Creativity: 5 Ways To Shut It Down

by Barry Kerr and Kristine Gay

Are you creative? For some, it’s an easy answer: “Yes! All the time.” For others, the question feels intimidating: “Sometimes, maybe, but not compared to others.” Does that second answer sound like you?

At times, creativity can feel competitive. Art, music, and other contests judge people’s creations. And if judged very high, someone just might make money and become famous. Those are the people that are truly creative, right?

Well, here’s the secret about creativity: It’s not about comparisons. Creative urges that focus on comparisons actually morph into imitations. That’s not innately a bad thing. Imitating can improve technique and skill, and very good imitators can also make money and become famous, but it’s not the same of creating.

Most of us shut down our own creativity by confusing the two. Let’s say you get a creative inspiration; a song, a dance, a recipe, anything. It might be in a spontaneous moment like singing a song while washing dishes or dancing at a party. Or it might come in an ongoing series of imaginings that seem to be building on a vision of a more “designed” creation. Either way, you can feel it in you. Something about it feels uniquely personal and the thought of being able to express it into action and form feels fun and enlivening. That is your passion. That is the wellspring of your joy.

However, what happens next is critical to whether you let that creative juice flow outward or get bottled up inside you. If your thoughts turn toward comparisons or judgments, watch out. You’re likely to lose your juice. Here are a few examples of typical life-sucking thoughts you might have:

“People are watching.”

“How embarrassing.”

“But look how good he is.”

“No one’s going to like this.”

“I wish I knew how.”

“I’m not talented.”

All of these thoughts are ways your ego can shut down your life force and disconnect from your soul. Yes, it’s your ego that is afraid of being judged as not good enough or selfish. But, your soul wants to be expressed without concern for judgment and comparison. Your soul has a beautiful intention that only your ego, your unique personality can express into the world. Nobody else can possibly do it like you can.

  1. Do you need to know what your soul intention is before you risk acting on it? No! Just feel the potential for fun and joy, then act. Follow your bliss.
  1. Do you need to know exactly how to go about doing it? No! Trust the thrill of delight you get by taking action, taking risk. Learn as you go. It’s ok to fumble.
  1. Do other people need to enjoy you as much as you do? No! Some will, some won’t. Who cares? If you aren’t enjoying it, then most certainly nobody else will either. Often, there doesn’t even need to be anyone else present for you to be creative. You can dance in a crowd or dance alone at home. Either way, it’s about you enjoying your expression. Some creativity is actually better done alone, like writing or painting.
  1. Does it matter how well you do? No! Your soul doesn’t care about winning. But if competition tends engage your ego to fire up your creativity, then use it. Your soul wants to be felt, by you and others. When you are authentically in your passionate expression, feeling your joy in it, that’s what matters. Some may judge you as “less than” and frown. Others will connect to your joy and passion and feel it as a gift of your unique expression, undistracted by comparisons. That’s the real “win.”
  1. But, isn’t the purpose of self-growth/spirituality to get rid of the ego? No! Spirituality leads us to know that our ego is a temporary illusion of self, not who we really are. Once we know our true self (our eternal soul), we practice surrendering the ego to serve the soul. However, by strengthening the ego, including our personality, we give our soul a more powerful instrument through which to express. Creativity develops our ego in alignment with our soul.

Follow your bliss and create more joy in your life.


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