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Just start somewhere

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Inspiration? Cue epic crafting montage! Song ends and, with just a few pipe cleaners and a bucket of glitter you will have… a ton of mess. How do they make it look so easy?

Often people forget that successfully learning something new requires patience, time, quality tools and a good teacher. Not that you need all those things as a precondition to learn- you can pick them up along the way. You can just start somewhere.

It can be disheartening to realise that you aren’t an instant Frida or a secret Mozart – and some people give up at this point. This is less likely if you activate your Mesolithic Dopamine pathways (success criteria/ achievable learning goals) and accountability loops (checking in with a mentor/ social practice, due dates) and if you practise a bit of self-compassion.

Self compassion when learning a new craft can look like: allowing yourself to make mistakes without negative self talk or anger. Letting yourself walk away from a mess to make a cup of tea or have a nap. Doing something else for a bit then coming back to it. Starting again. Allowing mistakes to just exist within your work without undoing or redoing it. Asking for help without apology. Saying: I tried my best. Acknowledging any growth: not just big achievements.

I’ve been a learner and a teacher for many years and I’m proud of what I’ve learnt and the skills and knowledge I’ve attained. But I think the feedback I received yesterday at the end of my beginner knitting workshop, about the gentle way I help people to understand themselves as learners and treat themselves with self compassion during my classes was one my proudest moments.