Have You Given Yourself Permission to Be Creative?

Silhouette of girl and doveI was lucky enough to be raised by a father who valued the arts. The son of two Irish emigrants he inherited the Irish love of story and valued the magic of words. He would come home in the evening and read the plays of Shakespeare, the novels of Thomas Hardy and the poems of William Butler Yeats to name a few. He would put the black vinyl disks on our small record player spinning out the music of Beethoven, Berlioz and Mozart. When in high school I showed interest in drawing he would bring home books from the library for me.

It wasn’t until decades later when I started working as a creativity coach and I discovered that few of my clients had ever been given permission to embrace their creative gifts that I realized just what a wonderful gift my father had given me. The fact that he valued the arts showed me by example that they were important and to be valued. He implicitly gave me permission to be creative and to follow those impulses.

I also have found even with my clients who are already expressing themselves creatively that if their parents thought art or other forms of creativity were frivolous then while they may be expressing themselves creatively they make it their lowest priority; it’s last thing they do with their day, so they end up not having as much time as they want for their creativity. They also feel a lot more resistance to showing up in the first place.

So what would it take for you to give yourself permission to embrace and value your creativity in whatever form you choose to express it? What would it take for you to see your creativity as important and make it a priority? Make the choice to do that and pay attention to the creative urges and ideas that arise.

And be aware of any old subconscious patterns that continue to keep you from showing up creatively. Notice what your beliefs are about being creative like thinking: I’m not creative or I can never make any money with it so what good is it.

Some years ago I heard Seamus Heaney, the noble prize winning Irish poet, give a very academic lecture at the University of Washington. Half way through the talk he tossed his hands in the air and said, “oh just write for the joy of it” and then went back to the lecture. So how about it. Even if it feels a little scary to step out of your comfort zone on this. Can you give yourself permission to create just for the joy it brings to your life?

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