What Painting and Coding Have Taught Me About Self-Acceptance

We have to remember that when we start something new, it’s absolutely necessary to be gentle with ourselves in the process.

Because like learning to walk, ride a bike, or anything else… it’s something we’re not used to, until we’re used to it.

The journey’s only begun and we have more than enough room to grow along the way… if we allow ourselves that grace, that is.I have the instant gratification bug BAD.

When I started investing more time into watercolors, I wanted results NOW.

I wanted to stroke the paint onto the paper and come out with shadows, highlights… a masterpiece, as crazy as it sounds.

Did the same thing with Prismacolor colored pencils too: one stroke and I should be done!

Learning watercolors, and making mistakes I’m learning from.

Learning (especially seeing others’ visual growth) that it takes layers of work to get to the final product, both literally and metaphorically, has been helpful.

Learning this through painting has made me gentler with myself through the bumps I’ve encountered while coding.

And even still, I just embraced and accepted that I need to step back even further and learn about watercolor techniques, color theory, and more before I can create full-blown portraits with more confidence.

The same does for you, with anything you do.

You start, you may or may not understand a concept… so you have to break it down. Eat the elephant (or elephant-sized block of tofu, whatever floats your boat) one bite at a time.

Sometimes that’s a hard pill for me to swallow, but gaining self-awareness and constantly reminding myself that this is only the beginning and part of learning so I can become better really helps.

Plus it’s true. I’m a noob and that’s okay, it’s natural to know nothing when you’re just beginning something.

Beginning is a process. Learning is a process. Appreciate it all and don’t be so hard on yourself.

Think of every new beginning as the first layer you’re putting to canvas. If you make a “mistake” you didn’t imagine for your end result (or whatever you compared your ideal end result to)? Take it as a lesson learned.

Jake the dog said it best:

When we’re fumbling through the beginnings of something new, we need to always remember that even the best started where we currently are.

It’s somewhat a big reason why I wanted to (and finally began to embrace) sharing my journey through the beginnings of things I’m interested in investing in:

  • Painting
  • Drawing
  • Coding
  • Book-writing (slowly, steadily…)

Even cooking much more often when I was a pescatarian years ago taught me cooking and baking techniques that I wouldn’t’ve otherwise learned if I didn’t keep trying when things got messy.

I failed at creating new things to my liking, and tried again after learning from my mistakes.

I now know cornstarch is better than flour if you want crispier foods and sweets, like cookies. I’ve learned that cayenne and paprika are not interchangeable.

I’ve learned the taste of different herbs by trying. And from there, I tried other foods and imagined what would pair well with what.

But I never would’ve known if I didn’t try these foods and herbs to begin with. And even still I make some rank mixing decisions! But I learn from it.

I wouldn’t have learned these things if I didn’t try them for myself, whether I did them “right” or not.

And I hope you remember that too as you start something new that you’re excited about! Start somewhere, it can only go up from there.

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