I don’t think I have ever met anyone who isn’t creative in one way or another. Yet I more often hear people say they aren’t creative than that they are.
Where does it come from, this denial of creativity? Perhaps our ideas of what counts as “creative” are unnecessarily restricted and judgemental? After all, it is creativity in action to put together a meal, plan a nice outfit, come up with stories about why someone is doing something… yet those things are rarely seen that way. Does something have to appeal to others, or produce something that is openly admired, to be deemed “creative”?
Do we only consider something creative if it involves a certain level of skill? Do people deny their own creativity because they fear their creations ‘aren’t good enough’?
As children, we made up games, painted, drew, danced, sang, thought up adventures… We didn’t care what anyone thought, we just tried it and had fun. Yet in adulthood that quite often stops. Why do we hold back?
Creating something is a way of expressing yourself. That in itself can be really scary. But in my experience the scariest aspect is the fear that it won’t be ‘good enough’. What does that mean? Good enough for ourselves, or for others? Who makes the rules about whether something is good or not, and what is their agenda?
It’s really common to give something up after one or two attempts. You might convince yourself you’ll “never learn this!” or maybe someone told you to give up because you “aren’t very good” (ouch). So I turn to Jake the Dog from Adventure Time for one of my favourite quotes: “Dude, sucking at something is the first step towards being sorta good at something.”
Only you can decide if you are satisfied by your creative efforts or not. If you starting something new, the chances are you won’t be satisfied straight away. Bear in mind Jake’s words. Go ahead and be bad at something! Better yet, actively try to be bad at it (within reason – don’t hurt anyone!). Free yourself from visions of what the finished result will be and see what happens if you just plunge into the process.
Splash paint all over! Clash colours! Dance with the joy of a toddler! Make a soufflé that collapses! Write a terrible book!
Try Creative Self-Care for more ideas.
What would you create, if the end result didn’t matter?