“There is no innovation and creativity without failure” – Brené Brown
So often I hear from people that they are just “not creative.” While we may have not made time in years – sometimes decades – for creative endeavors, we all have the innate capacity for creativity. Look at any child you know and you will see their natural propensity toward imagination and invention as they navigate the world. I remember my daughter gathering a smattering of things she found in our backyard (think grass, water, golf balls and rocks) to create a soup for dinner. She wasn’t worried about what other people might “think,” she wasn’t comparing her soup to the one I made earlier that week – she was simply playing and creating.
As we get older our creativity gets pushed to the back burner. We no longer “have time” to do the things that once brought us joy. Or even worse, we feel ashamed to create. According to research conducted by Dr. Brené Brown, over 85% of the men and women she interviewed reported having an event at school that was so shaming it changed their view of themselves for the rest of their lives. Of that 85%, 50% reported that event being related to creativity. Perhaps it was a speech they gave, an art project they created or a choir solo. Often after such moments we silently decide to never again make ourselves creatively vulnerable.
Another barrier in creativity is comparison. Not only is comparison the thief of joy, it is also the thief of creativity. During our last Daring Women and Creativity event we ended up painting beautiful aspen trees. I was very impressed with myself – until I looked around. All of a sudden a flood of judgments came in. I did the leaves ‘wrong,’ I should have used a brighter yellow, that woman’s painting looks better than mine, maybe I’ll hide the painting in my closet when I’m done. It was a bit ironic as we had just discussed the very concept of comparison in creative work. I took a deep breath and embraced my creation. In fact I hung it up in my bathroom to remind myself each day that there is beauty in imperfection, that I can learn to love myself and my creations.
When we make time to create, we allow ourselves to work on moving out of comparison, perfectionism and what other people think. Each time we make that choice to build, draw, sing, dance or write, we are making an investment in ourselves. I dare you to find ways each day to express yourself, to show the world your authentic, imperfect and beautiful self through your unique creative expression.
Join us on April 24th for Daring Women and Clay at the Carbondale Clay Center. The event follows COVID protocols: limited to 6 women, social distancing, masks required. Sign up here today!