Do you talk to yourself the way you talk to someone you love?

Here’s why I ask…

Over a year ago, I found a company named Let’s Make Art. They teach watercolor and art journaling to adults and also have a kid’s program.

While looking for hand lettering and modern calligraphy tutorials, I found this awesome company based in Hamilton, Missouri. I explored their lettering tutorials but was pulled in by their watercolor tutorials as a way to compliment my modern calligraphy.

At the time, every week they did a live paint along with a couple of people in the studio with Sarah Cray, the co-founder of Let’s Make Art and watercolor artist. Since then, there is not a live paint along every week.

They still offer weekly tutorials on YouTube and their website. Have I mentioned the tutorials are free? fun? and so helpful to learning watercolor?

Why am I going on and on about Let’s Make Art?

Before I tell you, let me point out great leadership.

The weekly live paint along on YouTube and Facebook were a hit with the watercolor community.

But, Sarah had to make a difficult decision. As she explained to the Let’s Make Art community, she recognized the importance of family time and the challenges of being gone one night a week from family. Expecting her third child, she recognized something needed to change. That’s leadership!

Everyone loved the live paint along, but it was not great for her family or the other individuals and their families at Let’s Make Art. So they adapted. Again, that’s leadership! And guess what? Their community continued to grow.

So why am I telling you about Let’s Make Art? You may not have any interest in art. But, you might before the end of this post. Here’s why.

First, they taught me how to paint with watercolor. I can’t draw a straight line with a Crayola marker and she taught me how to paint.

Second, they’ve been my sanity through COVID-19. Need a little of that, my friends?

Third, and most importantly, before any watercolor tutorial begins, Sarah leads an oath. Yes, you’re invited to raise your right hand! 

The Oath

Here’s the oath:

I promise to be kind to myself.

I promise to NOT compare my work.

I promise to have fun.

After hearing that oath almost weekly over the past year, and facilitating Brene Brown’s Dare to Lead curriculum, I recognize how much those first two statements were NOT happening in my daily life.

Here’s how I may have talked to myself over a year ago:

“That looks horrible.”

“Are you in elementary school?”

“Can you draw anything?”

“Are you trying to do abstract art, cause I’m not sure WHAT that is.”

Would You Say that To Someone You Love?

Here’s the thing, none of these things are things I would say to anyone, let alone to people I love. I’d encourage them. There would be reminders to have fun, to enjoy the process. I’d tell them not to compare day 1 to year 15+ for someone else. Practicing self-compassion is not selfish, friends.

You’d also hear me ask them to tell me why they started. I’d listen as I invited them to share with me what they were hoping to achieve. I’d be the coach that I am. After all, if they really do want their art to hang on gallery and museum walls, we’ll work toward that goal too.

In the end, what I wanted was something that was fun and outside of my day to day work. I wanted to keep my hands busy with a creative process, to learn and to grow. 

What ended up happening, in addition to all of the above, is I came to recognize the ways I was NOT being kind to myself, I was NOT talking to myself the way I talk to people I love, and I WAS comparing my work. I was NOT practicing self-compassion.

There was plenty of fun in the midst of it all. It’s hard to hang out with the triple threat at Let’s Make Art and not laugh.

Sarah, Nicole, Jesse, Keenan and the whole team at Let’s Make Art, thank you for modeling kindness and self-compassion, two attributes of courageous leadership I teach about, coach others on, and needed to learn better myself.

Self-Care and Self-Compassion Matter

It’s Tuesday when this post goes live. Many of you are working. Others are multi-tasking while teaching kids and working from home. Some of you are caring for loved ones. And others are worried about sick loved ones.

I hope, throughout this week, you pause and create something with family or friends. It might not be art. It might not even be something physical. Perhaps, what you’ll create is a memory. Whatever you’re doing (or not doing today – ‘cause it’s ok to rest, too) raise your right hand and repeat after me:

I promise to be kind to myself.

I promise NOT to compare my work.

I promise to have fun. 

Thanks, Sarah Cray and Let’s Make Art for modeling self-compassion and kindness that I try to teach with Dare to Lead. 

Now, let me know below: What are you doing or not doing today to practice self-compassion and kindness?

Mentioned in this Post

Let’s Make Art website

Let’s Make Art YouTube Channel

Sarah Cray’s Website