I have often admired prominent people in the arts who have unique, even flamboyant personalities and appearances, and seem, at least in public, to be courageously different.
And one of my areas of self-limiting thinking is to say to myself something like, “They must have had an upbringing or genes that lets them be so forthright and assertive.”
But of course, as much as genes may play a role in personalty and anxiety, we are amazingly pliant and resilient, and able to grow and change.
One aspect of that change is whether and how much we are willing to face our fears.
Inner Creative Battles
[Photo: Emily Browning as Babydoll in the movie Sucker Punch (2011), who has been put in a mental institution by her abusive stepfather. Retreating to a dream world as a coping strategy, she uses a katana sword and a handgun to battle giant samurai warriors, among other foes and inner fears.]
In his book The War of Art: Winning the Inner Creative Battle, Steven Pressfield writes about a number of challenges we may face as creative people, including our fear that we can transcend the mundane, to “become the person we sense in our hearts we truly are.”
He thinks “This is the most terrifying prospect a human being can face,” because it removes them (they imagine) from all the “tribal inclusions” their “psyche is wired for and has been for fifty million years.”
And it is also about being exceptional, he writes:
“We fear discovering that we are more than we think we are. More than our parents/children/teachers think we are.
“We fear that we actually possess the talent that our still, small voice tells us. That we actually have the guts, the perseverance, the capacity.”
[Photo from stevenpressfield.com]
Creativity coach and author Eric Maisel also writes about battling creative blocks, especially limiting thinking.
“When a thought that doesn’t serve you lingers, actively combat it. Some thoughts just won’t go away. Maybe it’s ‘No one wanted my first novel, and my second novel is an even more difficult sell, so why in heaven’s name am I writing it?’
“You may not be able to get rid of this thought simply by snapping your fingers. Then do more than snap your fingers. Fight the thought tooth and nail. Maybe you’ll have to write out the ten reasons why this book may be wanted. Maybe you’ll have to chat seriously with yourself about self-publishing. You must battle brooding, clinging, disabling thoughts — or else you will be thinking them regularly.”
The above is an excerpt from the “Identity – Ego – Self Esteem” section of “Developing Multiple Talents” – read more About the book.