Sometimes we just get stuck, bogged down by doubts and perceived taboos.
When I was teaching art privately in my studio many years ago, I regularly heard prospective students say “I don’t know if I have any talent, there aren’t any artists in my family, but I really want to learn.”
I would tell them that I could teach them the skills they would need to be able to paint or draw, but I couldn’t give them the desire to do it, that was what they brought to class.
It seemed amazing to them that I didn’t administer some kind of test to determine if they had the “stuff” to do it, but accepted anyone who had the desire to learn.
This seemed to be a huge mental and emotional shift for them. It felt as though I had given them permission to pursue something they really wanted to do, but their inner voice was casting doubts and making them feel they somehow had to deserve or earn it.
After we spoke they were then able to let their family and friends know very firmly that their art teacher said it was okay if they were the first in their family to learn to draw and paint, that maybe there WERE artists in the family, but they had to stuff their talents down due to disapproval they had received.
On a personal note, I’m taking a beginner Ukrainian class, and this is the 3rd semester that all the class is taking the beginner class. We keep learning and building our skills! This is persistence! We aren’t expecting ourselves to be great right off the bat, we’re giving ourselves the space to learn at our own pace! It isn’t just the learning of new skills happening in the class, but the building of friendships too!
What can happen when we don’t get or give ourselves permission
My first husband was very talented in drawing and when we first met he showed me his artwork. His father, however, was extremely critical of his son drawing, saying “Only gay men can be artists”, and “his son certainly wasn’t gay, so he needed to just STOP this drawing nonsense”. On top of that, his son wanted to become a radio broadcaster. Well, apparently that was only for gay men too, and as previously stated, HIS son wasn’t gay.
My former father-in-law had been extremely critical of his son ever since he had been an infant, and my ex had internalized all the negativity and craved his father’s approval, so guess what he did?
Right! He gave up his dreams of becoming a broadcaster and he stopped creating art.
He was miserable.
He drowned his disappointments and disillusionment in alcohol and drugs, so severely, that a few short years after we had met he had to go into rehab multiple times in order to learn to live a life in a healthier way that didn’t include numbing himself out and slowly killing himself.
I have seen this happen with other people too. Their families mocked them so badly or outright forbade them to pursue their dreams because they went against their inner belief system, that they ended up shoving their anger, pain, grief, and disappointment deep down, then numbed out with drugs or alcohol or both.
This is one of the negative effects of having to stuff dreams down and be denied the opportunity to do what we dream of doing.
Effects on relationships
The other negative effect can be seen in how that person treats their family members who dare to dream. If they themselves couldn’t do it, why should others be given the chance they had to walk away from?
The resentment against other family members or even friends who choose to pursue the same things that were denied to them is powerful and often spills out into the relationship through angry outbursts or behavior.
Since the person stuffed their disappointment and disillusionment down so deeply, it is difficult for them to identify the source of their anger. If they do realize what is making them angry, they won’t admit it because they realize their jealousy sounds petty.
This unhealed pain has often been passed from one generation to another, resulting in wounds that go way back.
Addictions often run in families where dreams have been killed. Unfortunately, there have also been negative bonding through their unspoken pains as well as the culture of heavy drinking or other substance abuse.
(Of course, there are other reasons why families abuse alcohol or drugs, such as sexual or physical abuse, but that is the subject of another post!)
I was an artist well before I met my second husband. I had been raised in my mother’s studio and was trained to be a teacher’s assistant at the age of 15 and by the next year, I was handling entire classes and then 1 of her 3 studios.
Even though I had all that experience, my first husband had difficulty accepting that I was “allowed” to be creative and make art, while he couldn’t. The mental block was too enormous for him to navigate around, so he poured his energies into appreciating music, which was acceptable to his father.
Giving ourselves permission can be radical, even rebellious!
Giving ourselves permission to go against the grain or the expectations is one of the things people can find to be very difficult to do, for it seems to test family loyalties on a deep level.
The guilt people feel over going against the expressed or implied wishes of the family can and has been a deterrent for many people, creating huge doubts inside of themselves.
This brings up deep soul questions:
- What if they aren’t even “good” at what they want to do?
- Would the ridicule they would have to endure be worth it?
- Do they have the inner strength to stand up to their family and deal with the negative backlash for just trying?
- If they aren’t “good” at what they really want to do, can they continue in order to improve, or would this shut them down?
- Can they just do it for the pure enjoyment of it, and not worry about making their living from it?
These are all valid questions.
The only way to explore one’s dreams is to push through these questions, and give it a try anyway, otherwise, the alternative is to stuff the dreams way down in a deep hidden place and continue the generational angry disillusionments.
If you are at this point, what will you choose to do?
If you choose to give yourself permission to explore your dream, you will need to look at all the doubts and inner questions, and know that they mostly get resolved by DOING.
You probably will experience a period of time where people are questioning any talents they feel you may or may not have, but remember what I told my prospective students: you can learn all the skills you need through classes and teaching materials, but the desire and the motivation need to come from you!
If you have this desire and the motivation, why not give it a try?
You don’t even have to tell anyone in the beginning! You don’t have to make a life-changing move into full-time studies to lead to a job!
You can take a class or a workshop to see how it feels! You can do this part-time, as a hobby!
You don’t need to make a life-changing decision at this time! It’s okay to start small and to start slowly!
What would happen if you gave yourself permission?
I hope you’ll poke around my Archived Posts to find a wonderful trove of supportive and encouraging posts! Don’t forget to Like, Comment, and Follow my blog! If you want to become a Guest writer, please contact me and we’ll work out the details!
I’m sharing more posts that may be helpful for you:
- 10 Steps to Owning Our Happiness
- Setting “Boundaries with consequences”
- Making a change… “How do I take that first step?”
- Affirmation: Today is a new day! I can do this!
- As we practice being gentle and kind with ourselves, we actually help to speed the process of helping our lives become more positive!
- Always believe that wonderful things can happen!
- A healthy outside starts from the inside!
- Brain Rewiring
More good stuff:
- Teaching ourselves to like, even to love ourselves
- By changing our inner dialogue, we change EVERYTHING!
- Challenge: When a negative thought enters your mind, think three positive ones. Train yourself to flip the script!
- Red Ocean or Blue Ocean? How do you think?
- An answer to dealing with the Inner Critic!
- My top 10 most viewed posts, plus a few bonuses!
- A helpful trick to be able to overcome negatively Comparing Ourselves to others…
- Do you only accept yourself if you look a certain way?
- A new you! Is this possible?
- Start today, start tomorrow, just start!
- There is no enlightenment outside of daily life – Thich Nhat Hanh
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