When living our lives today, trying to be as creative as we can be, we have not only our own history and potential baggage to haul around, but that which we’ve inherited from others too.
Here’s an analogy. Maybe you’ve had the experience of someone close to you passing away and leaving a house full – and a whole life’s worth – of possessions behind, with you being the main beneficiary? Or maybe you know someone who has.
There you are with your simple, fairly organised little house, perfectly content with your own stuff, and suddenly overnight you have double the possessions, or more.
Not any old possessions either, but stuff that also has very emotional attachments and associations with the person who left them for you.
The dilemma is how much can you bear to sell or donate, because you really have no use for them, and how much do you keep because you’d feel so guilty about getting rid of them?
Even if you’ve not been in this scenario yourself, I’m sure you can imagine the ways your heart and head would be torn.
So maybe guilt gets its way and you end up with your little house – which once seemed so spacious – being crammed to the rafters with objects that have only sentimental and emotional value, and have no real use to you, and in fact make you feel sad, trapped and guilty even seeing them.
This example is all about physical possessions left to you by someone who’s died.
But sometimes we carry as much, if not more baggage around with us mentally and emotionally. Even worse, it’s baggage that isn’t even ours.
How many of your beliefs about creativity, and about what a “real” artist should be like comes from your parents, or a former teacher or someone artistic you held in high regard?
Have you been around messages like: “If you want to starve, be an artist”, “Art isn’t a proper career”, “You can’t call yourself a real writer until you’ve sold a million novels” or “All artists are flaky and neurotic loners”?
How many of your beliefs about how creative YOU are, are based on what others have told you about yourself, unfounded on any real evidence?
How often have you heard words like: “You’re not creative, a five year old could’ve painted that”, “Made that blockbuster Hollywood movie yet? Thought not…” and that old classic “How’s that nice little hobby of yours coming along?”
When we buy into this kind of language, when we take it on as our own, and believe it to be true, there’s no wonder it cripples our creativity.
How can you hope to soar, when you have the equivalent of an overweight rhino slumped over your back?
The crucial first step in overcoming this, is to recognise all the beliefs you’re carrying around that hold you back. And recognise how many of them you have inherited from others – parents, peers, teachers – who, however well meaning they thought they might have been, have instead burdened you with a ton of unnecessary weight, guilt and emotion.
Write down all the beliefs you have about being creative, creativity, and artists.
Take them one by one, and look very closely at how “true” they really are. Find evidence to contradict the most powerful and destructive ones. Start to turn them around into their positive equivalent opposite.
You don’t have time to drag all this baggage around anymore. There’s creating to be done, the most amazing art of your life is in you waiting. Waiting for the go ahead from you, that big creative yes.
Ditch the rhino, get creating, start to run, start to soar.
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