It happened again. A very thoughtful, kind, well-meaning person referred to me as “gifted.”
Actually, she referred to me as “multi-gifted.” In the context of sharing me and my work with her community.
It was a lovely, generous expression, and I’m grateful for the generous and loving intention behind it.
But I confess it also frustrates me at the same time.
Because calling me out as “multi-gifted” may lead people to think that creativity is something that inheres in me, in my “special giftedness.”
And that is not true.
And yet, people believe it to be true.
People believe that creativity resides only in special, “gifted” individuals.
And the more people believe that, the less likely they are to see creativity as residing in themselves. To see themselves as containers for creative possibility.
And my ENTIRE MESSAGE is that each and every human on the planet is a unique container for creative possibility.
My Manifesto of Creative Entitlement
Creativity is not about “giftedness,” it’s about doing the things that give you joy — whether you feel “good enough” at them or not.
THAT is the message I’m doing my best to spread: we are all ENTITLED to creative expression.
The arts are not just reserved for the “elite few,” the “special, talented ones.” Creativity is our BIRTHRIGHT. It is something that each and every one of us is BORN WITH, whether we think of ourselves as “creative” or not.
And the truth is, the majority of us do NOT think of ourselves as creative (according to Adobe’s 2016 creativity study, only 4 in 10 people describe themselves as creative).
BUT WE ARE.
Creativity is not what’s lacking; ENTITLEMENT to our innate creativity is what’s lacking.
That’s what I want to change.
“Yeah, easy for you to say, Melissa,” you might be thinking, “You’re a Creativity Instigator! You’re the most creative person I know!”
But it wasn’t always that way. Not so many years ago I believed, deep to my core, that I was a completely NON-creative person.
I mean, not only was I NOT an artist at the time, I was a NON-artist, and I believed — I mean TRULY BELIEVED — that I was INCAPABLE of being a creative person.
Not just “I can’t draw,” but “I am not creative.”
That is how deep the trauma goes for way too many of us. Creativity scars. Self-installed glass ceilings.
Damage from living in a society that is DEEPLY CONFUSED about creativity and creative expression.
We grow up with so many mixed messages about creativity:
– On the one hand, it is wondrous and valued, because it leads to things like lightbulbs and iPhones and great music and art…
– On the other hand, it is to be scoffed at, unimportant, frivolous, self-indulgent
– On the one hand, creative people invent amazing things…
– On the other hand, creators/artists are selfish, crazy, suicidal, flaky, stupid, and “can’t make a living…” (<–not true, just talk to Cory Huff of The Abundant Artist (aff), but a myth that is prevalent and strongly believed!)
– On the one hand, the arts are very special, reserved for the elite few, the “special, talented ones” (so precious that they are off-limits to you, regular person)…
– On the other hand, the arts are worthless, not worth putting any money into (after all, look at how little money the U.S. puts towards the arts in the schools and in the wider culture)…
No wonder we’re all confused!
No wonder we have a hard time giving ourselves the gift of creative time!
The truth is, creative expression is an essential part of our humanity. AND our health.
It also boosts your mood and restores energy to your BRAIN (remember that, the next time your gremlins start to whine that you don’t deserve a few minutes of creative playtime).
If we are going to change the world for the better, the place to start is with OURSELVES. And one of the best ways to start is by nourishing yourself with small, daily acts of creative play.
Rally your troops (community is KEY — none of us can do this alone, because goodness knows our confused society is NOT going to help), and give yourself the gift of just a few minutes a day.
(My Creative Sandbox Way Guideposts can really help. Truly. I developed them to help me loosen the grip of my own perfectionist paralysis, and they’ve gone on to help thousands of others, so it’s a good bet they’ll help you. http://creativesandboxway.com)
Small daily acts.
And large doses of self-compassion.
This is how you will transform your life, and ultimately transform the world.
Go get creating!
Resources in this Episode
The Abundant Artist (aff)
The 10 Guideposts from my book, The Creative Sandbox Way (download the first 50 pages for free at that link!)
Thanks for Listening!
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Now go get creating!
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