To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong.
-Joseph Chilton Pearce
We are all born to be creative. Imaginative. Resourceful, artistic, innovative.
We come hardwired with innate desires and unique aspirations buried deep within us.
As children we believe these ideas can and will be expressed in our lives. We’re young and innocent and untainted. Why wouldn’t our creativity manifest itself?
Creativity isn’t simply art or music or film-making. It’s any fresh approach to a particular problem…an innovative solution to issues deeply impacting our lives.
Creativity isn’t bestowed on the fortunate and withheld from the less fortunate. It is an immediate deposit planted deep within every living human.
Losing Touch with our Creative Nature
So, what lies behind the reality that as many of us gain maturity and experience in life we simultaneously lose touch with our creativity and unique desires that originated in us as children and young adults?
A little over a year ago I began looking deeper into why there seemed to be a lid on the full expression of my own creativity.
I felt I had limited access to the parts of me that cried out to be discovered, expressed and enjoyed. I longed to freely express myself artistically with confidence. So, I began asking myself and trusted spiritual leaders why I wasn’t able to access the creativity I knew was bubbled beneath the surface.
The longer and closer I looked, the more barriers I found blocking my creative voice.
Not the typical barriers we naturally think of such as procrastination, busyness or lack of inspiration.
No, I’m talking about the barriers that cause those barriers.
9 Barriers of Creativity
These are barriers so deep that, if neglected, will continually prevent authentic access to the creative realm:
1. Unforgiveness. It is a prison and a poison. If ruins healthy bodies and valuable relationships, imagine what it does to us creatively. The unwillingness or inability to forgive is the ultimate form of punishment and manipulation toward someone else and self-protection for us. Unfortunately, creativity doesn’t thrive at its fullest when tangled up with those behaviors. It needs freedom to flow. “To err is human; to forgive divine.”
2. Insecurity. A lack of self-confidence is a creativity killer. Even if no one believes in our cause or our ideas, we must believe in ourselves. Interestingly enough, a strong conviction and passion will actually garner the support we desire from those around us. But that approval comes from our own security first.
3. Approval Seeking. Pursuing creative success to impress someone will never equal authentic creativity. Ulterior motives are easy to spot. In the same way, not attempting creative pursuits because of possible criticism or disapproval is just as inauthentic. The comforting reality is that the right people will approve of us. The rest won’t matter.
4. Jealousy. Jealousy is such a consuming and damaging emotion. When we focus on other people’s success and good fortune we don’t have energy for own. There’s enough success for everyone and our uniquely creative voice will also bring good fortune to and through our lives to the rest of the world. That’s the key.
5. Lies. We all succumb to different lies in that set up shop in our minds. Lies hijack the truth and grossly alter reality. They can have a devastating affect on creativity as our minds try to navigate through the muddied waters of inspiration and hope. But there’s good news: it’s possible to decide daily not entertain any lies. I’ve slowly learned to just think the opposite of painful thoughts that come into my mind.
6. Unbelief. Refusing to believe that we are talented, loved, successful, unique (you fill in the blank) is unbelief. And it is toxic. Despite what we may have been told or learned to believe on our own, unbelief is a self-fulfilling prophesy. What we believe usually ends up happening.
7. Bitterness. Bitterness is relentless anguish, grief and disappointment. It is a detour to the life intended for us. It consumes precious energy that should be used to fuel creative pursuits. We are not designed to be victims. Whatever has happened in the past didn’t’ happen in vain. Those beautiful lessons will empower our cause.
8. Criticism. The way we speak about each other is an indication of how we really feel about ourselves. Criticism is a picture into our inner thoughts – and an opportunity to make ourselves feel better at the expense of someone else. But creativity thrives on the uniqueness we each contribute. Everyone’s voice is exceptional and without match. So what’s the point of criticizing? Do we believe the lie that we aren’t good enough?
9. Rebellion. The world operates on divine order. We are all accountable to someone. Bosses, parents, spouses. But rebellion is as old as the human race. It is the result of distrust, pride and disrespect. Yes, we’ve all been the targets of rogue authority that has used its power in abusive manners at some point. But something happens in the unseen realm when we continue to submit in humility. We will eventually experience a level of freedom unachievable in our rebellion. If such freedom is released, imagine how submission to authority will impact our creative voice. I can say without reservation that it has repeatedly worked in my life. (Please note, I am not speaking about extremely abusive situations.)
If you’re experiencing what feels like a lid on your creativity and you haven’t known why, I encourage you to honestly assess if any of these barriers have a stranglehold on you.
Because the bottom line is this…creativity cannot remain hidden when our lives pulsate with hope, truth and freedom.
Let’s discuss and encourage one another! Are any of these barriers stifling your creativity?
PRAIRIE GODMOTHERS says
“The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron is a sure-fire way to name the barriers that prevent one from their most creative or whole self. Sounds very Oprah-ish but this book, especially when read and acted on in a workshop setting, holds the key to the kingdom. Many a self fulfilled person and numerous entrepreneurs credit “The Artist’s Way” with helping them find their way.
The result of my experience with finding it and naming it became the pathway for me to create and launch my own earth friendly company, Prairie Godmothers.
The Cosmic Soaper says
I agree with Prairie Godmothers. “The Artist’s Way” was extremely instrumental in helping me unlock my own creativity. Loved this blog. Much food for thought. Andrea, can you help me understand what you were saying in #9, Rebellion? I wasn’t real sure what you meant by “But something happens in the unseen realm when we continue to submit in humility. We will eventually experience a level of freedom unachievable in our rebellion. If such freedom is released, imagine how submission to authority will impact our creative voice.” I always struggle with rebellion. I feel in some ways it’s a negative use of my energy. But when I see injustices, I tend to get pulled in because I want to join with others for a higher purpose.
I actually understand #9 Rebellion also. I was seen as smart throughout school, but, out of rebellion to prove that nobody really knew me, I sabotaged myself. I think my next two struggles are Insecurity and Unbelief. I desire greatly to be creative, but see myself as a left brained person that has trouble expressing my right brain side. Probably not as true as I think.
In addition to “The Artist’s Way” which is on our bookshelf, I also own a copy of “Art and Fear” by David Bayles and Ted Orland as was assigned to me in a college choreography class. I haven’t been fearless enough to read it yet. But I’m working on it, and this article is helping!
I’d really love to be able to share some of your articles via facebook or twitter!
Anne-Marie Bilella says
Wow! Love that thought provoking post!!! Without creativity we cannot grow and live life to the fullest extent. As children we are extremely creative but tend to lose it as adults in our everyday busy lives and we must continue to be creative and not dull or boring.
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Tsandi Crew says
Number 1.. unforgiving. I am interpreting that to mean we need to forgive ourselves when we are sometimes wrong?
cynthia uribe says
I love this! And absolutely the perfect day to receive it. I have lived through some severe trauma’s in my life. Not the least of which are the loss of my two precious daughters. Always I was hampered in life by all of these traps and always my creativity was stifled, even though my work has always been as an artist. This summer, I found forgiveness for the perpetrator and so was able to forgive myself. I hadn’t been able to write or create anything for 6 years now. The very next day after I found that forgiveness, my muse came back. Suddenly stories were filling my head, needing to be written. Colors took on a new vibrancy stirring me to play with paper to create books. I’ve had some interruptions. More challenges in this area of my life. More forgiveness in other areas, a letter of forgiveness to write. And I was reaching for answers when I opened this post. Absolutely perfect! Thanks for sharing.
It is a pretty great article, yet, HOW do I overcome my own obstacles? It is one thing to know (I’ve known these things about myself for years, even decades), yet how can I overcome them?
Denise D. Young says
Great post! Another commenter mentioned Julie Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way,” which I am in the process of reading right now. I love it. I would call it a creativity workbook, helping us overcome the barriers Angela mentions. “Approval seeking” can be a big barrier for me, personally. We all want to be seen a certain way, and true creativity is a messy, unpredictable process. I’m a writer, so creativity is a vital part of my life, but there are so many ways to express our creative side, whether it’s blogging, cooking, or coming up with new ways to live frugally and sustainably!