Leave the inner perfectionist at home

One of the first things I tell my beginning knitting classes is that they should be applauded just for choosing to learn something new. So often as adults we gravitate toward doing only things we are good at. Over time this inexorably intensifies any perfectionist tendencies one might have. It also makes us resistant to learning new things.  But learning new things is one of the healthiest choices you can make for your brain, your soul and your outlook.

Word to live by...

Word to live by...

To learn something new you need to have compassion for yourself as you revert, even briefly, to toddler status. In Buddhism, this is known as embracing “beginner mind”. Writers also need to learn how to put the inner editor on the shelf until the creating process is over and the inner editor is required.

So, when I teach knitting, I emphasize that the class is meant to be process oriented not product oriented. What that means is that we focus on learning the correct hand motions and understanding what is happening. Creating a beautiful product comes much later and takes practice.

The good news is that practice is 100% guaranteed to improve your knitting and it is the only way to become a good knitter. So, the inner perfectionist has no role while you are learning to create misshapen, holey and inconsistent fabric. What matters is that you make some of this fabric every day, and that you have fun doing it.