As soon as someone finds out that I am an artist for the first time, I become a confessional for those who fear their creative capacity. Often this manifests as a fairly predictable script. Have you ever found yourself or someone you know saying one of the following?
"I am not creative."
"I wish I was creative."
"I am not creatively gifted."
"I can't draw or do anything else creative."
"My (insert family member) is creative, but it skipped over me!"
Hearing these comments over, over, and over lead me to question our cultural collective perception of creativity. Why do so many people feel as though they are not creative? What does this knowledge reveal about our culture? What can be done to change this misconception? Before diving deep into these larger questions, let's first look at some easy proof that you are creative.
Here's the deal: everybody is creative and I can prove it! Let's start by asking a few questions.
Have you ever laughed a joke?
Have you ever told a joke?
Have you ever worried about something?
Have you ever felt entitled to something?
Have you ever change a recipe?
Have you ever learned anything?
Hopefully, you are able to answer 'yes' to all of the above. Each of these questions prove that you ARE indeed a creative person! Laughing at a joke or telling a joke involve the intersection of two seemingly disparate ideas with which the mind must make conceptual connections that provide fresh insight and a new way of understanding. Formulating a joke or successfully responding to a joke with understanding requires creative thought.
Are you a worrier? Great! This is also proof of your creativity. Worrying often requires the worrier to imagine a future that is based on fear or anxiety. When we worry, we instinctually use our creativity in unhealthy ways to compensate, avoid, and deny ourselves or others. When your fear and anxiety are creative, you can imagine detailed scenarios of all the ways things might go wrong.
Entitlement is another form of imaginative proof that creativity has gone rogue. In the concept of entitlement, we believe that we are deserving of something. In reality, the concept of entitlement is a complex system that requires our creative energy of comparison. Unfortunately, as the saying goes, "Comparison is the thief of joy."
Furthermore, creativity is in everything we as humans find ourselves doing like improvising a recipe or learning a new skill. Have you ever considered how creativity is integral to every learning opportunity? Without creativity, humans could not learn anything.
The real take away is not only that you ARE an inherently creative person, but more importantly that if you are not actively engaged in exercising your creativity in healthy ways, your creativity acts out despite your intentional efforts. Our creative minds need creative outlets. Without appropriate outlets, our creative impulses turn against us and we manifest bad creative habits through worry, anxiety, fear, entitlement....
Wow! Have you ever thought that you are creative but that you might not be a healthy creative? The good news is that being a healthy holistic creative is attainable but takes practice, patience and perseverance.
Creative attributes will be discussed in the next blog post! Stay tuned!