Be Kind – We’re All On A DIY Learning Curve

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There are days I sit in front of my computer soaking up as much information as I can possibly stand, all in an attempt to avoid making mistakes when publishing my ideas.

DIY projects, especially of the “natural” persuasion, are intimidating by nature. Add to that tens of thousands of people from all walks of life reading the information the second I click “Publish” and you start to imagine how much care must be taken.

The longer I work at this DIY Natural business, the more I realize that I have a lot to learn.

Seeing all of the knowledge that others have, and the millions, billions, or quadrillions of books and articles I would have to read to know it all – well, it just makes me a little weary. Some days I feel I can’t muster up enough brain power to spit out a decent article. Okay, maybe I’m being dramatic, but one thing’s for sure: the more DIY-ing I do, the more it humbles me.

All because of a little thing I like to call the DIY Learning Curve.

Humble Pie

These past few months I have been challenged and humbled more times than I can count. And sometimes by some not-so-nice people. You may be surprised to hear it, but I’m still learning too. Aren’t we all?

We’re all on our own journey. We all move at a different speed. My journey is one to inspire others, to find ways to create things myself, to learn, and live a more natural, chemical-free lifestyle.

And my journey is just beginning.

I’ve had to eat my (published) words, admit that I don’t know things, make corrections on articles, and spend hours researching one tiny little fact to respond to just one of the many questions we get each day.

Believe me, it’s all very humbling. I felt like I knew nothing at my last job. (The job for which I had nine years experience and six years in college!) I thought writing about DIY projects would be easy peasy. But alas… it ain’t so.

It would be one thing if we were throwing together DIY products with the cheapest Wal-Mart ingredients possible. But a website with “Natural” in its URL is faced with a deeper set of questions. Stuff like… Is Borax really natural? Can I substitute castile soap in this recipe? What are the health risks of using isopropyl rubbing alcohol? So I research on… seeking the knowledge.

In order to learn, I put myself out there. My body is a virtual science lab. Friends and family all get a good laugh at this.

Like the time I showed up at my mom’s with a strange white powder all over my freshly washed pony tail – from a spray bottle I didn’t take the time to wash well before adding homemade hairspray. Or the time I had a face so shiny you could see your reflection in my forehead – from a crazy-oily batch of homemade moisturizer. Or the piles of times unsuccessful homemade deodorant trials have left me with painful bumps or an itchy rash in my armpits.

All in a day’s work I suppose; and proof that I don’t always know what I’m doing.

Another piece of that humble pie, please?

Where am I on the curve?

Here’s the part where I come clean. And you find out that I’m a girl of medium-intelligence, sitting at her desk, trying to be brilliant, yet often coming up empty-handed. A girl who used to be an Elementary School Counselor, whose husband implored her to quit her stressful job (less than a year ago) to work on websites with him. A girl who has messy stacks of books, files, and notes covering her desk as she attempts to pack her saturated brain full of DIY wisdom. A girl who wants to cry when she gets negative comments on her articles, but knows she has to put her big girl pants on and respond with winking emoticons and witty enthusiasm.

So there you have it. I’m a tenderfoot in this natural do-it-yourself realm.

I have DIY mishaps and failed experiments all the time. I have moments when I’m blown away at a small piece of information that I feel I should have known.

But I’m always progressing, and that’s a great place to be.

Phew. There. I said it.

What I do know

Admitting ignorance is cathartic. Thanks for showing up to my therapy session today. (Kidding, kind of.)

It’s also easy to undervalue your knowledge and experience in any topic, so I must take care not to.

I do know a few things about DIY projects, and I hope you’ll agree:

  • DIY projects can be fun, educational, and work to inspire even more creativity!
  • DIY projects can save you money, time, and resources.
  • DIY projects can support better health by helping eliminate chemicals and unhealthy ingredients from your home.
  • DIY projects give you full control to tailor things to your preference.
  • DIY projects will make (some) people think you’re crafty, resourceful, and maybe a tiny bit genius.
  • You shouldn’t be stifled by all the knowledge and DIY information out there – attempting a DIY project and failing is better than not trying at all.
  • Not everything is worthy of becoming a DIY project. (Like pulling teeth.)

I also know that this is the best job I’ve ever had.

The hours are great, my boss is good looking (hi Matt), and I have the opportunity to learn from a huge community of readers who collectively know so much more than I could ever hope to know.

(Who knows though…maybe in my summer travels I’ll pass through the Land of Oz and Dorothy, the Wizard, and the rest of the gang will all be there. I could beg, plead, rip the Wizard’s curtain back and demand a new all-knowing DIY brain. It could happen. No? Fine. I’ll continue to stare at blank documents on my computer, eat my humble pie, toil and test.)

Be kind (and gentle with fragile egos) please

The DIY Learning Curve

Sometimes Matt and I get comments about DIY experiences gone terribly wrong that are hilarious. It makes us feel normal.

It reminds us that everyone is in a different place on the DIY Learning Curve, and we must be kind if we want to help change the way people live.

We don’t all have access to the same resources, the same support, or the same knowledge-base.

My challenge to you: go easy on each other.

Help those around you, with a loving spirit, without condemning them for not knowing something. Nurture their knowledge. Gently guide. Teach. Treat your fellow DIY-er as though he or she is just a babe in this DIY world.

So roll up the sleeves on that DIY bedazzled jean jacket… What? Those are out of style? Ok, roll up the sleeves on that no-sew Pinterest-inspired shirt-dress, and start your DIY engine! Prepare to make mistakes, kindly share your knowledge, and press onward down this winding and uncertain road we call the Learning Curve.

As for us… we need your help while we learn.

Keep the questions coming. We love them. Have any knowledge that would challenge information in our articles? Bring it on. We learn something new each time we sniff out an answer! But do us a favor, hold fast to that helpful and loving spirit and I promise you’ll help everyone much, much more.

How about you? Where are you on the DIY Learning Curve?

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photo by denise carbonell

Betsy Jabs

About Betsy Jabs

Betsy holds a bachelor's degree in Psychology and a Master's degree in Counseling, and for nearly a decade worked as an elementary counselor. In 2011 she left her counseling career to pursue healthy living. She loves using DIY Natural as a way to educate people to depend on themselves to nourish their bodies and live happier healthier lives. Connect with Betsy on Facebook, Twitter, and her +Betsy Jabs Google profile.

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Comments

  1. Jo says

    Hi Betsy & Matt,
    Thanks so much for all the time and effort that you put into this website. It’s awesome! I’m loving the DIY recipes you’ve shared. Thank you! All of my cleaning products or diy and now most of my lotions, deodorant, etc is also diy. I’m having a hard time convincing my hubby how good they are, but he’ll come around. He seems to like the laundry soap! I’m actually now so convinced of the benefits, and love the products so much that I have been considering speaking to women’s groups about it. I taught a seminar on it about 1 1/2 yrs ago. If I was to do it again, it would be completely different, because I’ve learned so much since then. So once again thanks for all the hard work you do! God bless you!

    • Betsy JabsBetsy Jabs says

      I’m so happy to hear you’re learning from us, and are inspired to teach others what you’re learning! This is exactly how we hope to affect our readers. 🙂

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