There is so much power in the way that we think. This has been proven in a variety of ways, we know this, and yet it can be so difficult to maintain a positive outlook. As creative people, we feel emotions so deeply, and revisit those emotions over again to pour them into our craft. In that way, there is a naturally greater chance that something will trip us up along the way. T.S. Eliot was right when he said:
“Anxiety is the handmaiden of creativity.”
Within these natural tendencies, it is imperative that we are intentional (my 2019 word of the year!) about how we are training our minds and practicing our mindsets. At the end of the day, mindsets lead to cycles, hence the title of this post. So today, I want to break down a few mindsets that I’ve been trying to maintain in myself and the cycles that they have led to in my case.
Mindset: Understanding your worth.
In my latest YouTube video, I talk about my life-changing injury and how it impacted how I viewed my worth and who I was as a person. I was no longer an athlete, a straight-A student, a writer (for the time being), and so many other things. However, this is because I associated my worth and identity as a person with my achievements, such as the things I listed above. There is a more in-depth discussion of this problem with understanding who I was following this injury on the YouTube video, but here on the blog post, I want to focus in on the worth side of things.
Worth is not about anything you achieve. The way I see it, our worth is what we contribute to this world simply by being here, offering our perspectives, being kind to and loving others, discovering our world, and finding joy. We can pursue achievements, but they are not what give us worth. Being a Christian, I believe that by being God’s children here on this earth that we are worth it. When I’m feeling down, that’s what I consider. God put each of us here for a reason. Finding worth in your being is so special, and at the end of the day, it gives everything you do purpose. We impact others every day, journey to joy every day, learn and discover every day. That is enough. Everything else that we do accomplish are still things to be proud of and honor, but they aren’t inherently tied to what we’re worth. Self-worth and money are two very different things. Finding a sense of security in who you are at your core will unravel to give you peace within your life no matter what you do or don’t achieve. It makes life much more of a landscape to explore.
Cycle: Healthy relationships.
When I was insecure in my own worth, I had a lot of toxic relationships around me. From romantic relationships to friendships, I had a lot of people around me who ended up bringing me down quite a bit. Why did I let that continue? Because I couldn’t see my worth to be surrounded by people who treated me better. Over these last few years, I’ve gotten more comfortable with myself and I’ve begun to understand how much worth I really do have. In this way, I was able to leave behind relationships who didn’t see that worth and maintain the ones that, while still honest, were positive. I decided I wanted to be around life-giving people who I could grow alongside, people who I was able to connect with in a healthy way. Discovering my worth definitely made my inner circle smaller, but the relationships left (and some gained!) are ones that are based in love.
Mindset: Choosing to notice.
This one is twofold. We live in a beautiful world, and like I said above, we are made to discover that world and to see the immense beauty within it. We should notice smaller things that others just disregard or don’t see at all. Those are the gems that are the basis of our poetry, photography, art, etc. There is so much vibrant detail in the intricacies of life and as creatives, we should acknowledge and project those. However, we also need to be sure not to turn away from the not-so-beautiful. From tragedy. From heartbreaking occurrences. We also need to shed light on those to open the eyes of others to things that are going on all around them. To express both sides of the equation is so important. By doing so, there is a sense of balance in our creativity, there is a sense of purpose to create a better world, and there is gratitude for the things that are going well. Cultivate the beauty, but also nurture the painful. It’s a balance, and while we shouldn’t dwell in sadness to the point that it becomes our normal, it’s important to recognize.
When you choose to notice, a sense of inspiration will follow you wherever you. Training your eyes and mind to see the nitty-gritty of good and bad will mean that there is a bounty of subject matter to work with. We all have moments of feeling stuck creatively, but for the most part, when you choose to notice, that manifests into a habit of inspiration. Suddenly, you will find something that sparks an idea in you around every corner. This one seems simple, but can be tricky to implement. On the flipside, it’s so fruitful!
Mindset: Selective perspective.
Here’s the deal. I’m not going to sit here and tell you that you should be positive all the time. It’s not realistic to be honest, and it’s just not a good suggestion, especially since I’ve noted that as creatives we feel emotions very deeply. However, we can be selective in how we perceive things. There are some times where life is sad and hard, and we need a perspective of mourning for the time being. In that case, it’s healthy. But we need to be mindful not to fall into a cycle of negative thinking in the day-to-day. That’s when it gets difficult. Now, I feel it important to say that I am not referring to mental illness. I fully understand that it’s much more complicated where mental illness is concerned. However, I am discussing your mindset, what you can actively control in how you see the world. Select the perspective that is going to serve you in this moment, in this season. Try to take an objective look at your outlook. How you’re seeing the world, what you are projecting out to it, and how you bring it into you is important. How are you reacting to the things around you, and how might that be detracting from your life? Also consider the inlook. How do you see yourself? How are you seeing your thoughts and ideas? Be selective, because when it comes to perspective, we are in control and it can make our day monumentally better or worse depending on our choice.
Cycle: Time investments.
When we are able to fit our perspective to best serve us, we can then make solid choices with where we invest our time. If we’re choosing the negative outlook, it might look like this: someone cut you off in traffic, your brother ate your leftovers from a restaurant, and you stepped in a puddle this morning, so you choose to mope. Then we might consider a choice that doesn’t add to our lives: laying in bed having a marathon of Netflix and social media. However, if we put the bad drivers, leftover eaters, and puddles to the side, then we are able to breathe and understand that time moves forward and we move with it. At that point, we can invest our time in creativity, or time with loved ones, or exercising. If we shift our perspective to a slightly better outlook and inlook, that’s when we can distribute our time in a way that is wise and life-giving.
When we meld these mindsets and cycles together, it contributes to a sustainable and creative life that can continue to build upon for ourselves. Consider these and some of your own mindset/cycle combinations that could add to your life in a beneficial way. Think of the ways that some cycles could be detracting from your joy and creative expression. Most importantly, the importance here is intention and choice. When we choose to create for a better world and better lives for people, that’s where we can find some joy in the creative process itself and live inside inspiration consistently.
Much Love, Quinn
Crazy cat lady. Exploratory writer. Much love.