…building a creative business: building yourself

Do you ever feel like you are minding your own business, raising your kids, striving for peace and friendships and harmony when BAM! In the middle of the clear blue something happens to completely knock you down to the ground? You feel a sense of embarrassment or shame because here you were walking tall and thinking everything was just fine.

Anxiety is something that I struggle with every single day. I usually look around and try to predict the things that may make me fall or trip me. I try to save myself ahead of time. Are you like this too? Seems pretty reasonable since we all know what it’s like to get hurt. It sucks.

Then there are moments when we can’t schedule our pain. The pain is real and bigger than us and even breathing through it, taking a bath, and resting are just not enough. If you struggle with anxiety you know that it is as large as an ocean that can just cover you, sweep you out to the deep and somehow you have to find your way back to the shore.

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I have no real advice for you, but I have learned a few things about anxiety. We can’t stop the sea from coming. We can’t stop the critical comment from our mothers or friends or the person in the grocery store. Wish we could. But, we can acknowledge why it hurts so much. We can say to ourselves, “Ouch. That hurt because it was associated with a really, really painful memory. I am now going to comfort that part of myself that got so upset by it.”

Maybe you’ve felt something like this…

Ouch. You just walked by my pieces.”

“Ouch. You didn’t invite me to be a vendor in your shop.”

“Ouch. Someone else can do this way better than I can.”

“Ouch. My mother just walked right by that dresser in the middle of that living room without saying a darn word.”

We don’t have to respond directly to the offender to make ourselves feel better. We have the ability to respond to ourselves; the part of ourselves that is smaller and was triggered. We can talk kindly to this part saying something like this,

“I am so sorry, Self, that those things made you want to crawl under your bed and quit. I’m so sorry that you had some really bad memories that made dealing with your business difficult today. I’m so sorry that you made yourself crazy trying to protect yourself from this pain and it still happened. You are right. It is hard.”

The hope is that if we do this enough we will not be so affected by these triggers. The hope is that we see these people and comments from our peripheral and they won’t be a speed bump in our lives.

We can’t stop the sea from coming, but we can build stronger muscles and learn how to swim.



  1. LESLIE NORRIS says:

    WOW WOW WOW….HIT THE NAIL ON THE HEAD…..Thanks so much!!

  2. Thanks, Christen! I struggle also with anxiety, and recently depression. Painting is a huge joy for me! Also, love reading your blogs and seeing your work! You are very inspiring!

  3. I understand exactly what this is. Affirmation is what I look for when I paint. When that family member passes over or doesn’t like verbally then the anxiety flares up to a point that all my pieces are no good. I start changing knobs, buying other colors and hoping that will please them but then I realize it’s about pleasing me!!!! So I have taken the attitude of telling myself my pieces “LOOK GOOD”. I’m painting for me and what I like. And that’s what I have to remember. Is the “I”……
    I follow you often and use some of your ides when it comes to certain pieces that I buy to re paint. You have awesome taste and wish I could meet you in person to get some one on one advice.
    I hope you have a glorious day and the sun shines down upon your face and brings a smile and since of wonderfulness to your soul!

  4. Thanks so much Christen! Struggling with anxiety is a part of daily life for me. Much of what you wrote applies to my daily life. I had to make a major life change 2 years ago which brought me to Maryland. Unable to live my dream of upcycling furniture I am trying to find something that inspires me, lifts me up if you will, as much as ‘junkin’ did. My ‘fork stuck in the road (Green Day), if you will. Thank you for the inspiration!!

  5. One of life’s mysteries, why toxicity seems take hold in some people permanently. Very hurtful. Thank goodness we can vent and move on to try and cope. Love your work, love your blog!!

  6. frenchfarmhouseliving.blogspot.com says:

    Anxiety strikes so many people but no one walks around with it posted on their forehead. So people suffer in silence. When really… it is so common. CBT is one of the best treatment models for anxiety. Even little bits and pieces of it can help!! My favorite are the 3 C’s… Catch, Check, Change. Catch your negative thought, check to see if it’s accurate or if you are distorting your thinking {look for evidence in your past experiences} and then change your thinking to more accurate thoughts. It takes a lot of work and practice, but the results are worth it if it helps!

  7. Beautifully written! I can relate to everything you have said all too well. Thank you for taking the time to continue to inspire and motivate us in all that you do! You have definitely ignited a spark in me…Thank you!!

  8. Most people are not very honest about having anxiety and thank you for sharing about your journey. I too am a fellow survivor of painful memories. Don’t be afraid to confront them. It gets easier with time so that the waves of the sea turn into ripples.. And you will reap so much wisdom about yourself and others that you will better navigate the waters of uncertainty. It takes real courage to be as honest and open as you are! I love painting furniture too and it is my therapy that helps me to see that I have the power to change the outcome of things and make it better.And the biggest comfort of all is knowing you can give all of your fears to God. He blessed you with a beautiful gift!

  9. I see all of this as a time to grow and mature, although it is not easy. Being from So CA…we grab a surf board and ride into shore! Life’s
    lessons are not for the faint of heart!!


  10. I’ve struggled with anxiety on and off and learned when a bad attack would be coming on. I also discovered that meditation worked better for me than medication as i was not able to release when i was medicated my body broke out in crazy hives…that anxiety was going to get out one way or another! I so appreciate you sharing. you are brave and you love to paint…soo much to like about you!! Hang in there is so much joy you bring to complete strangers like me :} I love to write poetry and paint as well brings me serenity.

  11. yes..you get me!! thanks for making a complete stranger {me}not feel so weird and alone. thanks for painting and posting such fun videos. I meditate when i get crazy creative..helps me relax.. even though my friends think that i just enjoy being a crazy refurbishing tomboy :}

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