How To Move Through Shame By Getting In Touch With Your Creative Side
You might remember from a past blog post that shame is an emotion that we all experience. Based on the work of Dr. Brene Brown, shame is the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing we are flawed and therefore unworthy of acceptance and belonging. Examples from Dr. Brown's research include feeling like an outsider (not belonging, hating yourself and feeling like you understand why others hate you too), being in a prison, or having that pit in the bottom of your stomach. To manage shame, one must be able to recognize and understand shame triggers. Once these are identified, you'll be able to develop higher levels of critical awareness when it comes to shame. In addition, you'll be more willing to reach out to others while being able to express how you feel and ask for what you need.
While shame can be uncomfortable, there are several ways to move through it. One of which is using creativity. Today, we discuss what this looks like and how you can incorporate it in your daily life.
What is Creativity?
Creativity is defined as the ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, relationships, or the like and to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods, and interpretations (Dictionary.com). Creativity can look like making something, learning things and putting new ideas together, or expressing yourself in a new way. Creativity often requires intense focus, energy, imagination and a willingness to try new things.
How Can Creativity Be Helpful to Use When Dealing With Shame?
Creativity is a process that involves flexibility and openness to new experiences. When we feel shame, it can be difficult to open up, as we often have urges to isolate. Shame makes us think about how we got to this negative place and why we deserve to be there. By allowing ourselves to make something new and get out of our own head, we are acting opposite to the urges associated with shame. Therefore pushing ourselves to have new experiences. By participating in a new creative activity, and allowing the outcome to be what it is, we are saying that we are worthy of making something valuable. Allowing our work to be valued, as well as allowing ourselves to be valued, can be part of a successful start at managing shame.
Creating new things also involves a lot of vulnerability, which is the willingness to put yourself out there. Vulnerability allows us to become aware of our emotional experiences, which can be intimidating. But it's important to move through with an open-mind and clarity. Participating in creative projects also signals to yourself that you are making time for you. Allowing yourself to take time out of your day to create something requires a lot of self-compassion. And it's essential to be nonjudgmental and forgiving with yourself. Self-compassion lets us feel like we are more connected to others and it can be a useful antidote towards shame. As part of The Daring Way program at MindWell NYC, we dive deeper into creativity and how to put it into practice. With the tools you'll gain from this program, you'll be able to move further from shame and closer towards authenticity.
What Can Creativity Look Like in My Daily Life?
You can use any kind of art form or medium to participate in creative activities. There are several concrete steps you can take to make the process of including creativity in your life as easy as possible. First, work on choosing a time of day that you can reserve for yourself, even if it's just 10 to 15 minutes. Second, find a place in your home that you can reserve and dedicate to being your creative space. For example, a desk, a nook, or a corner of a room. This will help to remind you of your purpose when you are spending time in that space.
What Kind of Creative Project Can I Start to Practice?
Any kind of creative project is likely to help you focus on the present. It's also a great exercise in mindfulness. These creative projects will also help decrease self judgment as well as help you to experience and move through shame as needed. If you are struggling to come up with an idea of something to work on, ask yourself a few questions. What did I like to do when I was younger and used to play? Was there a particular kind of creativity I was drawn to? Coloring? Taking pictures? Looking at creative works of others? Painting? Gardening? Writing? Are there any themes or stories in my life that I would like to create something about right now?
What if I Am Not a Creative Person?
This is a worry thought that gets in the way of many people trying to engage in creative projects and find their creative selves. Dr. Brene Brown believes that “there’s no such thing as creative people and non-creative people. There are only people who use their creativity and people who don’t.” Instead of getting into a rut by convincing yourself you're not a creative person, practice some self-kindness. Try making the assumption that you are creative and that you do have the ability to contribute something special. Be kind enough to allow yourself to try something new.
Give yourself some time this week to think about what kind of creative efforts you would like to incorporate in your life. Practice incorporating creativity regardless of your mood. Although difficult, allowing yourself to get creative while feeling shame can be very helpful. We hope that you allow yourself to drop the questioning about whether or not you are a creative person. And instead, step into a kinder, more gentle space for yourself.
Interested in managing shame and incorporating creativity? Check out our program The Daring Way and consider joining one of our groups or participating in individual therapy. Contact us today to learn more about our programs with Dr. Jessica Renz, Certified Daring Way™ Facilitator-Candidate (CDWF-Candidate).
Further information is available at www.thedaringway.com.
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