At some point, modern thought leaders had to listen to and value their own creativity to form their theories and opinions that were outside their culturally acceptable boxes. They had to weave what they knew with what they felt and go beyond the conformity edict from their schooling. And thus we had the Civil Rights movement, Jung’s counter theories to Freud’s, and Sandra Lee’s Semi-Homemade food revolution.
When we acknowledge how we feel about our world around us and share it, we find a comfort and a trust within ourselves and in this experience, we are rewarded with praise and wonder. This is a basic premise for our existence and the magic of creativity.
Yet the outright fear I see in people’s faces when I mention the idea of allowing themselves to be creative is alarming. The general population is not supported in being true to themselves. Instead, they are told that if they do as they are told, stand in line, fit in, and prepare for the worse, they will live safe lives. Somehow safe became happy. And so we sell our individuality down the river for a promise of security.
But fitting in feels like crap. It’s in the company of the people you know you belong with that you feel most at home regardless of whether you are related to them. Your values are the same, you see each other as you truly are, and you call them community.
The world isn’t a community and it does not support individuality. Sure, unique creative people are rewarded with movie and music contracts to entertain the masses but they still had to prove their creativity and uniqueness beforehand. They had to strike someone as profitable too. We ironically crave to see it and are equally terrified by it.
What happens when we express our true selves and become vulnerable? We fear that we will be rejected even outcast. It seems a sort of death. But creating has no bearing on our daily survival right? But then again, how can I ever trust people who like my false offering of myself? I mistrust those who do not know the true me and if I am not allowing for the true me to be seen, I will stay alone and suspicious of the world I long to belong to.
We are pack animals. Being alone only serves to make us nuttier. Perfectionism is only about us and keeps us from connecting with others. And connecting with others is where we truly live. Where we can find hope is in our collective humanity when we hear others telling the same stories we could tell of fear and loneliness and our experience with human drama.
When we do not practice our own individuality, we feel disoriented and disconnected from ourselves and there is no reflection of us in the world. This causes us strife and anxiety. Our purpose here is unclear and we just end up surviving and grieving what we don’t understand is our birthright to give ourselves. Not allowing ourselves to be creative and instead to search for ourselves by shopping in a discount store leaves us with a feeling of crazed hopelessness.
So where are the psychological statistics that support this need to shift our educational practices? Where are the warnings that tell us we are not what we buy! Nowhere because they aren’t profitable. And people do as they know. So I guess the change is up to the people. In fact, it’s always been up to each of us.
We can not possibly make any lasting differences in our world if we don’t prioritize our mental health first. And a society that considers anxieties and low self-esteem as a norm seems pretty powerless to make any changes. We need to start by trusting ourselves. If that takes a few anti-anxiety meds, group meetings, and some really ugly artwork, so be it.
Once you see what you can break free of, you can never truly see things the same way again. And your hope and self-trust spreads as you reach your hand out to help the next person see a little light in their dark world. Hope is a gift you give yourself and one you can eventually help to give your world. It is my hope that just one person today has a perspective shift on their need to create and thus find out who they are in their world and what they need to shift to support this change.
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