In reviewing all the input I got after last week’s post on blocks to creativity, it seems that the most common obstacles people struggle with are lack of confidence and comparing oneself to others. These are very basic issues that can hinder us in so many areas of life, not just artistic endeavors.
We often grow up without the kind of support and encouragement that provides safety for taking risks, and for expressing ourselves without our internal critic screaming about how other people are going to judge us. It is an important developmental task we must all master at some point in our lives, whether it is about how we think, what we feel, or how we live. In the broadest sense, every moment of our lives is a creative expression of our inner reality.
In the realm of artistic expression, at some point we just have to say, “to heck with what others think, I’m just going to be myself, and see what I come up with.” Of course some outside validation is encouraging, inspiring, and greatly appreciated, but we can’t create just to get that validation—it is only a side benefit. The greatest reward in the creative act is the process itself. It is a way we can see a reflection of a deep inner part of ourselves, and allow the expression of our truest self to heal our heartaches.
- Stop believing what your mind tells you!
- Notice the negative internal messages and realize that they are not who you are. Those thoughts are just thoughts, those feelings are just feelings. There is that deep inner part of yourself that is larger and grander than any of those small thoughts and feelings.
- When you sit down to create, don't worry about a finished product. Just experiment. Dare to make "mistakes." If you don't like what you make, don't let the inner critic tell you, "I told you so!" Take it as an opportunity to figure out what you would like better, then try making that. I often make 3 or 4 versions of a card before I find the one that I like, and I learn something from each one I reject.
- Let yourself believe that there is a sweet river of creativity inside of yourself, and become the curious explorer whose mission it is to find that underground wellspring. When you come to an obstacle, find another opening, another path, or another viewpoint.
- Above all else, don't give up and let the critic convince you that you aren't creative, that you can't make beautiful things, and that you'll never be good enough. Pretend you're a child playing with crayons instead of an adult trying to live up to someone else's standards. Create with wild abandon.
In other words, Stamp Madly!
I hope you are enjoying these posts on creativity, and that you find some inspiration each week to approach your stamping and paper crafting projects with a fresh viewpoint and renewed enthusiasm.
aka The Mad Stamper
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