In my last blog post, I spoke about joy. In that post, I said, “We feel safe, cherished, fortunate and vibrantly alive when we are joyful. However, that exuberance is often associated most with children, and is something we are encouraged to put away when we ‘grow up’.” I also suggested you might like to “Dance. Run. Play. Splash paint. Sing. Jump in puddles.” I believe that joy and creativity are strongly linked, especially in childhood.
I’d like to look at this a little more, because I have been really struck by two things lately:
- That children are vibrantly, joyfully creative and gain much from this self-expression.
- That adults often see themselves as “not creative”, no matter how much they might have been as a child.
What happens between childhood and adulthood to cause such a change? In many cases, it seems that the Inner Critic developed as our creative expression was judged by those around us – both formally (such as in school) and informally (by peers, family and even strangers on social media). We are also fed a narrow range of what “creativity” means – usually limited to specific arts and musical endeavours, and specific ‘standards’ in those things.
However, I think creativity can be so much more than that. Do you enjoy putting specific outfits together in harmonious colours? Or applying fun makeup? That’s creative. Are you good at baking? Or putting together meal plans and using or making recipes? That’s creative. Do you daydream about people, places, situations and imagine what might happen? That’s creative!
The Inner Critic might be dismissing this, finding some reason it ‘doesn’t count’ when you do those things. You might think that your work isn’t as good as someone else’s, or see flaws that spoil it for you. Your Inner Critic is trying to protect you from deeper fears – maybe failure, shame or embarrassment. It is hard to indulge your creativity when you don’t know what the result will be! If you can view your Inner Critic more compassionately in this way, rather than fighting with it, you may find it much easier to stop it holding you back.
So, what if your creativity is still blocked? Fortunately, there are a number of ways you might work through it. Various artistic hobby groups and classes are available both online and locally. Take time to find a space you feel safe and welcomed in, where you feel supported and free to let those creative juices flow.
You may find it hard at first to get going, and you may struggle to see ‘improvement’. However, if you can let go of your idea of the ‘perfect result’ and instead be in the moment with the process, you may not only enjoy things a lot more but also end up going off in unexpected and exciting directions! Plus, it is worth remembering that being bad at something is the first step towards being good at it!
What will you discover in your creative journey?
Please note, I have no commercial links or affiliations with the classes I have linked to – they are simply things that I have enjoyed myself.