Ten Reasons We Fail to be Creative and Authentic
Updated: Feb 12
We have so many forces that work against a creative and authentic life. I wanted to really think about that this week. What stops me, what gets in the way, and what I observe gets in the way for others.
This is a journey. Some days we may be more in touch with our process and authenticity than others. What do we need to put in place in our lives to more fully integrate the creative/authentic with everyday existence?
Can we adjust our situation and our thinking enough that we can foster our creative journey and bring more authentic expression?
While there are myriad reasons why we might fail ourselves when it comes to creative expression, I believe there are some themes I see over and over again at the top of the list. I can’t say I have a solution to all these but sometimes just naming the issue helps us move past the block.
Ten: We work fulltime/have a fulltime business AND have outside obligations – family, gym, pets etc.
Speaking for myself, I have a fulltime job to which I devote 40 plus hours of my time in exchange for a paycheck. When I get home, I am often hungry – if I don’t feel up to cooking, I might go to a restaurant and have someone else cook. Or, maybe today I’ll go to the gym for yoga or to run the treadmill, then eat something quickly. By the time I finish either of those, it may be quite late. I am getting tired and just want to veg in front of the TV, not get out my computer and start working on my novel. If you have kids or pets, they probably need feeding, baths, walks and attention. Then we fall asleep and start over. We’re lucky if we get to work on ourselves, read blogs, books or write and be creative.
Often times if we run a business, we are so worried about making ends meet our lives are secondary.
Creativity? Maybe one day…
We embroil ourselves in drama of some sort or another. We are dating sociopaths. We participate in family squabbles. We hate our jobs and spend a lot of time worrying about that, writing about it on social media or working on job hunting. We are so tired with the drama and BS, we allow the energy of others to wrap up in our own, and damage our link to the creative. Easy to be “I’m too tired to think (after that argument and all those emotions),” then get out the computer, pen & paper, paints etc. and work on our inspirations.
Eight: Delving Deeply into Our Authentic Voice is Scary/Might Rock the Boat
I know that I have suffered and still suffer from this one. I go in and out of my turtle shell on a regular basis. Sometimes I am willing to speak up and rock boats and other times my sea sickness is at an all-time high and I simply don’t want to be noticed. We don’t have a lot of support for being truly authentic in our world. Whole structures are set-up sociologically and otherwise to ensure we maintain our appearances and keep people in their illusions.
Just look at the way most people dismissed the charges brought against Bill Cosby by women he had reportedly drugged and assaulted. We just didn’t want to face it culturally and the women themselves potentially spent years questioning if they were not complicit or if coming out publically would make it difficult to make ends meet, create more trouble than it was worth and more.
If I speak authentically or write about my thoughts, experiences, issues, heart will people judge me and/or will I have to deal with emotional reactions and public diatribe? Can being authentic negatively affect my career, my life, my desire to just get along? It sure can. We sometimes sense and very much know that our decision to choose authenticity over fakeness, to not care what others think has ramifications and they aren’t always going to feel good. Nevertheless, the cost of being inauthentic and suppressing our knowing, is far greater – whether we choose to address it or not.
Seven: We’d Rather Just Tune Out
How many of us have gotten through a work week and chosen food, booze, bar hopping, movies, laughing with friends or a combination of all of them in order to “tune-out” of intensity? To not focus on all those emotions or issues like bills, bad relationships, our commitment issues, the planet, our world events, the election (etc. etc.) and we’re willing to have a headache on Saturday to keep it going.
When we’re in these states, even if we think it contributes to our creativity or tell ourselves we’re much more open and authentic that way – the fact is, true inspiration and spiritual authenticity rarely happens when tuned out. We’re kidding ourselves. There is a reason we don’t meet connected, loving, authentic people in a bar – we meet hook-ups. We really aren’t connecting with the heart and opening our soul while doing JagerBombs. Sorry.
Authentic creativity and conversation in which we really build trust with others, over time as well as our own creative triumphs depends on us being in tune. Feeling deeply. Being vulnerable. Recognizing the activity of shame in our lives and the limits it places on us. We are open. We are honest. We don’t let our fears get in the way for long and we push through when they do.
Still – how much easier it is to tune out.
Six: Money Issues/Relationship Issues/Career Issues
I categorize this separately from the “drama” because in essence these issues are very specific, hamper us in all kinds of ways and are often mistaken for “true calling.”
In other words, people who have a demanding career may be outwardly successful but it can be used to avoid creativity and authenticity in favor of status in society. Some people may avoid their creativity their whole lives and wonder why they burn out or feel empty and/or resort to #7 in order to keep going.
Many of us creatives take on the archetype of the Starving Artist. When we are “starving” and can’t make ends meet we are too busy trying to make enough to pay bills, eat and take care of basics to really open our hearts to creative expression. Sometimes we have to take demeaning jobs or deal with family members who can’t quite figure out why we aren’t ‘making it.” We don’t even know sometimes what creates these blocks to abundance, it is simply something we learn to deal with, fight with, feel shame about etc.
If you are working two jobs, who has time to write blogs, finish a novel or get a collection of paintings together? Heck, as stated in #1, sometimes one job and some other stuff going on is enough. What’s more, when you are fighting for your life, it is hard to stay inspired because so much of what it takes to be inspired – taking care of our health, exercising, taking time to meditate, enjoying wholesome food and going to art and music shows or taking classes is beyond our financial ability.
Do I even need to mention how we might also hide in a dysfunctional relationship? Or listen to negativity from family, friends or significant others about art? Maybe we have a group of friends who help us with all these avoidance tactics and never really set a high bar for ourselves – they aren’t authentic and don’t care so we don’t have to – even if we strongly desire to have more.
Five: Other Issues We Don’t Talk About or Address
When we aren’t truly authentic with ourselves, it is hard to authentic with others. Similarly, if we don’t feel safe discussing our creativity, or true thoughts or our feelings with others – we’ll end up cutting off our intuition, our voice, and our drive in order to avoid being “found out.”
We’ll have a little wall around our heart so we can protect the Truth. Unfortunately, it often means we forget our True Purpose. For a short time, or forever.
Four: We Put Others on a Pedestal
I have been in that place in which a teacher or famous guru/ business person who stood in their own power, was so compelling, I figured I just could stay hidden. My voice would never match up to their amazing prowess in the board room, their writing ability, their capacity to speak in front of sold out crowds or sell their art. Whatever it was, I made them bigger and better than me and used that as an excuse to not show up – to myself or even the world.
Three: Other Higher Priorities
Last year, half way through my MBA and I couldn’t stay well. I would get sick, get better but still be hacking and coughing and then get sick again. I finally started working with several healers to get a handle on my immune system challenges. My weekly acupuncture appointments coupled with BodyTalk sessions and massage as well as just simply dealing with the health symptoms themselves, ensured I was too preoccupied for artistic endeavors. Nothing was shameful about this process, however I had to recognize that it was a year of healing, processing and shifting which took precedence over the other.
Maybe sometimes, life just gets in the way and we have to accept it for a time.
Two: You Live in an “unsupportive” Location or High Profile Town
Another area where it is easy to make excuses or even have legitimate blocks to work through is living in a city/town/place that either doesn’t support your creative authenticity or is so full of #4, it is distracting. I am thinking the LA, Austin, New York City, Minneapolis, Paris, London…anywhere known for artists, musicians, high profile endeavors, “who-you-know.” The other places are small towns where you can’t be yourself, places where no one leaves or changes much or people are downright antagonistic about your True Self.
I have been in Minneapolis for six years. I was struck immediately about the proliferation of local “celebrities” who are well-known fashion designers, writers, musicians, DJs, artists, brewers or weirdos. Everyone knows who they are. They run trivia nights, have well-established DJ brands, own beer labels, look hot in the latest fashions, show up and everyone turns heads.
If you are new, haven’t grown up here or aren’t vetted, you’ll likely be overlooked. You can say you do art, write, design etc. and people will be sure to mention the name of one or more local celebrities who already do it better and have a legitimate standing. Maybe you meet the celebrity who is likely to need your support – financially or otherwise - but won’t actually contribute in kind. In the case of the small town, they’ll point you in the direction of a “real job.”
One: Letting any of the Previous Nine Things Get in the Way of Your Dream
I can’t stress this enough – all of these and more are REAL. We fight them daily. We succumb. I will probably succumb to one or more of these several times this week alone.
We hope none of them kill us so we can at least have a shot at creating. We are in a world where people are more about the mask, game, drama, stuck, dead, dark places and less about the True.
A guy living in the building across the street killed a woman and injured another when he snapped the other night and riddled his apartment with bullets. I saw the remnants of the glass with bullet holes. One of his bullets hit our building. If it had gone through the window, he may have killed more people. If this fight with his demons took place outside while I was walking from my car, he could have killed me and other bystanders who were neighbors of his.
Still, despite all this insanity, we are creators. We have dreams. We came here to fulfill these dreams not get mired in muck.
Whatever it takes – create. Push past the negative situations and voices. Make time even if it’s a minute a day. If your local scene is not that into you, find one online or in another town. Protect and nurture your creations because it is that process that will change the world.
Pick one of these areas I wrote about and try one thing this week that turns it around, even for a moment. Love big. Dream bigger. Because you are worth it!