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Being yourself…

Ylva Falk – Dancer, Free-Style Artist

Ylva FalkYlva Falk

Laila Gohar – Founder Sunday Supper Catering, Food Journalist

Laila Gohar

Laila Gohar

Hanne Gaby Odiele – Model

Hanne Bady Odiele

Hanne Gaby Odiele

Karen O – Singer Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Karen OKaren O

I get a strong feeling of joy when I see limits being pushed and people really exploring their creativity through clothing and expression in general. Who said that we have to be a certain way? Weren’t we all children once free and always a little bit crazy? Maybe an over-used hippie ideology but it’s as relevant today as it’s been since Socrates. I don’t mean we should drop out and roll the streets like lunatics, but we should never forget what makes us human; our creativity, our access to the infinite expressive power of the universe and all it’s mystery.

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I think being creative is the best thing in the world. It’s like being in love. You have to have complete forgiveness and acceptance of all that is in order to let it flow. In that way they are one in the same.

Jackson Pollock

So what does it take to be fearless about it? Well, a lot, but lets look at the simple stuff first.

1. Learn to laugh with your inner critic

Face it, we all have it, it’s not going anywhere. There more you fight it, hate it, or scream in its face for preventing you from being the god-like creative being you are, the stronger and more fierce it will get. Regardless of how obvious this might be, it can take a long time to learn. It can take a long time of being miserable because of it to finally realize that resistance is futile. The only way you will overcome this beast is to befriend it. In the sincerest way possible.

2. Encourage mistakes

This is similar to number 1 in the way that in the face of our inner critic, we are terrified to make mistakes. Not because of what others will think, but because of the punishment we’ll get from our own selves. We’d just rather not endure the self-loathing that comes along with creating something that is less than perfect. Something that might reflect flaws or self-indulgence rather than a pure, honest emotion or spirit. Heaven forbid we be human… To deal with this obsession with perfection, I say encourage mistakes. Dive in, fail miserably, then laugh along with the whole thing. This way you will get good at diving in which is the most important part. Most of our creative stifling comes from just being too scared of that initial jump. Too scared to fail, scared of the inner critic.

3. Enjoy play

That’s all it is. Play. It’s within the moment of creation that the real magic happens. The magic of living. Sounds obvious doesn’t it? Except that so much of the time our mind is pondering the outcome, the past, the analysis of the whole thing that we forget to get lost in it. Lost in that moment. Within the work is where the joy comes from. Not from the outcome. The outcome will never satisfy you. Just ask anyone who has ever become successful. It is not success that brings happiness. It is your work. Try to remember that when you are struggling to define yourself.

4. Take a break. Simple

Henry Ossawa Tanner Studio

5. Think positive

This takes practice and just a little bit of will. So often creative types have such open, expansive minds that it’s easy to venture and sometimes dwell in the darker aspects of thinking. It feels so real, so awful.. it must be true. ‘I must be a terrible imposter in the creative arts! No way is my spirit great or pure enough to match my peers or even my own expectation of myself. I shouldn’t even bother…’ Yes that kind of negative thinking. I learned, again, after a long time of being miserable that it is a choice. It is always a choice. Love or Fear. The great comedian Bill Hicks said this once and it is exactly true. You decide. Choose love,  be positive, or choose fear and starve your soul in the cloud of negativity. Your choice. All the time.

6. Getoveryourself

Yep. Probably the hardest one but once you accomplish this it is free sailing I tell you. Face it. No one will ever care about your art as much as you do. No one will ever understand it as much as you do, so don’t expect the clouds to part and the world to change when it experiences your creations. Expect crickets and find peace in that. I can’t even say the number of times I thought I created a masterpiece only to show someone and have them say ‘eh’, and become so devastated, discouraged and depressed instantly that I thought I’d just give up. We all want to be understood, appreciated and have our spirits connected with others, but we have to find solace in the fact that despite our constant yearning for connection and reaffirmation, we are in fact alone. We die alone, so do it for you and only you. See what happens then.

7. Fall in love

That’s why you started in the first place remember? That moment of bliss and freedom you experienced with the stroke of a brush, the perfect words, or just the right melody. It was timlessness. That’s why you started this creative journey and that is why you continue on it. For those moments. There will be other moments. They are just as much a part of it but that; Love. That is the reason.