Fear and anxiety keep us from being our best self and denies us our freedom to be creative. And our creativity is a window into our vulnerability. Man, that’s a scary concept.
That’s what Elizabeth Gilbert has to say in her book “Big Magic.” It’s not that fear is always a bad thing, sometimes it can actually keep us from danger or making very bad decisions. (Been there, done that.) But most of the time we give into our fear and allow it to be in the driver’s seat.
“Basically, your fear is like a mall cop who thinks he’s a Navy SEAL: He hasn’t slept in days, he’s all hopped up on Red Bull and he’s liable to shoot at his own shadow in an absurd effort to keep everyone ‘safe.'”
Have you ever tried to be creative? Whether it’s cooking a meal, sewing something, painting, music, writing, planting a garden….the list goes on. I’ve tried many things to find a creative outlet. Music is always my go to. Whether it’s listening to music or trying to create it, it’s something that I’m drawn to since I was a child. But it frustrates the hell out of me many times because that little fear demon pops up and tells me I’m not good enough and I just need to give up. But who am I trying to impress? I do music for ME. I play with a music group because I like the camaraderie and the creativity that we share. But I’m not trying to be the next musical sensation. I’m not a 20-year-old with Nashville stars in her eyes as I once was.
I’ve tried other creative outlets as well, and I’ve had lots of failure projects. I’ve spent a fortune on “supplies” to feed my creativity, only to recycle, reuse or trash those supplies. It’s frustrating and sometimes expensive.
But maybe it’s not the final outcome of a creative project that’s important, perhaps it’s the act of or the process of just trying. Many times it’s our fear that keep us from even trying something in the first place.
Letting yourself create something is a huge thing. Maybe you’ll want to show that “thing” you’ve created to other people, but maybe not. Maybe you’ll just keep it to yourself. Never-the-less it’s a vulnerable moment to step into your creativity, and man it feels good when you do it.
I love this letter that Elizabeth Gilbert writes to her fear:
“Dearest Fear: Creativity and I are about to go on a road trip. I understand you’ll be joining us, because you always do. I acknowledge that you believe you have an important job to do. But I will also be doing my job, which is to work hard and stay focused. And Creativity will be doing its job, which is to remain stimulating and inspiring. There’s plenty of room in this vehicle for all of us, but understand this: Creativity and I are the only ones who will be making any decisions along the way. You’re not allowed to suggest detours. You’re not allowed to fiddle with the temperature. Dude, you’re not even allowed to touch the radio. But above all else, you are absolutely forbidden to drive.”
So what do you say? Wanna give creativity a try? Just do it! It can certainly be a form of therapy.