on quieting the voices

anne lamott is one of my heroes.  a novelist, essayist, teacher, and public speaker-- she speaks of life in a way that celebrates the ups-- and yet fully recognizes the downs-- of daily life with humor and sentiment and honesty.  i like all of that.

in 'bird by bird: some instructions on writing and life', one of the things that lamott writes about is how to find ways to quiet all the voices of criticism that exist in our heads.  she writes, 'perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor'-- and that in order to move forward with whatever our project is (she, of course, is talking about writing), we really have to shut those voices up!

she suggests imagining putting those voices of perfectionism into a jar-- and screwing the lid down tight-- to allow space for our own creative process.  put away the your own self-critical voice, the voices of your imagined-critical family, of your former friends or romantic partners, of past teachers who you felt never understood you-- any voice that you allow in that is suggesting that you cannot do whatever it is you are attempting to do.

and then, lamott says, screw that lid down tight.

i agree--


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