In recent years, our society has stopped seeing creativity as the exclusive domain of the naturally “gifted” or “talented” and started viewing creative expression as a birthright. We are slowly beginning to understand that creating is an essential part of what it means to be a whole person. It not only gives us a necessary competitive edge in business, but is an instinctive need for all human beings, a primal craving for most people, and an activity that can help us forge deep connection to ourselves and others.
Everyone Can Use Creativity To Foster Deep Connection
In her book, The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron argues, “Creativity is a natural life force that we all crave to express in one form or another.” Yet there are many longstanding myths in our culture that hold us back. You may have heard some of these:
- You’re either born with a unique talent, or not
- Only those born with exceptional creative talent should pursue it
- Creativity is a waste of time and is entirely self-indulgent
- Be creative when you retire – work should be your priority until then
- Creativity is great for kids, but adults don’t need it
- It’s more for girls; expressing creativity is not manly
- Creativity is not worth doing if you’re not good at it
- You should be embarrassed if your creative work is not up to par
- Creatives are flaky, irresponsible people who have too much time on their hands
In addition to weighing us down with cultural baggage like the myths above, the creative process often causes us to brush up against uncomfortable feelings of uncertainty, anxiety, and fear. It requires us to surrender, have faith and allow the process to unfold. Because the creative process is often inextricably linked to anxiety, the prospect of exploring an unfamiliar creative or artistic endeavor can trigger a tremendous amount of vulnerability and shame.
This leads people to shy away from new experiences and pick up the familiar deflecting chant: “I’m not the creative type.” Sadly, with these words, many people close their minds to an entire world of creative potential and talent that exists within them.
Create Deep Connection And Open Up To Other People
What people often don’t realize, is that it is precisely the uncomfortable grappling with vulnerability and anxiety that makes the creative process so wonderfully good for us. It’s because creativity causes us to stretch, grow, and unleash areas of our mind that we feel so immensely satisfied, alive and proud of ourselves. Intentionally seeking out opportunities to be creative is an ideal way to overcome fear and anxiety in small ways that translate to substantial personal growth and symbolic significance.
Engaging in creative expression has an enormously positive effect on our sense of self. It brings us into direct contact and connection with our true nature. It doesn’t matter if you are sketching a still-life scene, cooking a new recipe, making a music playlist, snapping pictures on your smartphone, decorating your bedroom or picking out a special outfit for yourself – you are expressing yourself, your uniqueness, your preferences, your originality and your version of beauty.
Find Connection Through All Types Of Self-Expression
It’s through self-expression that we experience and discover our own unique gifts and contributions to the world. Understanding our talents is the closest we can come to experiencing the preciousness of our own humanity, which naturally nurtures deep connection to ourselves.
With creative expression, we can become more familiar and in love with the essence of our being. Regardless of how ugly we may think our creations are! When a human makes something that is an expression of their soul, that creation has a uniquely precious beauty that cannot and should not be compared to the artwork of others. In a world of 7 billion people, we may struggle to feel like our contributions have significance, but daily creative expression is the simplest and most reliable way to remind ourselves of our own unique and irreplaceable gifts.