Historically my top love language has always been Words Of Affirmation (followed very closely by Quality Time), and as I get older I realize more and more how much the need for this affirmation has gotten me in trouble as far as building self-confidence and being able to give myself recognition/validation for a job well done. This type of validation-craving trouble is something I recently discovered about myself in a creative coaching session, thanks to my customer-turned-professional-mind-blower aka Jean.
I’ll share more about creative coaching later, but my long-story-short-actually-long point I’m trying to make today is about being able to find validation in sources besides social media, or your boss, or a parent, and how having this self-providing ability has made me a stronger, happier, more confident person.
Don’t look to your cat for this validation because it will result in a special type of sociopathic mind game that only a cat can pull off, resulting in polarizing emotions such as: “I AM THE CHOSEN ONE!” followed by a “does my cat actually love me” Google search. Cats, man. I love them so much.
But anyways, I find constant self-validation in knitting which is probably why it’s a hobby I’ve stuck with for longer than 12 days. No one has to tell me I’m good at it, that doesn’t matter. I just do the work and see the results. I conjure up hats and mittens and shawls and sweaters (almost!) with just two sticks and some string and feel the magic of that act. The real alchemy of it! It’s so empowering! I feel this for myself, by myself. No one has to tell me to know it’s true.
Even when I’m learning a new technique and can’t get it right the first time (or the fourth time) it doesn’t matter because I know eventually I’ll get it. Just like how years ago I picked up knitting for the very first time ever and through sweat, tears, and carpal tunnel, taught myself how to make a single row of stitches. And then another. And then another. Each row building upon the last, building my confidence as I went. It didn’t matter if no one else shared my accomplishment or my pride because I held that wonky, hole-y, trapezoidal swatch in my hands as proof. I MADE THIS MAGIC!
I totally blame social media for my regression and how I’ve forgotten how to feel this magic again without a like or a share attached to it. No one is immune to this and it sucks. It wasn’t until the other day when I was sitting outside and a bee landed on my sleeve, wiggling her butt around confused as to why this thing with purple hair, wearing a yellow t-shirt, and smelling like Birch Verbena deodorant didn’t actually have any pollen to share.
And then I looked down at my t-shirt and smiled because I’m proud of the design. I had fun making it and bees are near and dear to my heart. The bee didn’t have to physically say it because *I* knew it was true — Yes I am worthy of pollination!
I felt that little spark of “I HAVE THIS MAGIC!” again and it felt so good. That’s why I love creating art in the first place. Even the art that gets scrapped and no one sees. Even the art that never ends up on a t-shirt or a mug. Even if no one likes it on Instagram. I just love making things and creating things So. Damn. Much. It makes me feel validated and affirmed.
I’m guessing you love making so damn much, too.
So thanks to that little bee who tried to pollinate my arm, sparking this entire ramble and gently reminding me of my “why”. Reminding me it’s my own ability to conjure validation and words of self-affirmation that make me feel most powerful and most magical.
You have this power too, friend.
Let it find you today.