For most of my life, I have been surrounded by creative people – with many friends in the theater, a family of writers, clients working in the arts, and living in one of the cultural centers of the world, Manhattan. One of the things I have personally struggled with is feeling the need to compare my own creativity to that of my professional circle, sometimes even holding back in my own creative self-expression. I love singing, drawing, and writing, but I sometimes catch myself in disempowering stories, such as “you will never be as good as X, so why bother,” or that people will laugh at my attempts. Fortunately, over the past few years, I have been able to silence the saboteur and let my creativity fly.
Here are 4 ways I access my creativity and overcome the comparison trap:
Practice mindfulness and meditation.
Often, when we’re overstimulated by our thoughts and the external world, it interferes with our natural ability to express our creative ideas. Take time out to meditate and still the rough waters of your mind. You may find guided meditations or music to be most helpful in bringing your thoughts to stillness – or you may find that silence is the best environment to tap into yourself. Whichever method works best for you, know that practicing at least 5-10 minutes of meditation per day will enhance your creative potential, as you create the space for your authentic self to be heard.
There’s no better way to get creative than to, well, get creative! A lot of what blocks people creatively is simply a fear of failure. If you’re concerned with perfection, then chances are you won’t be putting yourself out there to explore and try new things – and potentially ignite your creative fire. So, establish a space of exploration where you commit to dabbling in a variety of creative endeavors. Take that ceramics class. Sign up for a writing workshop. Volunteer to help paint the community mural. When you enter a space of playful exploration, your creative fire will have room to burn bright!
Get into nature.
There’s no better place to kindle the flame of creativity like the expansiveness of nature. If you’re feeling blocked or uninspired, set aside a day to spend in the forest, by the beach… or wherever makes you feel most energized and inspired. Set aside your mental blocks, and simply allow yourself to enjoy being nourished by nature and connected to something far greater than yourself. Often, fully immersing in nature can awaken a new sense of vitality and possibility, which will then fuel your creative endeavors.
Seek creative stimulation.
Maybe you already have some ideas about what makes you feel creatively inspired. Do you walk out of music festivals or art galleries feeling alive with possibility? Maybe reading a particular author makes your soul tingle with the desire to create your own works of writing. Immerse yourself in creative environments that open your heart and mind to new ideas and ways of being. And if you find a ritual that stimulates your creative genius, make that a part of your creative process.
Comparison can also hold us back from making meaningful connections. For more tips on how to connect with others plus a free chapter of my book The Connection Challenge, click here.