Creativity – your journey of self-discovery and wellbeing

We are all born creative. How else can we explain a species which has evolved to make, build, create and innovate the way us humans do?

Creativity is an innate part of our existence. So why do many of us raise the notion of ‘not being able to draw a straight line’ as an explanation for not ‘being’ creative?

I have my own theory on that.

Early years of creative development

When we are very young, we learn the difference between what is perceived as ‘good’ and ‘bad’. As children, we translate this into how we are expected to behave and learned to ‘tut’ at others who did not ‘tow the line’. We tried to do what was expected of us by our parents, teachers and communities. The desire to ‘fit in’ and be an accepted member of our pack is an ancient, survival-based mode of being – possibly programmed into our DNA.

About the same time, after a few years of finding our own form of physical, verbal or pictorial communication as infants, efforts to continue our creativity come into judgement. Sentences are passed by those we look up to, those peers and adults we want to be praised by. Our caregivers may not have intentionally given us the impression that they thought our drawings were poor, but children are smart. Children notice who gets the praise and who is left with the word ‘good’ as the teacher passes swiftly by.

A child drawing a picture

At this time, as young children, we can cast a harsh and heavy judgement on ourselves. We decide that our artwork or creative efforts are not good enough. We stop creating in this way. We stop exploring our creative potential. This can take years or decades to, if we ever, redress.

Creativity is in us all

The thing is your creative energy is in you. It’s in all of us. It’s part of our holistic being as a human being. The other thing is, no one has the knowledge or right to judge one person’s creativity as being ‘worthy of praise’ or not. Your creative outpouring is unique. We cannot begin to label one as good and another as bad.

The damage that curbed or stunted creative outpouring has on the individual can be measured in those adjectives that accompany children’s summer camps. Self-confidence, self-belief, freedom of expression, sheer joy of creating etc. While creative summer camps and afterschool workshops try to replenish and encourage our children’s opportunities to create in a non-judgemental environment, emphasis can sometimes be placed too heavily on the end product.

The biggest thing is… it’s about engaging your brain in the creative process. To a large extent, what you produce is irrelevant.

It would be interesting to see what parts of our brain ‘lights up’, what neural pathways are renewed and the possible long-term effects for children, of being given the opportunity to create, dance, sing and play without the weight of any judgement.

Creativity is an innate ability and will find its way, even through the toughest resolve. 

Maintaining creativity as we grow older

My sister, who stopped drawing because she thought she wasn’t as ‘good’ as the rest of us, has a huge gift and is very creative in her hairdressing. Whether your creativity comes through in how you choose your clothes, or the type of films you watch, the books you read, the doodles that dangle on the edge of your business meeting notes, or those secret lines of poetry that bounce around your head – not quite solid enough to put to paper – it is in you.

It’s in you, it’s unique and it’s detrimental to your personal wellbeing when forced to close down or switch off.

Oil paints and brushes

I strongly believe that creative wellbeing is an area of neural health that if given enough credit and time, can potentially change a person’s life.

Your creative brain is an ideas factory which is engaged in problem solving, innovation and successful personal and business development. It’s like having a muscle in your body that you never use but could, with a little exercise and support, make everything else fall perfectly into place and allow you to gain greater satisfaction from your wonderful life.

Why not give it a go? What’s to lose?

Over time, developing your painting processes and skills can dispel negative emotions and provide pleasure and happiness for each individual. Being creative boosts self-esteem and inspires people to reach new levels of skill. Being creative together also creates a relaxing, open environment where artists feel safe to explore their own creativity.