Being creative, innovative and developing your own individualistic style are core self-actualizing mindsets and behaviours. They take commitment and self belief.
It’s almost impossible to self-actualize, reach your highest potential and thrive when you’re constantly looking over your shoulder to see what everyone else is doing and then judging yourself in relation to this and adjusting your behaviour accordingly. Causing you to just blend in with everyone else. It’s one of the biggest distractions and blocks to connecting with and cultivating your creativity. It’s also one of the biggest things that will hold you back and keep you stuck at your current level.
Not honouring your creative self eventually leads to unhappiness, frustration and boredom.
If you’re feeling disconnected from your imagination and own inspirations and creative ideas, then it’s likely that your creativity was shut down at some stage. Maybe for you this happened when you were growing up? Parents and teachers can unknowingly squash the natural exuberance and creativity that children love to display, particularly if it’s triggering their own disowned spontaneous, creative and more individualistic selves.
This can play out in many different ways. The ambitious parent who was never allowed to pursue their own creative interests growing up gets annoyed and critical when they see their own child expressing similar desires and discourages their creative efforts – without even realizing this is happening. The frustrated artist who begrudgingly teaches for a living because they can’t survive off their artwork alone, unintentionally criticizes and squashes the natural talents of a gifted student.
Or maybe it’s happened in your professional life? A common scenario here can be the toxic, envious colleague who sends personally attacking feedback on a presentation you made because it didn’t fit with their idea of how you should have ‘done it’. Or being bullied or stonewalled in the workplace because it’s a ‘tall poppy syndrome’ culture where anyone who displays vitality, innovation and creative potential gets stripped down.
Creativity can get shut down and stifled for a whole range of reasons.
If someone’s criticized or attacked your creative efforts in the past and it’s been keeping you stuck, then it’s time to leave those experiences behind and start telling yourself a new story around this.
Connecting back to your childhood is a potent way to reconnect with your creative, uncensored self.
Here’s an example of what I mean by this. Growing up, I loved playing out in nature and creating make believe places using nature as my props. My grandparents had a beautiful big willow tree in their garden and we had a huge pine tree and gum trees in our backyard at home. I also loved dressing up with friends and being in school plays and did Art all through school. So for me, being out in beautiful nature and being around anything to do with art and performance are potent ways to reconnect with my creative side.
Self-Actualizing Mindsets – Self Reflective Practice
Create some space and time to reflect on what you most enjoyed doing as a child.
How did you like to express yourself through creativity and play?
Where did you like to play growing up?
What were your favourite games?
How did you best like to express yourself, your ideas and your imagination?
Patterns such as suppressing creative self-expression, people pleasing, always comparing yourself to others and being overly outer-focused instead of inner-focused get passed down through generations.
Until you decide to break the pattern and start doing life on your own terms.
Where do you need to lead more and have the courage to express yourself in ways that your authentic self can shine through?
Are your environments supporting your creative self-expression or do you need to surround yourself with new, more like-minded people who want you to succeed?
When you honour and invest in your creative self and develop your own unique style, you inspire others to do so as well.