"To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong." - Joseph Chilton Pearce
As young children, we were all encouraged to be creative. Our parents and teachers knew that being creative provided us with opportunities to explore new ways of thinking, solving problems and trying out new ideas. They knew that by encouraging our natural creativity, they were encouraging us to explore and celebrate our uniqueness. My own daughter is just 10 months old, and I constantly find myself daydreaming about how she will express herself - will she sing? Will she draw? Will she write? Dance? Cook? I am excited to nurture her creativity because as a parent, one of my main goals to for her to cultivate confidence in who she is and not be afraid to express and celebrate her personality.
For many of us, the older we get the more we lost touch with our sense of creativity. This could be because we conform to society's pressures of fitting in, surviving and the possible judgement of others. We then begin to judge ourselves, therefore squashing our natural creative tendencies.
I know people who say, "I am not a creative person," or "I don't have a creative bone in my body." This is simply not true! We are all born as creative beings, therefore we are all innately creative. All of us. Each person's creativity is different and we all use ours in different ways.
WHY IS CREATIVITY IMPORTANT?
Freedom - There are no rules to being creative- no right or wrong. As children we did not need permission to lose our inhibitions and explore, take risks or try something totally new. We did not judge ourselves for or attach ourselves to a possible outcome of the creative process. We simply followed our instincts and whatever happened, happened!
Expression and Self-Awareness - Creativity helps us get in touch with our most authentic thoughts and feelings. The process of developing our ideas allows us to learn to trust and understand ourselves. It allows us to respect who WE are individually and therefore express ourselves confidently. We develop this confidence because we trust our instincts, and when we are confident and trust our instincts, we use those skills to help us make decisions in life.
Stress Relief - Being creative can be a meditative experience. When we take the time to do something we enjoy - something that involves using our minds, hands, body, energy, etc. - it makes us happy! Ultimately, creativity is fun, and having fun reduces stress.
Problem- Solving - I had an art teacher in elementary school who used to say, "There are no mistakes in art." (Shout out to Ms. Corbo!) This really stuck with me - not just as I made my way through my Snoopy painting for a class project, but in my life as I am faced with problems. Obstacles and challenges are present every day in life. It takes creativity to get through them - to find new ways of handling them effectively. Because of this, we become resourceful. We develop the habit of using our independent thinking to solve problems in ways that work for us.
BUT I DON'T FEEL CREATIVE, WHERE DO I START?
To me, creativity comes from and in the form of anything that stimulates our minds, our emotions and our senses. We all connect to something that came from someone's creative process (unless you hate music, art, movies, food, comedy, physical movement, etc. etc...).
The first thing you can try is to simply tap into your inner-child and look for ways to have have more fun; to be more playful.
Spend Time Outside - Nature accesses all of our senses, gives us physical energy and stimulates the imagination.
Hobbies - Revisit an old hobby - one you tell yourself you are "not good at" - such as music (singing, playing an instrument), drawing, painting, writing, crafting, dancing, cooking, photography, anything! Take the time to start a new hobby you have been thinking about. You can even start by simply journaling your thoughts and ideas to help access your inner creative self. Journaling is creative in and of itself because you are expressing yourself! Free-writing is a form of journaling, in which you simply just write down anything that comes to your mind. No story to be formed, to sense must be made - just your thoughts and feelings freely flowing from your mind to the paper.
Exposure - Intentionally expose yourself to art, listen to music, watch live theater, read (or listen to) books on a subject that interests you, watch movies, explore science, cook some new recipes, take photos, shoot and edit home movies on your phone - anything that comes from the process of creativity and stimulates your mind, emotions and senses. You may discover something that you connect with and that inspires you.
The most important things to remember - Do not put pressure on yourself. Do not get attached to the outcome of what you may create. Do not expect perfection.
Being creative as adults gives us the same opportunities it did when we were children - to be free, to be silly, to have fun, to try new things and new ways of thinking, to express ourselves without fear or judgement, a way to create something from our own unique feelings, thoughts and experiences, to celebrate our uniqueness. Nothing you create needs to be shared if you don't want to . Ultimately, your creative practice is for YOU. Keeping this in mind helps you to create most authentically, once again without concern for anyone's opinion.
Allow me to present you with a challenge! The next time you find yourself bored, anxious, doing nothing but scrolling on Instagram while your mind gets more and more cluttered with thoughts that don't really serve you - we all know the feeling - use that time as your opportunity to explore a creative outlet that interests you.
I personally believe that boredom perfectly gives way to creativity. Think about it - as kids we would exclaim to our parents, "I'M BORED!" and soon after this we might have found ourselves playing 'house' or 'restaurant' or 'school,' drawing, writing, dancing filling a soda bottle with various liquids just to see what it would smell like in a week..(or was that just me?).
As adults, we often see boredom as failure - we should be doing something productive, we should be working, we should do this or that - but what usually happens then? We become overwhelmed and end up doing nothing. We then feel guilty and stressed.
So, I challenge you to take the very next opportunity you have to be creative. I PROMISE you will not regret it. Throw your inhibitions to the wind, step outside the comfort zone your adult self has so comfortably cultivated, and tap into your inner child. Most importantly, enjoy the process!
I would love to hear how you are being creative! Feel free to comment or send me a message and share your progress!