Saturday, January 7, 2012

How to Crush Your Creativity: Resentment

The first entry in this series, How to Crush Your Creativity: Worry, appeared on Nov. 17.

(Note: For purposes of clarity, I exaggerate. Many people have milder forms of resentment than what's described below. However, if any of the attitudes and actions ring even somewhat true, it's time to detox.)

People often lack clarity on the difference between resentment and anger. Anger, to be explored in a future post, has an active, expressive quality as well as a feeling of relief once it's been expressed. (Note: this relief may only last until the next occasion for anger.) Resentment is more like a smoldering fire that doesn't achieve release or relief.

It's been called the act of taking poison and waiting for the other person to die.

Another aspect of resentment, worthy of highlighting, is that often people who don't want to feel anger believe that resentment, because it's less aggressively expressed, is an acceptable, even a polite, emotion.

To crush your creativity through resentment, do the following:

Notice with deepening misery how others succeed and you don't.

Frequently say, "It's not fair."

Look for examples of why it's not fair.

Get specific. Observe exactly why and how some people seem to have all the luck.

Believe that there's a small club of succeeders from which you've been excluded, probably deliberately.

Talk a lot to others about the various forms of unfairness you've noticed and experienced.

When you're not talking about it, brood about it.

Decide that you might as well give up.

Give up. Remind yourself often that if the world had been a more fair place, you might have succeeded.

Stop giving away your power. In the end (and also in the beginning) you're responsible for both your creativity and its results. That doesn't mean it's your fault. It means you have the ability to respond to circumstances, which means you can choose how to respond.

If other people aren't helping you, ask yourself if you're helping others. Develop the habit of helpfulness. At least once a day, find a way to help others on their creative journey. What goes around really does come around.

To take this a step further, believe in yourself. If you do, so will others.

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