low right now....i have a problem with one of my subjects and i dont know if i'm going to graduate or not.....:cry: and i have so many many things to do....

even if i'm so busy, i dropped in here again just to read your replies and for me to let it all out....

all of this may sound very common student problems to you so i'm really thanking you for your time and help...
 

Lana

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Hi Fairfax;

It sounds to me like you're overwhelmed with just about everything and the perfectionist in you is not helping matters. I can also relate to problems with a school subject and just being very busy. There are few things you can do to ease the stress of it all:

1. Breathe. Take a few minutes to just stop and take in a deep breath and let your body relax for a bit. Are you seeping well? If not, get some sleep.

2. Make a list of all the things you need to do. Just write them at random. Then pick the ones that you know you can do easy and quickly and do them. That will help you feel that you're making progress and make the list a bit shorter, taking the pressure off a bit.

3. Speak to your teacher or teachers assistant about the problem with your course. Maybe they can give you extra help, or recommend something that will make things a bit easier and take the stress off.

4. I know it's difficult for you, but try not to spend too much time in envy. It will only drag you down. One way of doing it is to show your work to them. I'm willing to bet that their feedback will be good and will help you a great deal by restoring your faith into your own work. Showing your work to others will get you the "perfection" you seek.

5. This is a hard one. Instead of looking up to those that are carefree and at ease, try to mimic them. Pretend you're carefree and at ease, even for a few minutes. Practice that. If it makes you feel awkward and makes you giggle it means you're learning something new and that's great!

In short, once you clear up the list of things you need to do and take care of immediate stressors (like your subject), things may look up a bit. As for letting it all out here -- that's what we're here for. Thank you for letting us be here for you. :)
 

Halo

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Those sound some like some really good suggestions Lana :2thumbs:
 

rosedragon

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Self-critical is good to make u do the best. But when you have done the work, you need to fight it, tell it that it is done, and need to be shown to others.
 
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fairfax

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thanks again to everyone...

i'm feeling tired right now...but i'm here again

one thing that frustrates me is that i have no specialization. like i've said i'm just average in most of things. and that's one thing that makes me afraid of finding a job and going out there. i'm not yet a graduate but when i am i feel like i'm not yet at all ready. i know it's a though world out there after school. i feel like i've missed the opportunities to learn much more because of being irresponsible. i'm so filled with "i should have...read that book, woke early, planned my things......and so on and on........

irresponsible.....now i'm suffering all these stress....

let's get back to my point....realizing that i can't expect much from me...others don't expect much from me.....feeling envy about others, i realized that those people, they always do what they love....that's why they were able to master their skill...i really admire their passion on their thing. the problem is i feel like everything is easily fading in me. i like photography today the next day i dont. i feel like painting now, later i dont anymore.......and i'm such a lazy person...i always want to sleep, watch the tv, search the net all day and so many lazy stuffs. i do things at the last minute....i want to have a dog, but i don't. i want to write but i really don't. i have no focus. i'm not really sure what i want.

yeah...that job. i really don't want to find a job. because i'm afraid of new people, professional people.....and i don't feel i'm ready for it and responsible enough for it....and if ever i get one, people will expect from me certain things....and i feel like i can't come up to their expectations. in my field, creativity and skill are very important and i don't have them. i feel like i have to get back to the start. do you think i should?

that's why we have this plan with my friends to have a business instead...but i'm not sure if i can contribute much to that....i think that's a good idea...but when i'm thinking about it...the word HIDING comes to my mind....i dont know...maybe i feel like i'm hiding behind them. so i won't have to do things that i know i need to learn like talking with people i don't know....deciding creative things on my own.....because they're already there. i realized that i'm so dependent on others not only in school but also in my family.

another thing...why do i always cry? some people think i'm so insensitive and i'm very hard to please...and usually i have no reaction.... but when im alone...it's really easy for me to cry...even if for no reason...just a sad movie gives me tears...thinking about some things makes me cry in a second and it will just keep on flowing...
is these all about stress???
 
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it sounds like you may be afraid of life as an adult with a real job. and you know what, i think that happens to a lot of people. it's downright scary to think of this new world where all the rules are different and you do not know what is expected of you and you are afraid to mess up. i was quite terrified myself. first of what if i never get a job to begin with? then when i got the job, then i got scared about what if i don't do it right? it is such a switch going from being a student to actually working for a living.

i know it all is scary and you probably feel like you don't have what it takes. but you know, in the end, you do have what it takes, you just haven't done it yet so you are doubting yourself.

do you know of anyone you could talk to about your fears and worries who could provide you with some support and encouragement, and help you in this transition?
 

fairfax

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hello there again....thanks again

my friends are just like me, kind of afraid of it all. that's why we had that "own business" idea. and i kinda know what encouragements others are going to tell me about that issue.

i sometimes think i wanted to go up the mountains and live with the monks....hehe...for a while. (there are no monks here) i wanted to be alone or rather away from my usual things,places, even just for a few days...i want to have something new....all the things and problems i have over the years are just the same......feels like being stuck. ironic cause i'm in art school, we do so many different things...new things...new ideas...but problems are just overwhelming and they're always the same. or the problem is me and i haven't change my habit at all, that's why i'm always in the same situation. and now i don't get to appreciate much of the fun times i had. or maybe i just had so much fun before that now the stress are all coming back to haunt me. i thought that because i was able to get out of some sticky situation before , it's fun and over but now...it isn't that way really.

but i don't have money and guts to go somewhere else....so i just need ideas on how can i do that in the city....but just the idea of going outside makes me want to sleep.

i want to understand why i'm like this...

i want to change...i'm not sure where to start.
 

Lana

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In order to change, we must have a goal set, as in, what do you want to change from and what do you want to become. So, you can start by asking yourself some questions and coming up with answers (not as easy as it sounds)

1. What do you want?
-- this is probably the hardest question that you'd have to answer. Few people can answer that. But this requires that you're honest with yourself and this is where you map your "destination point" -- where you will end up once you make the necessary changes, and why. (eg. I want to increase my physical activities)

2. What do you want or What kind of person do you wish to become?
-- this is where you get to describe, in concrete terms, the kind of person that you hold in your ideal, the one that you feel you wish to be. Don't overthink this one or spend too much time on the details. Just jot down what comes to mind. (eg. I want to walk 3-4 miles 3-4 times a week and to achieve that, I need to make training a habit)

3. What kind of attributes do you need to have to achieve that?
-- You mentioned that you liked people that could be at ease and carefree and so on. This is where you make the list of these attributes and others that are important to you. (eg. I like to walk and I live near a track/park/mall <-- yes, those are great for walking :D )

4. Which ones do you already have?
-- this is a bit of self-inventory. sometimes, you will find that you already have many of the qualities, you just forgot to use them. :) (eg. I have running shoes that I bought in the mall last time I walked through it. :D ok ok, i'm kidding, but it's just to give you an idea)

5. Which ones do you need to work on and/or develop?
-- this is the "wish list" of the changes you wish to achieve. So, if you want to be more active, you'd say that: I will be more active. (eg. i need to actually get up and do it)

6. How will you do that?
-- and to follow up point 5 and write down one line on how you will achieve that change. So, to become active, you'd write something like: "I will go for a 10 minute walk every day" or something like that. Don't overdo it, don't plan a 2 hour intense work out session or you will learn to resent it if not hate it. Just something small. Remember, we're aiming to change our habits, not become world class athlete. (eg. make a schedule and set an appointment with myself during which time i will do this walk)

6. How will you know that you reached your goal?
-- every goal requires a way to measure it. How do you know you're active enough? What would you measure your activity level against? Set up milestones and celebrate them. So, once you've walked for a week or two, treat yourself to something you like to celebrate. Then up the ante and onward to another milestone.

This type of plan takes time to build and a commitment to carry out. Dont' be discouraged if the list takes time...it's actually a good thing. Also, sometimes, we need time out...take it, but again, set a time limit or you'll end up abandoning the whole thing. See if you can get a friend to do some things with you. It's always more fun with company.
 

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