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  • Olivia Sanders
    Olivia Sanders

    Untangling the Emotional Web of Creativity

    What does it mean to be creative? A poet might say it is similar to weaving a net that pulls beauty from the abstract and logic from chaos. An artist might speak in terms of painting with vibrant colors, finding images in the corner of their eye and making them come alive in ink or oil. To an entrepreneur, creating something new might look more like stirring the soup of trends, ideas and predictions in the hopes of uncovering the right recipe. But regardless of the creative process chosen, one thing remains unchanged – managing our emotions is key to creating something valuable.

    When we think of creativity, people often think of emotional outbursts, ranging from inspired enthusiasm to crippling frustration. This makes sense; after all, emotions are the fuel of creativity. Without being tapped into our emotional awareness, it is impossible to really delve deeply into the creative process. Emotions have often been seen as a double-edged sword for creators because, when given free rein, they can both free us up to create miracles and hold us back from attaining greatness. Sadly, too often emotions prevent even the most talented creators from finding their full potential.

    In order to tap into our emotional power for creativity, we must first begin by understanding the spectrum of emotions related to creative projects. Quick idea generation, such as brainstorming sessions, might benefit from pleasant, energized moods. Judging and selecting the best creative ideas will likely benefit from less positive moods since a critical eye is more easily activated in this state. creativity itself often takes a long time, and therefore so do the emotions associated with it. Creative projects may fill us with soaring pride, leave us overwhelmed and tear us down – all within the same session. We experience these ups and downs, filled with both moments of joy and disappointment.

    This is why it is so important to develop our emotion regulation abilities to help us work through this process. It is not about having fewer emotions but about better managing them. There are many strategies for managing our emotions effectively: simply noticing when one appears, hitting pause, and understanding how we are connected us to the feeling can be incredibly helpful. Also, we should strive to reach out to our trusted networks – whether it is friends, family members, or colleagues – to voice our concerns and difficulty, utilizing external support can give a helping hand when we’re feeling stuck.

    Creativity requires us to open our hearts and to trust in the unknown – a task easier said than done. Occasionally, our emotions can lead us astray, allowing fear, doubt and insecurities to pull us off track. Learning unhealthy habits of avoiding feelings, bottling them up and numbing ourselves, come with a steep price. Harnessing our internal guidance, however, results in resilience, creativity, productivity and a deep sense of satisfaction with whom we are and with what we do.

    Creativity isn’t about powerful revelations or lightning bolt insights. It's rooted in uncovering and untangling the web of emotions we carry around us. Our emotions can serve as both mentor and teacher, offering us meaningful insight through our journey of self-discovery. Marrying our creativity with our emotions leads us to find the gifts that we love within, unleashing our superpowers to craft a beautiful work of art.

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