Updated: Jun 17, 2021
I believe we all have some kind of art within us, longing to be expressed.
I’m not just talking about making clay sculptures and paintings on canvases, here. Art comes in countless forms, some of which we don’t even realize qualifies as art! It is potentially anything we create, from putting words on a page, to planting a garden. If we make or put together something that wasn’t there before, using the imagination, then we are creating art. We are all artists using our own chosen mediums.
Maybe you have never thought of yourself as an artist. I’ll tell you honestly, it took me forty years to finally accept that word to describe myself. Artists seemed almost mythical in magnitude for the astounding works they’ve achieved, easily diminishing anything of value in my own work. But isn’t that part of what keeps many of us from proudly creating things—the exclusive concept that an artist is someone like Leonardo daVinci or Rodan, or at least someone “good enough” at making art that they get paid for it? (Society’s unfortunate focus on financial return to validate value is a whole blog unto itself.)
As children, we are moved to make art naturally, creating things with color, paper, Play Doh and building blocks, because it is intrinsically human to express ourselves. But what I think happens to a lot of us is that somehow that creativity gets squashed, either by authority figures discouraging us, by social pressures, or even self-judgement and competition with others. Whatever happens, at some point many of us stop regarding what we do artistically as unique and valuable in its own way. And from that moment, we begin the arduous task of “growing up,” often regarding using our creativity and imagination as irresponsible or a waste of time.
But what if I told you that this is commonly one of the first big losses that most of us experience early on in our lives...losing the confidence in our own artistic vision, and the freedom of expressing whatever it is that we think, feel or sense by creating? We learn that making art, imagining and playing is something children do, and we stop doing it. Some of us even begin to wall off our “feeling” selves because self-expression in our own personal way is discouraged.
There are so many books written, trying to encourage creativity, because that is the often buried genius inside each of us. No one creates the same thing in the same way as anyone else. We are all personally wired for our own unique brand of expression, and there is so much more to it than just whether we find the outcome of what we make pleasing or not.
Art is a way to fall in love with what comes from deep inside of us.
If we look closely at what we create, we can start to understand more and more about our subconscious. By noticing the colors we choose, the shapes, and the weight of and quality of the lines we make, we start to get a sense of the emotions we felt when we created the art and how we related to our reality in the moment of its creation. There are no accidents in what marks we make, even if we personally don’t like how they look. There is meaning behind them whether intended or not. Our creative expression reflects the state we are in. This makes art a unique window into our psyches where we may find understanding and self-acceptance. It can bring our focus to feelings that are beneath the surface and thoughts we have not reconciled. Creating art is truly a gateway into personal healing.
So what happens if we search for and claim our own expressive rights in whatever medium we choose to create in, and make some art no matter what anyone else may think about it? What if we stop telling ourselves that we “can’t draw” or that we “don’t have talent”...or that we “don’t have time?” I’ll tell you one thing for certain, we will have made something in the world that wasn’t there before we did it! That alone is an exciting reason to create. But more than that, claiming our art empowers us in the process of personal creation, bringing new excitement to what and why we make things. It gives us access to our child-like joy which can open us up to more happiness. And most importantly, it allows us access to that precious gift of intuitive wisdom we entered this world with.
It’s never too late to start again. So, if you’ve been putting off something creative that you’ve wanted to do because it seemed like an irresponsible waste of time when there’s so much more you “should” do, then that’s an indicator that your inner critic is running the show, and there’s a great opportunity to re-discover the creativity you were naturally born with. So take a dance class, or pull out that old set of colored pencils that have been collecting dust in your cabinet. Now is the time to spend some quality time with YOU and your own creative genius. The artist within is waiting!