After a few classes the professor criticized me in front of the whole class. She was frustrated with me and what she described as my negative attitude. She said that it created a harmful atmosphere within the classroom.
I was very hurt and upset. I didn’t respond but I silently vowed never to return. For some reason though, later that evening I called the professor. She was glad that I had called and said that she had been planning to phone me. She apologized profusely for admonishing me in front of the other students. And then she began to explain how my negativity impacted the class.
I listened, and began to understand. I realized that as much as the other students constantly admired their work, I on the other hand spent every moment saying how bad my colors were, and how unhappy I was with my results. I saw that indeed I was minimizing my achievements and also it was interfering with my work. I was getting stuck more and more often. I couldn’t feel the energy in my paintbrush and the paint didn’t flow onto the paper.
My professor urged me to keep on coming to the class. I did go back, and I was very conscious of every word that came out of my mouth. If I felt the need to say something disparaging about my work, I closed my mouth and remained silent.
It seemed like a miraculous occurrence, but my paintings began to blossom into beautiful works of art. I was astounded at what I was creating. I began to use strong vibrant colors, which felt alive to me. I felt happy and accomplished and sometimes even proud of my achievements. I began to use my creativity to self soothe, and often it served to uplift my spirits.
It took one dedicated and caring teacher, and a lot of self- talk for me to be able to voice today that I am a talented artist and I am proud of my success.