“I am not creative enough.”
It’s something that I frequently say to myself. It’s a thought that seems insignificant at first but creeps up on me and takes me down without warning. It’s a feeling that’s unwanted yet addictive at the same time — and I have little power over it.
It’s a belief that stops me from hitting the publish button on too many drafts.
It’s a belief that has severely limited what I could’ve done do if I believed in myself more.
It’s a belief that drains me and keeps me overly worried about trivial matters while clouding up my mind so much that I struggle to focus on enjoying the process of creating.
I run away from this feeling and avoid it until the pain of not creating grows strong enough (barely) to overcome it and I’m finally able to do a little bit of something, even if it’s not all that great.
But I have to learn to look at this belief, examine it no matter how much discomfort I feel, and uncover the reasons why I believe it to be true rather than false, with absolutely no room for various interpretations.
Why do I always believe that I am not creative enough?
From the start, we’re all taught that only a few people are inherently creative, and most aren’t.
I find it absurd that I constantly tell myself that I am not creative because as a child, teachers would always praise me and only two other students in the class for being great at art, writing, and music. It would happen at every grade level, up until high school.
However, the older I got, the more I saw being creative as an all-or-nothing trait — I’m either going to remain untalented until I die or I’m going to be a superstar, who’s both marketable and innately brilliant at the same time.
When I had more severe depression, I assumed that all the attention went to everyone who made it big — whether it’s in writing, music, or film — and nobody cared about people creating for fun or for a reason to cope with personal struggles. I saw that I had no chance of being that kind of superstar due to reasons I couldn’t control and believed I was hopeless.
And in some ways, it’s true — the vast majority of people don’t care about what I do. I create anyway, even when I have no chances of being a star, because I just can’t passively consume content for the rest of my life without contributing anything, no matter how small my impact might be.
But there’s freedom in this thought that once brought me despair, which took me a while to see. I can create whatever I like without worrying if others are judging it too much (because for the most part, nobody is).
Writing sad poems still brings me joy.
Turning jumbled thoughts into little, imperfect personal essays still brings me joy.
The act of creating itself and how I have persisted for over a year shows that I can do what I once thought was impossible. Something that I couldn’t have done years ago.
I may not be the next famous content creator celebrity, but at least I create things that mean something to a few people.
And learning to introspect (even through trial and error) has given me immeasurable value.
There’s power in understanding yourself, using that knowledge to make your own creative work different, and internally freeing yourself from false limiting beliefs that are destructive to your mental health and overall contentment in life.
I can still choose to see this belief in a positive light and take it as a sign that I care about what I put into anything I create.
I have this odd thing I think about whenever I say I’m not creative.
For anyone who has interacted with people who are involved in MLMs, you’ll know what I’m talking about.
People in MLMs claim to be creative. They brag about being entrepreneurial while knowingly selling products and/or content of low value (at exorbitant prices) that nobody wants or needs. And make money off of the gullible.
If I worry about not being creative enough, that means I have some level of self-awareness that keeps me humble and pushes me to do better. To put care into what I create and not just produce anything that isn’t genuine or reflective of how I want to be seen as an artist.
But people so far that have been involved in MLMs that try to sell products on Facebook and bug the hell out of their 1,000 “friends” seem to have no self-awareness whatsoever — they pass themselves off as creative entrepreneurs, but their promotions come across as sales-gimmicky and fake enthusiastic. Worded in the most sleazy and uncreative way.
I may worry too much and feel like I have nothing to contribute, but I have to remind myself that there are people out there who are less creative than me who believe they’re entitled to lure people into questionable cult-like organizations and sell things that over-promise and under-deliver.
I may not be as creative as I could potentially become in the future. There’s always room for improvement. However, I shouldn’t say things that aren’t true, like “I can never be creative at all,” which does not help me grow as an artist.
Being an artist isn’t a game I can win (and it shouldn’t be turned into a game, period). Rather, it’s intrinsically woven into my existence, which cannot be measured or replicated or sold.
For now, though, I am committed to doing the best I can to make sense of my internal world and use what I have learned to create something that people can see themselves in.