How do you feel when the words “self-development” and “creative” are in the same statement?
Many people tend to shy away from the realm of self-development because there is often a perception that it’s a total cut and dry approach, one that they intuitively know will not support them as fully as they would like.
Though there are paths of self-development that are very much step-by-step and works perfectly for some people, I’m here to tell you that it does not have to be that way.
Much like any creative pursuit, the process of self-development is all about exploring, experimenting, and expanding our perspective. And, for most artists – whether painters, writers, or musicians, they will tell you that a work of art is never truly done. In that way, the process of self-development – and self-fulfillment and actualization – is also constantly evolving, never finished, and always inspiring us to expand even more fully into who we are.
In my own experience, I’ve tried handfuls of step-by-step processes, often finding tidbits that helped me along the way, but by the end of them, I still felt blocked, stuck, and totally at a loss. It wasn’t until I really listened to my intuition that I realized that maybe the step-by-step thing wasn’t best for me. I needed a more creative approach, and so, that’s what I did. I read, I watched, I listened. I took what spoke to me and began creating a personalized process that worked. A little visualization here, some journaling there, intuitive art over here, and a heck of a lot of affirmation work. Quickly, I noticed shifts take place that I hadn’t experienced before when I went through the step-by-step approaches I had tried in the past.
I realize now it makes a lot of sense.
Each and every one of us are so beautifully unique and have a myriad of traits, experiences, and ways of learning that are entirely individual. As we begin to gain more awareness around the thinking or behaviors that we feel are not exactly serving us in the way we wish and move into the realm of developing ourselves more fully, this truth must be realized. A more expansive approach is needed when we make the decision to dive deeper into the magnificent individuals we are.
Often, the cut-and-dry approaches do not work because they fail to encompass this truth. They do not embrace the vast individuality of each of us.
This is why I consider self-development to be a creative process. One person’s creative process will differ from another, but that does not mean that one or the other is better. Both processes got them to where they wanted to be because it worked for them, and that’s what matters. And how did they get to those points? By becoming 100% present with themselves in each moment. Without presence and mindfulness, it’s difficult to connect with ourselves and discern what the best path to take is, what fuels us, what incites the passion needed to grow. It’s also difficult to find gratitude and compassion for ourselves as we move through the growth process.
Maybe you’ve tried out a step-by-step approach and found yourself no less “developed” than when you began. Maybe you felt like something was wrong with you because it “didn’t work.”
Nothing is wrong with you. And honestly, nothing is wrong with that approach, either.
What is right is that you might just need to go into it with a more creative and exploratory approach. It’s about getting in touch with your creative genius, your truth, and your heart. You might need to read more, watch more, listen more to what interests you, and like me, play around with what you gather. I promise you that eventually you will find exactly what it is that works for you and soon, too, you will notice shifts happening at every turn. You’ll feel less blocked, less lost, and more empowered, connected, and clear. You’ll begin to enjoy the process of self-development and actually – dare I say it – have fun with it.
And, in the midst of moving through your own personal creative development process, remember that, like a piece of art, the process is never truly complete. There will always be more to learn, more areas to grow in, and more opportunities to step fully into who you are. You may begin working on an area, feel a sense of completion, and then come back to it later in some way realizing, with new eyes, how much deeper you can dive into it and transform it even further. Try not to get hung up on finishing. Each step moves you closer to a more self-actualized – and empowered and authentic – self and experience.
I lovingly encourage you to explore what calls to you, experiment with what you find, and most importantly have fun! While, yes, this realm is something to be taken seriously, it does not mean it should be without enjoyment.
Treat your self-development journey as your personal work of art – because it is.