Whether or not you think you’re creative, you are. (If you’ve ever said, “I’m not creative,” today’s #familyhistoryfriday post is one you especially need to read.) Creativity is not just important to personal growth– it’s important to life. We touched on creativity last week in The Importance of Hobbies to Personal Growth, so let’s dive in a little deeper. Why is creativity so important? How are “non-creative” people creative? Understanding what creativity really is and what it really looks like is the first step to using creativity for personal growth, satisfaction, and happiness.
What is “Creative”?
One of the first arguments I often hear about why someone doesn’t preserve her photos is, “I’m not creative.” This is by far one of the biggest memory-keeping myths that I bust! Here’s why “I’m not creative” is incorrect.
First of all, by definition, if you create something, you are creative. If you create a plan, a side dish, or a garden, you are creative. If you create a schedule, a relationship, a tradition, or a home, you are creative. You have created something that did not exist before and would not exist in the same way without you. Creativity is nothing more than simply creating.
The desire to create is one of the deepest yearnings of the human soul. No matter our talents, education, backgrounds, or abilities, we each have an inherent wish to create something that did not exist before. Everyone can create. You don’t need money, position, or influence in order to create something of substance or beauty. Creation brings deep satisfaction and fulfillment. We develop ourselves and others when we take unorganized matter into our hands and mold it into something of beauty. … [You are] a masterpiece, created with a beauty, function, and capacity beyond imagination.” –Dieter F. Uchtdorf
Three years ago, Dina Tibbs believed she was not creative. Today she is an Intentional Creativity Teacher. Her studio outside Denver is a place where women can come to let go of perfection and listen to their internal gifts and wisdom. So how did Dina go from “I’m not creative” to having completed training to help others embrace their creativity?
As humans we are, by our very nature, creative. Our entire lives are nothing but creations. Calling yourself creative is nothing but a shift in perspective and intention.” –Dina Tibbs
So, as it turns out, changing your mind about what you think about yourself is how you can “become” creative. If you let go of the idea or belief that you aren’t creative, you are allowing yourself to be creative. Letting go is one of the main tenets of personal growth, so it follows that if you change your attitude about what creative is or isn’t, then you are free to create without inhibition. I will never paint or sculpt like Michelangelo, but those skills are the tiniest fraction of what it means to be creative.
Once you have let go of the incorrect ideas of what creativity is or isn’t, you’re ready to embrace the creative part of your soul. Next, think back to the scientific study I mentioned last week: trying new things and exploring actually makes you more creative. New experiences, motivation, and learning have something in common: dopamine. So if you still aren’t sure that you’re creative, just try something new. Your brain will take it from there.
Think of something you’d like to learn or something you’d like to be better at. Or think of something you already like to do. So many things we like or do are indeed creative. Can you make a living room feel cozy and inviting? Can you make a cake look like the Eiffel Tower? Or can you throw a great dinner party? Are you a listener, creating relationships of trust? Do you create confidence in those you love? Can you create a flower arrangement? What talents do you already have, and which ones would you like to develop? Don’t put restrictions on creativity! Remember: creating anything that did not exist before and would not exist in the same without you is creating. It’s creativity.
A Fun, Meaningful, and Important Way to Be Creative
As I already mentioned, many people believe that they are not creative, and if they are not creative they therefore cannot be memory-keepers. They (mistakenly) believe that preserving their photos and the memories that go with them is not something they can do. This is entirely false.
Because guess what. If you take a picture, you are creative. You have created something. You have brought something into being that did not exist before. Then when you publish or print that picture and write down a little something about it, you have created again.
And it’s really not more complicated that that.
You are creative.
One of the most important things I want to teach people about memory-keeping is that these two books are the same thing. They are the very same thing.
They are about different events, yes, but as far as “creativity,” they are exactly the same thing. Know this! Remember this! These two books preserve memories the same, they preserve photos the same, and they tell a family story exactly the same. These two books were both CREATED, so they are both creative. The person creating either of them makes something out of nothing and feels the satisfaction of creativity.
Get Started Right Now
Memory-keeping is one of the most important ways to be creative because it affects so many other things. The benefits of memory-keeping are pretty amazing because they are both short-term AND long-term. Both kids and adults have a stronger sense of self when they reminisce, as well as lower stress, lower depression and anxiety, and greater sense of purpose. Looking back at happy moments has been shown to literally increase happiness in the present moment. Memory-keeping fosters gratitude and creates a sense of perspective. It can even help with healing.
So there really is no time like the present to be a memory-keeper. Create something tangible from those memories floating around in your head and those pictures floating around in the cloud. Make a meaningful thing that did not exist before, and enjoy the heart-warming satisfaction of creativity.
Two (or Four) Ideas
If you are drawn to more in-depth creating (like the Disney book on the left up there), then, boy, do I have the tool for you. All you need is your computer! (This video shows digital scrap pages, but you can choose a hardbound book if you prefer.)
For a more simple, straightforward method of creating something wonderful from your photos and memories (like the Arches book on the right up there), here’s a different digital option. (Actually, I go over a couple of non-digital options at the beginning, too–one is super simple.) Both digital options in these videos are my personal recommendation because they’re such high quality and will really PRESERVE your memories and photos for generations. Anyway, here’s the method for the crisp, clean look.
And guess what!! If you watched both videos, you will see that they are both preserving my photos and memories of the same event— my family trip to Arches National Park. One isn’t “better” than the other. Both are creating, so both are creative. Both give me personal growth and satisfaction from creating. Either one gives my kids and my family all those memory-keeping benefits, too!
I hope you feel more creative than you did when you started reading this post. You should. You ARE creative, and you always have been. Create something meaningful right now!
Creativity may be the nearest one-word definition we possess for the essence of our humanity, for the true meaning of soul.” -Matthew Fox
- Titlow, John P. (2016). Fast Company. Retrieved from https://www.fastcompany.com/3063626/7-surprising-facts-about-creativity-according-to-science
- Uchtdorf, Dieter F. (2008). LDS.org. Retrieved from https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2008/10/happiness-your-heritage?lang=eng
- Wise, Jennifer. (2017). Evolve. Retrieved from https://www.livegrowgive.org/healing-from-grief-through-family-stories/
- Wise, Jennifer. (2017). Evolve. Retrieved from https://www.livegrowgive.org/mythbusting-memory-keeping-myth-1/
- Wise, Jennifer. (2017). Life Tales Books and Personal Publishing. Retrieved from https://lifetalesbooks.blogspot.com/2017/10/stop-saying-youre-not-creative-guest.html
- Wise, Jennifer. (2018). Life Tales Books and Personal Publishing. Retrieved from https://lifetalesbooks.blogspot.com/p/benefits.html