10 July 2016

#CultivatingCreativity: CULTIVATE GRATITUDE

Hi All! This month my friend Rachel McGough at Handmade U issued a challenge to spend July getting into the habit of cultivating your creativity. You can read her post on 5 excuses not to create here. All month she will be interviewing Creatives (here's a link to the interview with yours truly) about what excuses we struggle with and how we get beyond them.

This is a subject I've given a fair amount of thought to over the years, so I decided I would put together a few posts on the ways I fight the creativity killing excuses Rachel talks about. So let's go!

Probably the two biggest Creativity Killers for me are comparison and perfectionism. They feed off each other like parasites and create fear that kills any desire in me to create anything from paintings to pot roasts. Though comparison and perfectionism are intertwined, I want to deal with them separately so today we're going to talk about COMPARISON.

This is one of the worst traps we creatives--and all other members of the human race, near as I can tell--fall into. We compare absolutely everything we have and everything we are to other people, what they have, what they are. And invariably, we fall short because let's be honest, we almost never compare our lives with those who have less than we do, we almost always compare ourselves with those who have more. But the fact is, we don't compare our reality to the reality of others. We compare our reality with our perception of their reality. Do you see the problem? We are comparing ourselves to a lie, a dream, a mist, a PERCEPTION. We don't know what that other person has gone through to get where she is. We don't know her story, her heart, her fears. We only know our perceptions. There is no way we can win at this one.

So how do we stop killing our creativity with comparison? We cultivate gratitude! This isn't positive psychology, it's spiritual discipline. It's not about switching our focus from comparing ourselves with those who have more to comparing ourselves with those who have less. It's about developing a genuine heart of thankfulness for what we have. It's about being thankful for the talent you've been given--whatever that may be. It's about being thankful for the little things:

And the big things:

Cultivating gratitude keeps our vision clear. As Creatives we need clear vision to do what we do. When we compare ourselves with others creativity becomes a proxy for competition. When we cultivate gratitude for the life we have the privilege of living, creativity becomes an expression of the beauty of a grateful heart. Competition breeds fear--fear of losing, fear of failing. Gratitude brings joy. And it's in joy that we create, that we take risks, that we add to be beauty of our world by exercising the talents we've been given. And what's more, gratitude gives us the guts to cheer on our peers and celebrate their victories with out the petty jealousy that comes from competition.

So let's wrap this up with a little call to action: spend the next four weeks listing 5 things you're grateful for everyday. Write them in your planner, make pictograms, get a new journal to jot them in, whatever it takes. But spend the next four weeks being thankful for your life, and see if it doesn't just help open those creative flood-gates. (Or at least remove a roadblock or two!)

Have a wonderfully creative, comparison-free week!

1 comment:

  1. You have made so many good points here, Kim! I think we all suffer from comparing ourselves to others, and to what we perceive as our own failings. I love your idea of taking time to just be grateful. I'm going to give it a try! Thank you!