The Mystery of Creative Drive
I hear different versions of the same question all the time: "How do I harness my creativity?"
Sometimes it's, "what do I do if I'm not creative?" which is an even more troubling question, because everyone is born creative.
The answer is more simple than you might expect. Creativity is your body's ability to express in a variety of unique ways. For example, when you want to simply and easily express an idea to a friend, you speak by stringing words together to convey your idea, combining different verbs, adjectives, nouns, and so forth. Expressing yourself creatively would mean putting your own personal twist on that string of words. Creativity is possible in all forms of expression. The "creative" element of any expression, be it completing a work assignment, cooking dinner, or painting a picture, is your particular perspective or spin on that expression.
We all have this in us, but we go through an education that teaches uniformity and conformity instead of originality and uniqueness. So, as we are trained to be more like each other, as we are punished for our emotional expressions, and rewarded for our ability to integrate and conform, we slowly lose touch with our creativity. It does not mean that it is gone, it just means that like any skill, the less we use it, the harder it is to access. All it takes to get it back is a certain level of comfort with being different, and practice.
Drawing, painting, music playing, sculpting, these are all skills that one can use creatively to express ideas, curiosities and feelings, but make no mistake, a person can be an excellent painter and still not be very creative. Creativity comes as a result of an expression of insight and emotion, it is not the mode of the expression, but the way in which something is expressed.
If you don't listen to your body's creative impulses, over time, they diminish, but your creativity does not leave you entirely, it lies dormant waiting for inspiration, or, rather a willing participant. Creativity expands the more it is used, and withers with abandonment.
We live in a world where the expression of feelings is seen as weakness, conformity is rewarded, and being different is seen as a threat. It is no wonder that so many people think they are not creative. It is also no wonder that people are not in touch with their feelings, as we are taught to either stifle them, ignore them, or manage them in a way that is private or shameful.
It takes courage to be creative because the people who originally set up the educational system in the US were training people to work on assembly lines. The US education turns out people who are docile and easy to manipulate. In short, our educational system in the US teaches repetition, mimicry, and standardization.
This used to upset me, but now, it is just one more thing about the way the world works that I ignore, as I go about living my life, being creative wherever and whenever I can.
The Bottom Line.
If you want to harness your creativity, get in touch with your feelings. Get comfortable with how you feel about the world around you. Practice a healthy expression of them. Creative strength is the ability to express your passions, beliefs, and perspectives in unique and original ways, and the only way you are going to get good at that is practice. Even if you are practicing alone in your journal and never show a soul.
Creativity is good for you. When you listen to how you are feeling about things, when you act on and express those feelings, you are practicing the highest form of self-care. When you ignore your feelings and act in ways that are not in your own best interest, you are sending signals to yourself to shut down. As you shut down, your body craves silence in the form of addictions.
In short, the more you are able to truthfully express your feelings, the less you will reach for substances and activities that your body aches for to fill that gap you have created by ignoring your feelings.
If you find this hard to believe, I understand, but I would ask you to just try. Try to listen to the messages your body is sending you. They are subtle, but they are vitally important, and they are the key to unleashing your own particular form of creative expression.
Steps to Tap into Your Creativity
It doesn't matter if you decide to needlepoint, paint, cook, make pottery, or sing as a mode of expression, what matters is that you find joy in the method and then express the way you think and feel about anything you want. This, in a nut shell, is creative expression. Practicing this will add to your life in ways you never thought possible. The more you tap into your creativity, the more creative you will become.
Is an artist, a philosopher, a writer and a teacher. She will be writing random thoughts here. Follow along if you are interested.
This is the NEW Blog on Creativity. I have started it here to continue on the many years of writing I have done here and in other places. Subscribe to my Newsletter below if you want updates every time I write a blog, which will be once a week.