What Comes Naturally

What comes naturally is a funny thing.  Normally I think going outside one’s comfort zone is a good idea.  However, sometimes it is better to forget the comfort zone and just do things your way.  My recent bedroom makeover project has reminded me of what comes naturally and what is tedious for me.   I was talking to my Mom about my project and told her decorating is not my thing…and it likely never will be.  She said, “It is not where your passion lies.”  Bingo!  I like the final product yet the process is like trudging through quicksand. My Mom has pointed out that I never get past the paint and she is right.  I have been known to start projects like this and let them fall by the wayside.  I have never felt I have a strong eye for coordination and combinations of fabric, furniture, color, accessories.  I have a really hard time visualizing what furniture looks like in my space based on a picture in a catalog or online.  I never seem to find exactly what I want.  A lack of confidence in my ability to decorate and design, amps up my “it has to be perfect or I cannot move forward with it” mode.  My eye is better suited for spying the best pastry or figuring out the best recipe for chocolate chip cookies. Shopping for furniture and paint colors makes me wish one of those TV home shows would show up on my doorstep and get to work.

I realized a few years ago more success comes from focusing on what comes naturally.  Doing anything that highlights a weakness can prove to be frustrating and discouraging. It reminds me of high school sports – there is always one kid who joins the team because his/her parents forced the issue.  In reality that kid really would rather be studying chemistry or dancing or playing video games.  I think most people know the feeling of having to do something that is of little interest while feeling some obligation to keep plugging along.  When I work on something that falls outside of my strengths, I have a sense of discomfort and stress that drives me to overcompensate by trying to perfect every element.  I find my perfectionism paralyzes me in my effort to make progress because everything has to be, well, perfect!

A few years ago, I was laboring over a spreadsheet for a contract negotiation with a client.  I was trying to understand every last rounding scenario to calculate things down the decimal place.  One of my colleagues was waiting for me to deliver the spreadsheet and stopped by my cubicle.  He said, “You are STILL working on that thing?  Your perfectionism is driving me crazy!”   I sat back and looked at what I was doing and understood his point.  I was belaboring minute details that were really of little importance and realized it was pointless to try be so meticulous and perfect in the exercise.  I decided I am better off accepting negligible rounding differences and keeping things simple.  It turned out to make my life easier!

I had the same epiphany with my bedroom project.  I had to stop trying to find the perfect everything to get my project rolling.  To make progress, I had no choice but to just make decisions even if I was not 100% certain about my selections.  I picked a paint color after a year of talking about it, yes a year. I forced myself to sit at the paint store till I found options I liked – I think I spent 2 hours looking at paint chips. I never previously considered that I can pick a color and paint over it if necessary (newsflash, paint is not permanent). I was also over-thinking night stands.  My old nightstands were in great need of replacement yet I could not visualize what new ones would look like in my room. To that end, I was unable to find the PERFECT nightstands.  I decided to simplify and bought interim night stands to help me better visualize.  I had to break my own patterns to keep my project moving forward.  Visualizing the final “style” of my bedroom has been too difficult for me so I opted to work on it piece by piece.  I have been asking for help and advice when I needed it. I focus on one thing per week.  I did wall art last week, this week I have been shopping for bedding.  I am not sure what I will focus on next week but piecemeal has helped formulate my vision. I am doing it my way because any other way just gives me angst and self induced pressure to do things perfectly.

In my round about long winded way, what I have been learning is, we all have to find our way of doing things.  Rather than getting caught up in the way something “should” be done, it is likely more beneficial to figure out an approach that comes naturally and with ease.  Why force a square peg into a round hole? Why follow someone else’s rules and why obligate yourself to anything?  Work within your means, ask for help when in need of assistance or advice, and use a process that gets you to your desired result.  

Thank you for reading this blog!


  1. Molly Maurer says:

    Have you met Suzi Sullivan?? I think the only reason Birnie was willing to paint her house last summer was because she did not change any colors! She just takes too long to pick colors.

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