If we are willing to put our creative work out there – into the world in some way – it will be judged and ranked.
What if our book doesn’t make it to a bestseller list, our painting is not accepted by a gallery, our blog doesn’t show up on a Google page one, or our movie doesn’t get invited to a film festival?
One consequence is we may feel deflated, and question our worth as a creator.
Elaine Aron declares that “low self-esteem is about power and influence, the result of rank. Like other social animals, we constantly rank ourselves among others–competing and comparing.”
From her post Ranking and Linking, For Better and For Worse.
That sort of ranking may be true for anyone who is creating, but the emotional impact can be particularly intense for highly sensitive people.
In her book The Undervalued Self, Dr. Aron writes that “in situations in which they are being observed or tested, they may do worse than others and worse than they themselves expect… Further, the highly sensitive are more affected by feedback. They observe and learn from their mistakes more than others do, and this requires them to care about their mistakes more than others.”
From post: Elaine Aron on High Sensitivity and the Undervalued Self – which includes a video by Dr. Aron.
Aron also thinks many people “have squashed their creativity because of their low self-esteem; many more had it squashed for them, before they could ever know about. But we all have it… One of the best ways to make life meaningful for an HSP (highly sensitive person) is to use that creativity.”
From post: Elaine Aron on Creativity and Sensitivity.
Suffocating under success
Tama Kieves wrote about being a graduate with honors from Harvard Law School and working in a “huge, elite law firm” but feeling “desperate to be free, exhausted in my good, safe job, dying of meaninglessness, suffocating the life out of my creative soul.”
She notes a friend asked her a vital question: “If you’re this successful doing work you don’t love, what could you do with work you do love?”
Kieves says she “decided to answer that question with my life. I left the practice of law to undergo the art, practice, and baptism of listening to myself in this lifetime.”
She wrote about that “amazing journey of transition” in her first book, This Time I Dance! Creating the Work You Love.
Of course, being a successful attorney – or other professional – implies having a level of resources to finance your “break out” or “break away” and honor an inner impulse to be more creative – but the more important issue is how you think of yourself, and what beliefs you have around being a creative person.
In her newer book, Kieves writes,
“As a creative individual, visionary leader, independent thinker, soul-healer, or entrepreneur, it’s your birthright to utilize other talents, insights, resources, and innate strategies. You are not made to fit into the world, make it in the world, but to remake the world, heal the world, and illuminate new choices and sensibilities.”
She adds, “The problem isn’t that inspired individuals can’t face ‘reality.’ The problem is that they do— and they let it eclipse their instinct and excellence… In every age, alternative, bold souls have doubted themselves, have been criticized, and have struggled to forge an outlet for their brilliance. But it’s only because they gave ‘the world’ more power than their creativity.
“If you trust your creativity, your inspired inclination, you will discover a whole new way to flourish.”
From her book Inspired & Unstoppable.