Have you ever watched a movie, sat in horror or just sheer irritation as you witness one character (generally a parent or a lover) verbally abuse their child or partner? And as you are watching you begin to judge that character thinking, “Gosh, they are wrong. I would never talk to my child like that.”
The scene ends, the couple or family members come to some peaceful ground, and then the movie ends.
“We cruelly victimize our art. Art’s greatest victimizer is often the one who created it.”
The movie ends but the hypocrisy continues.
In the Book of Matthew 7:5, Jesus says “You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.“
You are probably wondering, what in the world does a scene from a movie and teaching from Jesus have to do with art. They have everything to do with art, even if indirectly.
We as artist and writers have a tendency to look at our creations the same way the harsh parent or the cruel lover in the movie look at their child and partner.
We, like these characters, look at our creations (children born from us, lovers grown through intimacy and time) with unreasonable scrutiny, judging it with irrational standards.
One minute we are in love with what we have done, staring at it with admiration. The next we are setting it ablaze or trying to hide it from world’s view because of some “issue” that we have convinced ourselves is there.
We cruelly victimize our art. Art’s greatest victimizer is often the one who created it.
The fact of the matter is, this criticism of our creations is spelled out in the verse in the Gospel of Matthew. We subconsciously or consciously, have an issue with our self and the displeasure with ‘self’ becomes an attack upon our creative works. We don’t deal with our ‘planks’ so we burn up the splinters in our work.
“…if we can’t celebrate our growth, then what is the point of growing at all?”
Now, I know Christ Jesus wasn’t necessarily talking about how we treat our works of art when He said this, but the truth of the matter is, we cannot truly be kind to others if we are not kind to ourselves. We cannot love others if we cannot love ourselves, and this is the same for our art.
I had to call myself out on this a while ago when I nearly destroyed all the work I had put into one of my novels.
Let us, as artists, writers, parents, and lovers, come to a place of self-love and appreciation. Let us realize we are good enough even if we still have room to grow, and thus our creations are good enough even though they have room to grow.
Art and expression are about the journey. It is about telling the story in truth and authenticity from where we currently are. This should never be victimized, but always celebrated. After all, if we can’t celebrate our growth, then what is the point of growing at all?
~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!
*This was originally posted on November 4th, 2014.