Giving Yourself Permission to be a Beginner

Giving yourself permission to become a beginner is quite hard at times. When we become too accustomed to our ways of doing things in a certain way, we feel a little unsafe when we think about taking on a new adventure, some kind of risk even if that’s just learning to draw for example. We start expecting and demanding too much of our fragile selves and when there comes a time where we have to make mistakes in order to learn something new, it becomes really hard to give our selves that permission to go out there, make those mistakes and learn.

I wanted to paint ever since I was a little child and I didn’t pick up that paintbrush until very recently (I shared my thoughts on picking up that paintbrush after years here) as I was super scared of what might come out of it. I might end up embarrassing myself and I might not be able to fulfill my very own expectations. I wanted to be good, skillful and know what I would be doing. That’s the thing with painting, you can’t know for sure. Even in art schools, it’s not taught how you should be doing it but instead, you are supposed to find a way yourself and figure out what motivates you, what inspires you and what and how you’d like to express that in your own messy way. It is a messy process and you have to be okay with it being messy and being okay with learning as you go.

I was not okay with my artwork not coming out as perfectly as it was in my head on the paper. I felt disappointed and at times and thought maybe this is not for me. Maybe this discrepancy between my vision and the outcome is supposed to show how I almost suck at this. But then I came across, ‘The Gap: An Inspirational Video About How All Artists Struggle in the Beginning’ that explains perfectly how all artists struggle in the beginning and how there exists a gap, a gap between where you want to see yourself as a creator and where you are when you first start. That gap exists for every single artist and everyone struggles with it. That gap fills in with you trying to fill it up by not quitting on your dreams and by keep practicing your craft and making things happen.

Lessons I learned

Giving yourself permission is the first step.

Giving yourself permission to be bad and a beginner at something is the first step. Realizing that will make the upcoming time and decisions much easier.

The more you hate being in the beginner stage the more it takes to get out of that beginner stage. 

The more you try to avoid it the more it becomes bigger and bigger for you. The more you try to resist it the more it becomes harder to overcome. Becoming okay with the fact that you are going to start somewhere and allowing yourself to be bad at that craft, accepting that it is a part of the process and giving yourself permission to become a beginner is going to help you get to the other stage.

It takes time and practice.

To get out of that beginner stage and become better at your craft you have to give it your time including the time to making mistakes and figuring things out and then hell a lot of practice which again demands time and commitment on your part.

Let yourself fall in love with the process.

Let yourself enjoy the process instead of beating yourself up with a stick for not having it perfect or for not having all the answers as the truth is, you might always be struggling with something, you might won’t have all the answers right in front of you. You don’t have to obsess over this rather try to be gentle with yourself and start showing up for yourself as much as you can today so your future self will thank you for taking the steps you took despite feeling uncertain.

Embrace the trial and error.

It might work and it might not and that’s okay too. You always learn something as an outcome in hindsight. Nothing is ever a waste. It might look like failure to you but it is not.

Do you find it hard to give yourself permission to be a beginner? If so, how do you deal with it and keep moving forward?

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  • Wonderful post.. I struggle with this as well and always have self-doubt unless it’s perfect. But in the end, so many great discoveries can be made in the process and even what are originally mistakes can end up resulting in something wonderful.

  • This is all really solid advice for getting over the anxiety of being a beginner. I think falling in love with the process is a beautiful one that is crucial for jobs, play, relationships…really everything in life!