Last year my daughter created a beautiful purse for
herself. She designed it and sewed it and it was perfect – for her. She was
excited to make more. Her friends also
thought her purse was super cool and almost every one of them stated, “You
should sell your purses. I bet everyone would love them.”
Have you ever created something and one of or all of your friends told you that you should sell that item? How did that make you feel at the time? When my daughter heard those words, she was elated. She thought about how she could create something beautiful and get paid. She thought about everyone in the world walking around with one of her purses. She thought about her new company and logo and ads she would create on Instagram.
The next time she sat down to make a purse, she could feel the weight of all of those new ideas and plans. “What if red isn’t a color people want in a purse? Maybe I should research colors and styles that are trending.” Every move she made on the next purse was calculated, researched, and decided upon with agonizing deliberation.
I don’t know if she ever completed the second purse but I know for sure that she does not have a purse making business. Has this ever happened to you? Have you ever felt that you were at the beginning of a cool new hobby and all of the sudden there was pressure on you to make professional grade works of art in order to fulfill someone else’s expectations? Because, “You should sell that.”
In the way olden days, probably when everything was in black and white and dinosaurs roamed the earth, regular people like you and me had hobbies just for the fun of it! They would collect weird items like postage stamps or make rubber stamp collages or even create lamps out of popsicle sticks.
These same regular people also made pencil holders out of coffee cans and Christmas ornaments out of used spools of thread and napkin holders using one million rubber bands. My childhood was filled with random gifts made by crafty adults who created things just for the joy of creating them. When they had an excess of these creations they sometimes gifted them to small children, the elderly, or invalid relatives and friends.
There was never any expectation of perfection or professional grade quality. If it fell apart, so what? It was free and made with the loving hands of Aunt Dewey. She worked for hours making those slippers with pom-poms on top, all the while thinking of you. Those items became somehow sacred. Every crease, stitch, and pattern was made by that special person who loved you and had you in mind while they were making it.
· Creating something like a pair of moccasins or a new pillow reduces stress. Your attention is focused on one single task requiring lots of other tasks which come together to make something cool. This focused attention becomes meditative. Your mind is not thinking about whatever was causing stress before. Your brain gets a break from a taxing problem and is now accomplishing something awesome.
· When you begin to learn something new, you gain a new sense of identity. You can say to yourself, “I am now a French speaker.” Or, “I am a painter.” Or even, “I make candles.” This is a new dimension to your personality. It gives you something new to talk about and connects you to other individuals who are interested in speaking French, painting, or candle making.
· When you accomplish making a rug or a pair of pot holders, you get to have a feeling of “winning.” Your brain interprets your accomplishment as a milestone and you gain a feeling of confidence. This will assist you in the future during decision making. The work you do now greatly influences your life in the future.
· Your hobbies help you build new relationships. You now have a whole community of ship builders to choose from as friends. Or you get to have potlucks and outings with your new vegan friends. Whatever your hobby, there is a whole community attached to it and those people will be instantly appealing because you already have something interesting in common.
· When all of the above come together, another perk of hobbies is that they help you stay active. You will have conferences to attend, classes, shows, meetups, and the list goes on. You will not remain stagnant. You will engage in activities that you wouldn’t normally know about. With increased activity comes increased joy.
Maybe you are interested in photography. Perhaps you love making wine. You played piano as a child and would love to go back and learn the basics. Your mom always made bread with you and now you want to try it out on your own. You loved to draw when you were little and would love to take an art class now.
Let yourself enjoy these interests without any strings attached. You don’t have to be perfect or professional. This is a hobby. Have absolutely no pre-conceived expectation about how good you will be at the activity. The important point of this is to have a good time and that’s it!
I challenge you to try allowing yourself some pressure-free fun. Is there a craft you have been dying to try or some artistic endeavor you think would be enjoyable? Wouldn’t it be exciting to try it just for the pleasure of doing it?
Take that monkey off your back, remove the albatross from around your neck that says all arts and crafts are for profit. Nonsense. These activities connect us to our heartbeat, our breath, our generosity, our creativity, and our love. Let your hands be busy and your mind satisfied that you created something just for the pure joy of it.
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