This post is part of the Sunday Series The ABCs of Getting Well Grounded
C is for Creativity
When I realized that today was C, I brainstormed a list of great words. As I read through the list, I felt frustrated that I couldn’t write about all of them. There are so many great words (and ideas) to choose from. After a moment of contemplation, I knew that creativity was the way to go. But first… I love to research words, especially words I know and love well, because I always walk away with a new perspective and a deeper understanding of why the word resonated with me in first place, so let’s begin with a few definitions:
cre-ate [kree-eyt], v.
- to cause to come into being, as something unique that would not naturally evolve or that is not made by ordinary processes.
- to evolve from one’s own thought or imagination, as a work of art or an invention.
cre-a-tion [krēˈāSHən], n.
- The action or process of bringing something into existence
- A thing that has been made or invented, esp. something showing artistic talent
- The event that occurred at the beginning of something
- Initiation; the act of starting something for the first time; introducing something new
- [n.] A person who is creative, typically in a professional context
- [adj.] Relating to or involving the imagination or original ideas, esp. in the production of an artistic work (change unleashes people’s creative energy)
- [adj.] (of a person) Having good imagination or original ideas
cre-a-tiv-i-ty [kree-ey-tiv-i-tee], n.
- The ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, relationships, or the like, and to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods, interpretations, etc.
- Originality, progressiveness, or imagination
- The process by which one utilizes creative ability
Pretty powerful, wonderful concepts and ideas, right? Creativity has always meant something special to me, but my relationship with creativity has changed quite a bit throughout my life — transforming over time from something I desperately wanted to be into something I knew myself to be. I grew up wishing I could be creative. I think my idea of creativity was very limited back then. Limits on creativity — that in itself is pretty funny to me now. Back then, I believed that creativity was limited to people who could sing and act and paint and draw, to people who unabashedly wore bright colors and were without insecurities. I wanted to be all of those things, but I just wasn’t. I was (and still am, in some ways) so cautious and self-critical. I wanted everything I created to be perfect, but since nothing ever is, I never did and never would achieve satisfaction.
And that’s the trick, the key. Our biggest block to creativity and to seeing ourselves as the creative creatures that we are is our disproportionate focus on what we’re NOT good at (or what we think we’re not good at). All I saw, for many, many years, were my self-proclaimed failed attempts at painting and drawing, and my not-so-great singing voice (only truly appreciated by me and a few close friends in the car, the shower, or after a couple drinks). What I didn’t see, for far too long, was this: the ways in which I am creative WAY out-weigh the ‘uncreative’ parts of me. No contest.
I’m a writer. I love cooking, rarely follow recipes, and get tons of compliments on my creativity with food. I love teaching, and I’m creative in my lesson planning, my course development, and the way I facilitate my classes. I blend my own teas and love creating fun names for them, so people smile even before taking a sip. I’m creative in my approach to health coaching — no cookie-cutter guidelines or one-size-fits-all sessions for my clients. No way. I’m an only child and came up with some pretty creative stories/excuses for my behavior over the years (right, mom? dad?). I’ve been creative with my education and career path. I’m creative with word choice and with my handwriting. And as for ‘art’, which is what I originally thought creativity was all about, I have created several beautiful glass mosaics, designed much of what you see on my websites, and I often receive compliments on my photography. So now, I know myself to be creative. Not just because I say so (which I do), but because I am finally able to hear all the compliments and comments about my creativity from everyone around me. I’m sure they’ve been saying it my whole life, but I had self-limiting cotton in my ears. How did I let a silly little self-limiting belief stand in my way of seeing and hearing all this for so long? How about you, how have you been doing this?
We all limit ourselves in one way or another, and I want to encourage you to meditate a bit today on what your own self-limiting beliefs are. Identify them. Name them. Acknowledge them. And then respectfully let them go — how are they serving you, really? Brainstorm all the evidence from your life that disproves this story you’ve been telling yourself. How are you creative? It’s way past time for all of us to claim our creativity and share it unabashedly with the world.
eat well. live well. be well. honor yourself as the creative creature you truly are.