Saturday, April 30, 2011

Expectations vs Reality

First of all, Hi Everyone!  I'm so sorry it's been so long since I've posted.  It's been a very crazy time for me but I'm hopeful things have settled down to the point that I can start finding time for things like blogging!

Which leads me to the topic of this post...

Whew!  Who hasn't had a problem with high expectations meeting reality?  It's one of the more difficult things to work through.  The hardest part is finding the happy medium between having really high expectations and expectations that are so low that it becomes a "why bother?" situation.

Those of us who've had our share of reality "smackdowns" know that what is real is real and no amount of wishing can change it.  It's how we react to the realities of life that decide the quality of our lives.

Many quilters suffer from high expectations.  We select a pattern, buy fabric, put all the effort into a quilt that we expect to be a masterpiece, (heck if we're putting that much effort into it, why not?), only to have our "baby" not make the cut in a juried show, or get dissed at a guild meeting, or worst of all, not be appreciated by our family and friends.

It hurts to have one's work torn apart, but it hurts more if we have too much invested in it emotionally.  It's easy to fantasize that the quilt you're working on will end up on the cover of a magazine, but is that realistic?  How many quilting magazines are there, and how many total issues a year, and how many million quilters?  Let's face it, the odds aren't in our favor. 

But is that why we quilt?  To be recognized, to have our quilts praised, to reach some kind of exalted place in the world of quilting?  I don't think most of us do it for those reasons.  We do it because we love it, and because it makes us happy.

As an artist I've struggled with people not liking my work.  I've endured criticism about my color choices by people I know are colorblind, comments about my sewing skills by people who can't sew on a button, and disparaging remarks by other quilters who are just plain mean.  It comes with the territory.  When you put yourself out there it isn't going to be all roses and lollipops, there are going to be those that don't like your work or who don't like you and there's not a lot you can do about it.

Lately I've been involved in a business venture where I've been creating multiple graphic designs.  I love them all but my partner has his favorites and we don't always see eye to eye.  At first I was a little sensitive about it, but that's emotional me feeling that way.  Business me knows better.  Everything I do is not going to be loved by everyone and the thing I like least may be the thing others like most.  It's one of those things!

So, it's OK to have high expectations just make sure they're ones you can control.  That means make your expectations about something you do, about how much you're going to enjoy making your quilt, and about how much you're going to learn making it, and about how happy you're going to feel when it's done.  Then if it doesn't make the cover of a magazine you've still fulfilled your expectations for it.  And if it does, nothing but gravy!

Happy Stitching!



Deb said...

Excellent advice!! I was recently thinking how I have never won a ribbon at a quilt show and am not sure if I ever will. But, that's not why I quilt. I LOVE the process and the end result. Hopefully, others do too, but mostly I do it for me.

Deb from

Marié said...

Thanks Susan, Critisism is hard to take but as you said even harder when one had the high expectations. But so life is shaping me!