It is a joy and pleasure to highlight the good work of guest blogger: Sharon Martin, LCSW. Sharon facilitates a wonderful blogging workshop for therapists who are ready to embrace their inner blogger. Enjoy!
Kindly and in support,
Mari A. Lee, LMFT, CSAT-S
“The work wants to be made, and it wants to be made through you.” – Elizabeth Gilbert
The day before I left for vacation, I went to the public library and checked out Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert. I had listened to Gilbert’s podcast and thoroughly enjoyed it, but months passed and I hadn’t gotten around to reading the similarly themed book. In fact, this was the second time I’d checked it out of the library. With three kids, a therapy practice, and my freelance writing, I just didn’t have time.
So, finally, I was poolside with Big Magic, and it was truly a treat. It was as if the universe said, “This is the message you need right now – not two months ago, not next year, but now.” I needed to be reminded that creativity flows in all of us. It affirmed everything I’d been thinking about and experiencing in my own journey to embrace my creativity through blogging and writing.
Comparison really is the thief of joy
For many years in early adulthood, I stopped writing. Perhaps I was burnt out from writing too many grad school research papers. But more likely, I didn’t think I had anything worth saying.
In grade school, I remember the creative writing we did in the little blue, soft-cover journals we kept in our desks. I made up stories about talking animals and a little girl who lived on a cloud. And I drew pictures and colored them with my colored pencils. It brought me joy. There wasn’t any self-censorship or judgement. I had no sense of whether it was “right” or “wrong”. It was just me.
At some point, unfortunately, I became self-conscious. I became aware that other kids could draw “better” and the teacher liked stories about outer-space rather than talking animals. Comparison set in and I wasn’t measuring up. Just being me became not good enough.
Gilbert spoke right to me when she described how fear can derail creativity. She wrote:
“You’re afraid you have no talent.
“You’re afraid you’ll be rejected or criticized or ridiculed or misunderstood or – worst of all – ignored.
“You’re afraid there’s no market for your creativity, and therefore no point in pursuing it.
“You’re afraid somebody else already did it better.
You’re afraid everybody else already did it better…”
I wasted a lot of time being afraid and hiding behind perfectionism. These were my shields; my way of hiding my creativity for fear that it would be criticized.
Let inspiration in
“Do you have the courage to bring forth the treasures that are hidden within you?” asks Gilbert.
Most of us will never be famous or even earn a living from our creativity, but that’s not the point. The thing is, there is no success or failure when it comes to creativity. There is no right or wrong way to do it. Yes, the world will go right on judging you and your creations, but you don’t have to pay it any attention.
You do, however, have to be open to inspiration. And when it comes knocking, you have to fling the door wide open and invite inspiration in. And while you’re at it, make room for your fears because they come as a package deal. Invite them all in and see what treasures you can uncover.
I spend a lot of my professional time helping people set boundaries. Boundaries were a game changer for me personally. I love the freedom of being able to say “No” to projects that don’t interest me and people who drain me. I no longer waste my time doing things I don’t like or feeling guilty or resentful. Boundaries aren’t just about saying “No”. They’re also about knowing when to say “Yes”.
When I got the inspiration to start my writing and blogging class for therapists, I knew the answer was “Yes”. I knew because I was excited and energized. Not only do find writing a creative and challenging endeavor, but I also know I’ve weathered my own storms in the form of nasty comments, rejections, and insecurities.
Writing brought me back to creativity. It allowed me to speak and not care so much about how it was received. It reminded me that creating should be fun.
We all possess beautiful talents and gifts. We all have creative spirits that wants us to make things and share them.
What is the universe calling you to create?
What are you curious about?
What do you dream of making?
What inspires you?
When you hear inspiration calling, say “Yes”.
Sharon Martin, LCSW is a practicing psychotherapist, writer, coach, and media contributor on emotional health and relationships. Her psychotherapy practice specializes helping individuals heal from codependency and perfectionism by embracing their imperfections and learning to love themselves. Sharon writes a popular blog called Happily Imperfect for PsychCentral.com and is the author of the e-book Setting Boundaries Without Guilt. You can find more information on her blogging workshops and webinars on her website .