Recently, I decided to take the Enneagram spectrum personality test. It suggested that I am a "type 1" - the reformer, perfectionist, crusader, critic or judge. The more I read about this personality type, the more I am amazed by the accuracy of the assessment. The basic desire of a type 1 is to be good, respectable, and have integrity which results in a never-ending pursuit of improvement in oneself, and the world in general. That's why I have a coach, take classes, read books and articles, ask for critiques, participate in webinars, join groups, listen to podcasts and try to implement everything I learn. The shadow side is that I don't trust myself, don't believe I'm good enough, and constantly look for the answers outside of myself. The pursuit of improvement becomes a hamster wheel. When I was young, I remember wishing there was a manual for life that I could simply read and follow. After college, I wished there was a "track" to becoming a successful artist like we had in school: select the track you want, follow the guidelines for which classes to take and how many credits are needed, and (ta-daaa!) you graduate with that credential. There are choices within the framework but it's simple to know what one needs to do to get to the end result. Naturally, life isn't that simple.
My husband often tells me that I allow too many voices in my head and that I need to listen to my own voice. And while it may be a personality trait, I also think it's the affect of living in the digital age. There is so much information shouting at us at all times from all directions - from our own phones, computers, and televisions to the screens at restaurants, doctor's offices, and even the gas pump. One week I'll search for info on how to build my social media following, the next week I'll focus on adopting the habits of successful people, then I'll talk to other artists about how to improve my paintings, and after all that I break down in confusion because there are so many different opinions and suggestions about these topics and I can't possibly do it all. When I get into the pattern of looking to others for the answers, that's when I become weak, frantic, and grasping. Honestly, the times I've been most successful have been when I've gone within and listened to God or my intuition. When I've followed my instincts and stood firm, that's when things have fallen into place.
This is not to say that I have all the answers. Of course not! I'm learning and growing all the time. But I'm often not as lost and stumbling as I tend to think I am. I'm not perfect, but I'm perfectly me in every moment and I'm worthy of being here living this life. We were each created unique from all others. There's a reason for that. We need to embrace that and trust our own voice to give us guidance.
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