A short essay by Sven Kielhorn
There was a time in everyone’s one life when everything we did was creativity and play. We sang a song because we felt like it, we asked questions because we had a deep desire to know and to learn. We skipped on the way to school because is was fun and it felt nice. We drew a picture of how we saw the world around us. We wrote a story or a poem because it expressed a part of our deep inner selves which needed to be given psychological air. There was a time when play and creation knew no boundaries. We did not know where creation ended and where play began or visa versa. Actually you were both the creative and the creation as one manifestation. Your whole being was a beautiful combination of creativity and play. Do you remember?
One Day the Critic Appeared
Painting, composing music, writing, taking photos, or dancing is part of our inherent nature as human beings. Our emotional and physiological well being depends on allowing ourselves creative expressions. But one day a Critic entered into our lives and kept watching what we did. He followed us around and began to point out areas of imperfections in our creations. Gave unsolicited suggestions on how to make our creations better, these were followed by comments how we should be better. Soon the critic was pointing out other writers, painters, musicians, or videographers, who were doing a better job, much better in fact. At this point, uncertainty entered our thinking, and we began to question if our creations were adequate and worthy of sharing with others. We began comparing ourselves to others which later became a constant obsession. We began to hide while the Critic’s voice became louder. The interest to be creative began to decline to avoid meeting criticism.
As for me, I always enjoyed music, photography, and videography. Videography and video production came later in life and it is how I make my living today. Being a creative is the bread and butter of what I do for a living. Allowing myself to be creative wasn’t easy at first. I mean, pouring all of your deep self into a project, to the point of exhaustion, going deep within myself and adding something very special to a video project. That part was hard, and it was even harder to begin sharing my creations with clients and peers. After all, by the time I reached my later 30’s, the Critic had been part of my life and I was convinced, that every creation required criticism, some of the criticism had to be harsh, in order to make my creation “better”. I would just clench my fists and work harder, and made the creation even “better” in order to gain acceptance by the world. BUT, working harder does not make our creations necessarily better, and who says what’s good or bad anyway? In fact, it is my view that criticism stifles imagination, innovation, and creativity. I welcome different views, and in fact, I seek them out, but I am looking for synergy where my creation and their creation is much larger than the sum of each creation put together.
Celebrate the Creative, Accept the Critic
Perhaps you wonder at this point “Who is this Critic?” I can think of a few Critics I have met during the course of my personal and professional life, but the most tenacious one is within me. Philosophers and psychologists have given this inner Critic many names, pick anyone you want, it doesn’t matter. It is an inner voice that often thinks your true inner self would not survive without its intervention.
The fact of the matter is, that creativity is not only enjoyable and important to every person, but you can survive just fine without the constant Critic. Creativity alone can solve almost any problem. Therefore, express yourself truly and freely while being courages and considered. Accept the Critic’s voice for what it is, it will probably always be there, sometimes he/she/it acts like a concerned parent and sometimes the Critic’s voice is just plain annoying. Let it come and go like the clouds in the sky if you wish. Instead, treat your creativity like a blooming flower in the spring, adore it with awe in your eyes. Look at it’s beauty with wonder and amazement as it grows and evolves, and eventually goes back into the earth, and a new creation manifests.
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