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Do what makes you happy!

Updated: Apr 16, 2023

For the longest time, I believed the falsehood that I was not good enough to draw and paint. And this is despite earning the moniker of ‘artist of the class’ during my primary school days. Everyone else around me could see my obvious talent but I didn’t allow myself to believe that I was any good, a belief reinforced by my Asian upbringing where any activity that was not directly linked to securing a traditional white-collar job, was not worth the time, effort or money it took to nurture a raw talent.

As a result, I supressed my desire to draw and paint as I went through high school, university and entered the world of work in a corporate environment. Nevertheless, the urge was strong enough to not allow the spark to die out completely and I found myself taking part in cartoon caricature competitions, life-drawing classes and occasionally taking on commissions for private pencil portraits of humans and animals.

Every time I made the effort to draw/paint, my eyes would light up and my heart would sing. Irrespective of how the drawing/painting turned out, the very act of putting my pencil/paintbrush to paper/canvas gave me an almost ‘childlike joy’ that didn’t need to make logical or monetary sense.

Expressing myself through my drawings and paintings was stimulating, cathartic and joyful – it was obvious that it was something I loved doing; so why was it so difficult to allow myself to do it often and regularly?

The simple answer was because of my unconscious conditioning that it was really a pointless, fruitless thing to do; and any attempt to make time to do it was more of a ‘sinful indulgence’ which would come at a price of neglecting things that were considered ‘more important’ according to society conditions, for e.g. working longer hours, preparing lunch boxes, chauffeuring the children to nursery/school, preparing balanced home-cooked meals….these were there things that really mattered and what real life was all about – being a ‘responsible’ adult – anything outside that remit was automatically labelled ‘irresponsible and reckless’.

Cue for strong feelings of guilt.

I’m sure many will resonate – doing what you love will be different for everyone. For me it is expressing myself through my art irrespective of whether that takes the form of writing, drawing, singing, stage-acting or painting; for others it might be baking, running, swimming, sailing or dancing. The key here is denying yourself the opportunity to do what you love to do. Is that the story of your life?

We all tell ourselves that it’s a hobby that we will, one day, find time to indulge in….but for now, real life takes precedence.

Well, you know what? Hobbies have been scientifically proven to improve your sense of well-being and happiness. So, stop coming up with creative reasons to ignore your hobbies....instead, find the courage to carve out time to do the things you love, direct your energy into rediscovering the joy you feel every time you ‘indulge’ in doing something you truly love.

In doing so, you open the door to opportunities that would’ve been previously hidden from you; paving the way for you to explore possibilities with joy and wonder - enabling yourself to exist in a state of positivity, curiosity and growth.

Look at what I’ve created since taking the decision, almost 5 months ago, to be brave and open my heart to exploring my passion to paint.

I think it’s pretty awesome and the sheer happiness and utter joy my paintings have filled me with is absolutely priceless.

If I can do it, so can you…so why not give your hobby a real chance of filling you with joy?

Love, light & blessings,

Gloria Rose Vivian

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