Releasing Myself From The Judgement of Others (and myself)

Art is practice. Creativity is practice. It’s not about right or wrong or good or bad.

It’s about showing up day in and day out.

It’s about remaining open to all the infinite possibilities.

It’s about being curious.


I’ve always felt a little weird about the pretty things I make.

What will others think?

Is it good enough?

What if she hates it?

Why bother? You’re not that good anyway…

And so much blah, blah, boring blah.

Silly me. I listened to this horse hooey in my head.

And so I hid my creativity. Or I pursued creative projects when no one was looking. I remember making loads of baby blankets about 16 years ago due to a small baby boom among people I knew at work.

Critical voices played with my own self-doubt. I questioned whether or not I was creative or if what I crocheted was embarrassing. I doubted my ability to write or snap a halfway decent photograph of a sunset.

Echos from the past that crop up from time to time aren’t anyone’s issue but my own.

My self-doubt flew in the face of factual evidence. My judge and jury ran amok and stomped all over my desire to create.

And it took me years to release my self-doubt. And quiet the voices in my past.

I began by taking the words of Anne  Lamont to heart,

“it’s a shitty first draft.”

I embraced the wise words of Andy Warhol,

“Don’t think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.”

I calmed my self-doubt and inner judge by convincing her that writing and painting and crocheting are all just one big experiment.

Art is practice. Creativity is practice. It’s not about right or wrong or good or bad.

It’s about showing up day in and day out.

It’s about remaining open to all the infinite possibilities.

It’s about being curious.

And the more I practice, the better I get.


The other morning, I received this email from a woman who was gifted a hat and scarf set that I made:

“Dear Peggy,

I am the fortunate recipient of a hat and scarf “crocheted with love” by you. My niece Colleen gave me a set for Christmas. You do very fine work and since it is done with love I just know it will be a very welcome addition to my outdoor gear during this coming winter weather.”


I also received a message from my niece letting me know that her oldest daughter went to bed wearing the messy bun hat I made and gave to her for Christmas.

My friend, Tae Lynn, who bought one of my paintings shared it with the world on Facebook.

I’ve been commissioned to crochet a blanket.

And I’ll be adding more inventory to my Etsy shop – cowls, infinity scarves, messy bun and pony tail hats, and regular hats that are closed at the top.

So to the voices in my head who told me I sucked, meh. I’m over it. There’s way too much evidence that proves I don’t suck.

And to the me who believed my inner critic, thank you for finally releasing the bull shit. Because that’s what it is. It’s my own mind cacka. It doesn’t matter what someone else said. It’s not the critic who counts – even the internal critic! It’s about me getting out of my own way, getting out of my own head game.

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
~ President Theodore Roosevelt

You can bet your arse I’ll be daring greatly and getting out of my own way.

I’m releasing myself from the bondage of judgment – yours, mine (mostly mine), and everyone else.

2017 is going to be one hell of an uncomplicated and creative year.

What are you leaving behind in 2016?


Author: Peggy Nolan

Writer. Quote Junkie. Photographer. Yogini. Black Belt.

16 thoughts on “Releasing Myself From The Judgement of Others (and myself)”

  1. I relate to this too well, Peggy. In 2003, when I was going through cancer treatments, I wrote email updates and sent them to friends and family, both mine and my then husband’s. So, of course, he saw all of them. I always wrote them with a touch of humor, well after each round of treatment when i was feeling better. By the time I was nearing the end of treatment I was experiencing fewer side effects and wrote less often. I told my readers I was probably going to quit writing and they protested. This reaction caused me to consider writing a book about my journey. When I mentioned this to my husband (a wannabe author) he dissed the idea telling me there were lots of such books on the subject. Why I listened, I still don’t know.

  2. BRAVA! It’s been a joy to watch your artist-self come into even greater creative expression this year. Your message is Universal so I appreciate seeing it show up here. I say that as the good Catholic sisters in 7th grade criticized my art project so harshly that I stopped painting and drawing. It wasn’t until my 30s when I found making and leading VisionMap workshops as my shadow artist expression. Even then the work, my work was criticized. This was BEFORE the Secret and about the power of creating vision boards.

    The project was tearing pieces of construction paper to assemble in a collage and then drawing images or symbols INSIDE the forms. I chose to draw OUTSIDE the BOX. Seems I started early!

    1. Thank you Lore! I’ve been living inside the egg for too long…time to break the shell 🙂 I’m loving it and I’m realizing that the only holding me back has been me all along. xxoo

  3. I thank God every day for Anne Lamont and Liz Gilbert who taught me that showing up is the first and biggest step. Everything after that are just details. I quoted you last night on a conference call: “I’m taking a page from Peggy Nolan … I write stuff.” And that, truly, is all that matters. Blessings!

  4. Peggy, I think we all feel this way when learning something new or exposing something we love to others. Andy Warhol had it right and look where it took him! Just get it done, enjoy creating and keep on keeping on! XO

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