Like Amy, I would have laughed at the idea that we’re all creative a few years ago. I happily embraced my type-A, no-nonsense, black-and-white-and-straight-lines personalty, and I shelved creativity as something I could appreciate but not actually do.
What I’ve realized over the last couple of years, though, is that’s simply not true, and to live wholeheartedly (to borrow the word from Brené Brown), we have to make time for creativity in our lives as well.
In Creativity: The Psychology of Discovery and Invention, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi says, “Creativity is a central source of meaning in our lives. Most of the things that are interesting, important, and human are the result of creativity…When we’re creative, we feel we are living more fully than during the rest of life.”
While I’m not sure I agree that creativity is the central source of meaning in our lives, I do agree with the rest of this statement, and I can easily look back on times when I’m being creative and see that “living more fully” feeling that creating gives me.
Now, to be clear, part of this process is certainly redefining creativity, as Amy mentioned in her introduction. Creativity isn’t just about painting a blank canvas or knitting sweaters for your whole family; it’s the way we approach our everyday chores and activities as well. Everyone who speaks to the importance of creativity agrees that we can embrace creativity without embracing traditional arts and crafts.
In Sparks of Genius, Michele Root-Bernstein expands on this even further: “It’s too bad that when considering what endeavors may be creative, people immediately think of the arts. It’s the problem-solving processes they exhibit rather than the content or craft that make them so. Just about anything we do can be addressed in a creative manner, from housecleaning to personal hobbies to work.”
But the other part of the process is acknowledging that creativity in its traditional formats is also a worthwhile pursuit, even if we’re not acclaimed artists.
There’s a reason that adult coloring books have become so popular these days: it’s because they give us permission to sit down and meet this need we all have in a way that feels worthwhile (because there are articles on the stress relief it provides and, after all, they’re marketed for adults, not for kids!).
Coloring, sending a handwritten note, taking lessons in piano or dance, meeting a friend to paint pottery—we need to make time for these creative pursuits in addition to learning to think creatively and innovatively in our everyday life.
Making room for the creative fills a portion of our soul that other activities don’t: it helps us find peace and calm in the midst of chaos, energizes us when we’re feeling worn down, and allows us to take care of ourselves and fill up our cups when we feel like we don’t have anything left to give to others.
That’s why, even though we might approach creativity differently, I do believe that we were all made to create, and it’s worth taking the time to figure out what that should look like for us as individuals.
ACTIVITIES & QUESTIONS
- On a scale of 1 to 10 where 1 is not at all and 10 is your brain on Pinterest, how creative do you consider yourself to be when it comes to traditional arts and crafts?
- How about in your everyday approach to tasks, problems and relationships?
- Does the way you view your own creativity prevent you from trying new things? How easy is it for you to make time for traditional creative pursuits?