WHAT IS CREATIVITY?
“Creativity is a phenomenon whereby something somehow new and somehow valuable is formed. The created item may be intangible or a physical object.”
“Creativity is the use of imagination or original ideas to create something; inventiveness.”
“Creativity is the act of turning new and imaginative ideas into reality.”
“Creativity is the ability to develop and express ourselves and our ideas in new ways.”
“Creativity is going beyond the usual – stepping outside of the box.”
These are just some of the many, many descriptions I found of what creativity means. They all may be worded differently but at the end of the day the core meaning of each is about the creation of something new from within our unique selves.
THE BENEFITS OF CREATIVITY
On Monday I wrote about the importance of Completing the Stress Cycle and that one of the seven ways suggested to do that was by ‘Creative Self Expression’. It was by listening to the Podcast mentioned (and linked) within that post and writing that post that I realised how important creativity is to me and that it is a key method of completing the stress cycle for me. I have had very little creative expression in the form of painting for the last seven months but last Sunday I had booked myself into an art workshop. It was watercolour painting – tropical birds! I was nervous (I haven’t picked up a paint brush for at least 7 months) and self conscious (many of the people there were regulars and far more experienced than me) and could feel that self critic in my head hovering (my unfortunate default) but once I got into the ‘creative flow’ I could feel it … the change.
Creativity focusses our minds. We get into a state of creative flow – completely absorbed in what we’re doing. Being in this state reduces stress and anxiety and increases a positive state of mind. Research has actually shown that having a creative outlet also has positive impacts on cognitive and immune system health.
CREATIVITY AND THE SELF-CRITIC
Since I mentioned above about my nasty self critic that was hovering, I felt I needed to touch on this subject. We all have that self critic don’t we?
“You’ll stuff it up”
“You’re not good enough”
“You’re going to embarass yourself”
“The others are all more experienced”
Sound familiar? The thing is, this self critic within us is out to sabotage us. It’s not constructive criticism. It’s not truth. It’s just mean. We wouldn’t be this mean to others would we? So we shouldn’t be this mean to ourselves. Unfortunately, my self critic is particularly mean due to my perfectionistic nature, but I’m determined to silence it!
When I look at the image of the paintings above I see imperfections and things that I’d do differently now and the inner critic starts up BUT I know it’s mean and unfair so I override it with thoughts like these below.
“You went to an art class all alone not knowing anyone or what the process was. Bravo!”
“You hadn’t painted or expressed yourself creatively through art for a long time. It only took a short time and you could feel that creative flow coming back. Well done you!”
“Those paintings are perfect imperfection. Perfection is a myth.”
“Those paintings are expressions from within you. They show the story of the reopening of your creative flow!”
“You showed up. You self-cared. You listened to you. You did it!”
Tell yourself what you would tell your friend. Be positive and encouraging to yourself. Don’t compare yourself to others. Don’t get so hung up on end results. Enjoy the process! Don’t let that self critic sabotage you anymore.
EXPRESSIONS OF CREATIVITY
The image at the top of this post is the two small paintings I created within the 2 hour limits of the workshop. The first hour of that workshop was spent listening to the introductions from our teacher and practicing four different watercolour painting techniques. This meant there really wasn’t a lot of time left to create the two paintings. The first painting I did was the pink galah and I can tell. I was hesitant, unsure of myself, trying to use the methods we’d just been shown, not feeling my own organic creativity yet, and I can see a lot there I’d do differently now. The second painting started hesitantly too but it was during this one I could feel myself starting to let go of ‘perceived expectations’ and tapping into the creative within me. I think if I’d moved on to a third painting – it would’ve been a good one because my creative gate was now wide open and the creative flow completely wiped out the self critical thoughts which allowed me to tap into the creative within me. In fact it was hard to walk away from that creative flow when the 2 hours were up.
I express myself creatively in other ways besides painting, for example:
- Decorating and styling my home
- Writing here on the blog
- … and loads of other creative pursuits over the years (mosaics, tapestry, cross-stitch etc)
As I’ve experienced above, creativity can be expressed in all manner of ways and not necessarily always through art. Some other examples might include playing a musical instrument, problem solving, marketing, creative ways of running a business, and more.
I was searching for a quote on creativity that really resonated with me to share in this post. Of course there were so many and I really liked so many of them but when I saw this one from Brené Brown, I knew this was the one.
Creativity is the way I share my soul with the world ~ Brené Brown
WE ARE ALL CREATIVE
The truth is you don’t have to be a famous artist to be creative. We are all creative. We might not all be famous artists but we’re born with imaginations and a desire to try different things throughout our lives. In addition to any hobbies we might pursue, we all possess creative abilities that help us solve life’s problems and make decisions.
Tell me, how do you express yourself creatively?
Ciao for now,