Farewell gift

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This is a simple, quick farewell gift for a friend. It’s a container from a pre-made cappuccino mix, covered with paper, decorated, and personalized. You might not be able to read the near side because of the shadow–it has ‘peace’ and ‘aware’ on it.

Philosophy: Improving personality flaws through crafting

One thing that I find valuable is looking at the deeper implications and consequences of our everyday activities. Since this is a crafting blog, I will be writing about the more philosophical aspects of crafting activities.

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Today I’d like to write about the use of crafting to overcome personality flaws. We all have aspects of our personality that could be improved–despite being unique, beautiful, absolutely perfect snowflakes! In the act of crafting, this improvement often occurs through happenstance. However, this can also be done very deliberately.

Perfectionism and procrastination are two of my personal flaws which I’ve worked on through crafting. I have a tendency to think through projects very thoroughly, then do mock-ups, and then take a while getting the final product just right. Sometimes when things don’t quite end up according to my standards, it is discarded or abandoned. Many times I will drag on my feet on starting or finishing a project — some never to come to fruition at all — because I want it just right. Besides the practical effects of taking an inordinate amount of time on projects, thus reducing my productivity, I believe that this flaw in myself is a false idol. No person, no creation, can ever be perfect — the only one perfect is God, and we certainly cannot do any better than what he has already created!

From this flaw flows the related flaw of not trying new things. Since an awareness of failure is always lurking in the back of my mind, it is a disincentive to branch out and perhaps find an area of arts and crafts that truly delights me and serves others.

Other areas where I can easily see possibilities for self-improvement include developing patience, overcoming selfishness, overcoming reliance on others, developing self-confidence, overcoming excessive shyness, developing humility, or even overcoming false humility. I’m sure there are many, many other aspects of one’s personality which could be influenced through this process.

Though a lot of this does happen naturally as we gain experience and wisdom, it is only when we exercise self-evaluation and awareness that we are able to deliberately, and thus most effectively, work on improving these personality flaws. I could go on happily humming along not getting a prolific amount of projects done, but with each of them produced according to my exacting standards. Or not produced. But I’m sure they wouldn’t have come out well, anyhow.

In noticing this tendency and thought-pattern, I am now actively working on improving it. For example, this week I had a substitute babysitter to watch my children during the mornings while I worked at my full-time job. I had been vaguely thinking about getting or making her a thank-you gift, but when yesterday evening rolled around I hadn’t done anything (procrastinating on starting). The perfectionist in me tried to say, “We haven’t planned anything! It’s way too late to do anything that wouldn’t be too embarrassing!” Knowing that this was my weakness, I decided to make it into a kind of speed challenge. Just get something, anything, done. If it wasn’t perfect, that’s fine–nothing I make is ever perfect, so how would this be any better?

In the end I was pleased with the results. It took much less time than a lot of projects which I would judge as being of equal quality. And I didn’t miss an opportunity to give a personal touch to a helpful friend. I also felt it had a much more whimsical flair than I usually have, and I was surprised by what I came up with — as though I were more truly letting my creativity flow.

Thank you gift for the babysitter this week
(4″ x 6″, medium: wallpaper)

How about you? What personality flaws have you noticed being improved through crafting or other “making” activities? Do you have any ideas for how you can deliberately use this process to your advantage? Please let me know in the comments!