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I'm really having trouble expressing myself creatively. Or expressing what's really important and real and true for me vs. what I think someone else wants to hear. I guess I've had this problem for a while but... I feel like anything I put out there as an expression of myself will be torn down and attacked and criticized. If it's not then good, but then every time I end up feeling like next time surely it will. Basically I'm feeling defective and my self-esteem has not been great. It makes me perfectionistic and that is paralyzing and then the subsequent over-thinking is even worse. I end up getting very all or nothing about any creative endeavors, if I don't have the skills to execute perfection then I find it hard to even try. Like even when I try nothing comes to me because it is buried under the weight of that perfectionism. Somewhere along the way to becoming an adult I lost the fun I used to feel in being creative. :crying:

I was raised by narcissists so no wonder there but as a 4 it's actually really painful to not be able to express myself like I want to. I'm trying to push past the perceived barriers but it's surprisingly hard. I feel like I have to maintain a consistent acceptable image/identity for each situation, each relationship, whatever and I'm afraid of worlds ever colliding so that makes me withdraw. I withdraw even when I just don't know what to say or even just to cope with mild uncertainty and mild shame. I actually do feel really fake and really aloof and I hate it. I've been even worse than I am now and yet I still want to get better. But I keep having this perception that I can't be a stable being, like if I'm completely natural I will be too many different things and it will be weird and probably cringy too.

Anyone relate?
 

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It seems like you have some insecurities about what you want to express. I advise you to get in touch with your emotions and feelings and let them guide you, but first and foremost, you need to get rid of your paralyzing anxiety.
 

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i totally relate. the thing that is not a cure, by any means, but at least a refresh, is to find some new outlet of creativity, one that fascinates me but i've never tried. i won't feel bad if i'm not good bc i'm new and i like it enough to want to learn everything. for me it helps if it's something that doesn't last anyway.

try something new. something free. something that you're likely bad at so it won't make you feel bad if you are in fact bad at it. but not sudoku. unless you're fascinated by sudoku. then please. and report back.
 

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I'm really having trouble expressing myself creatively. Or expressing what's really important and real and true for me vs. what I think someone else wants to hear. I guess I've had this problem for a while but... I feel like anything I put out there as an expression of myself will be torn down and attacked and criticized. If it's not then good, but then every time I end up feeling like next time surely it will. Basically I'm feeling defective and my self-esteem has not been great. It makes me perfectionistic and that is paralyzing and then the subsequent over-thinking is even worse. I end up getting very all or nothing about any creative endeavors, if I don't have the skills to execute perfection then I find it hard to even try. Like even when I try nothing comes to me because it is buried under the weight of that perfectionism. Somewhere along the way to becoming an adult I lost the fun I used to feel in being creative. :crying:

I was raised by narcissists so no wonder there but as a 4 it's actually really painful to not be able to express myself like I want to. I'm trying to push past the perceived barriers but it's surprisingly hard. I feel like I have to maintain a consistent acceptable image/identity for each situation, each relationship, whatever and I'm afraid of worlds ever colliding so that makes me withdraw. I withdraw even when I just don't know what to say or even just to cope with mild uncertainty and mild shame. I actually do feel really fake and really aloof and I hate it. I've been even worse than I am now and yet I still want to get better. But I keep having this perception that I can't be a stable being, like if I'm completely natural I will be too many different things and it will be weird and probably cringy too.

Anyone relate?
Hi,

as someone who has been in this exact situation I can completely relate, and what's more, I was able to free myself from this self-imposed prison, of course not without the help of others, a lot of work, and the magnificent power of time, attention and self-care.

When I say "self-imposed prison", of course there needs to be added some more nuance, since the boundaries between self and other are quite negligable in reality. For most of us, perhaps for all of us, but in different modalities, we look at ourselves through the eyes of others, through the gaze, and we have different strategies for influencing that gaze to create ourselves in what will always be the co-creation, the relational construction of our self. As someone who's grown up with narcissistic parents, you have been formed to use submissive strategies and within you there has been nurtured an anxiety the role of which it is to always be reacting, never to be spontaneous, to pander always to the (imagined) desire of the other, the expectations of the other, to take into account the sword of Damocles of criticism that you have known in your formative years always and to project that past into every current and future situation.

It is probable that because your past has been so traumatic, that you try to master this past by recreating what you experienced there in the present in most situations you encounter, as a form of repetition compulsion, to try and master it, even if because of the nature of the psyche it often ends up just damaging you more and keeping you in stasis. It might also be a mechanism you use to protect yourself from the even slight possibility where you will be retraumatized because the situation will be effectively like it was in the past.

However, the main problem is that it keeps you living enshackled within the past trauma-infected viewpoint of others, not from your own I, that it makes you always dependent on approval, and most of all imagined approval wherein you project the perspective of your narcissistic parents onto most people you interact with. Even if in our society there are many people with at least a moderate amount of narcissism and many people who have been brainwashed into evaluating everything according to the norms and values they've been spoon-fed from childbirth, and most of all, always evaluating everything in a quantitative way according to the reigning polarities, much of the time, you will be imagining the judgment of others to be much more severe than is the case. Try to always add an element of yourself within the judgment you project others will make of you, in the way you judge others, because I am pretty sure you rarely judge others as severely as you judge yourself.

One thing I will have to mention because it is very important and often forgotten. Change in the way you relate to others very rarely happens suddenly and through rational insight. Such insights are a foundation but they have to be trusted in and continually used in practice to affect slow incremental changes in the way you experience reality. Changing your way of experiencing from anxiety to inner peace and confidence is one of the most challenging tasks you can have before you, but it is most definitely possible, and incredibly rewarding and a source of intense growth in most every area of personality and the richness of life.

I have to be honest here and tell you that I am giving you advice from my own personal experience, from the path I took that enabled me to be liberated mostly from what was tormenting me, and that of course there are many paths, many experiences, many possibilities, each more or less suited to the individual that will eventually follow them, weaved for them by fate. But I can only with confidence tell you about this path that I know, and that has helped me greatly in becoming myself.

One aspect has been self-study in many areas, among which the most important were philosophy, psychology and politics, which of course are really inseparable. When you are too uncertain about the nature of reality, of the psyche, of how the world works, you will be dependent on the supposed knowledge of others, even when, for most normal people, it can be easily shown to be a complete mirage and simply a psychological defense to keep them from experiencing too much cognitive dissonance with what they have found safety in. Knowledge is power, and most of all, the power to create yourself, at least in the limited sense in which the more perspectives you come in contact with and grasp, the more your authentic life force is able to resonate with what is your being's fateful path. As long as you let yourself be guided by respect for the judgment of others conditioned by fake, conventional knowledge, the less you are able to flow into your own destiny.

And even if a person should never be judged by skills, knowledge, beauty or any other seemingly quantitative characteristics rather than for the fact she/he is a living, breathing being capable of suffering, it helps to develop as many skills as you can, but then the skills you truly feel you would like to integrate into your being. Never let the expectations of others guide you into how you want to develop yourself. However, each skill, each manner of being independent from the utilization of the skills of others, grants you more freedom in expressing yourself in the way you please and in not being steered by your unconscious to please others. If you realize this sufficiently, you will come to feel utter joy in your own personal growth. Never get stuck on what you can do now, how you've learned in the past, in how you've been defined and define yourself in the supposed capacity to learn, because these things can change rapidly. Narcissists have a tendency to keep us down, to curse us with imaginary boundaries and images that stifle us within their own projected illusions. Retrieve your unique passions and use them to seed your growth into the avenues of spontaneous creative flux unconditioned by anyone's expectations but your own, which are best focussed on the joy of the process itself rather than on any end result which you would use to gain anyone else's satisfaction.

Another very useful tip is to seek and find friends that are already in tune with your own values and perspectives and whom you can please by just being yourself. The end goal is not to want to please anyone for gaining approval, but simply for increasing their happiness, but an intermediate step is to find friends which you can gain approval of by doing, saying and feeling the things that are actually spontaneous for you. Seek organizations, meetings and the like where you can resonate with the community gathered there and share interest, passion and mutual growth-stimulating activities with the friends you will make there. Cut bonds with people that make you feel like you have to be an actor when you're with them, or just take the risk of being your true self and creating some conflict with them, then see how they react, and how bonds dissolve naturally when you do this, revealing the fact that you were just afraid of these artificial, draining bonds leaving you lonely once their natural evolution was made clear. Of course, it is best first to form new bonds before dissolving the old, because utter loneliness is rarely good for anyone.

There is much more to be said about this, but I don't want to write a book just now. In each case, you can be sure that this problem is far from being incapable of being overcome. All is just a matter of forming awareness, of finding new possibilities of development, of fostering your own growth, and seeing through the mirage that most other people consider "reality" or "the way things are". You have the ability to create your own reality, step by step, patiently, and gaining roots within yourself rather than letting yourself be puppeted by the gazes that have been produced by your own traumatic past and the sick societies we live in.
 
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Another perspective that might be helpful, depending on your take on life, is considering the fact that free will might be an illusion. We are often so anxious about what we might say, feel, think, or do because we imagine we have some free choice in doing so, and this freedom is somehow what defines us as a person, what defines us as praiseworthy or lamentable, and what inspires regret, guilt and shame or the opposite, pride, self-love and confidence. The illusion is necessary to live life as a human, and to give meaning in general, but at the necessary moments it can be punctuated to relieve ourselves from unnecessary suffering, anxiety and self-flagellating.

According to what I've learned, there's really nothing one can do, things just happen as they happen. Take pride when it helps you and when it can inspire you to do more good in the world. Regret things when it can serve as a reminder to avoid the same path in the future and to rethink and recreate yourself. But don't take pride when it serves an inflation which will be punctured later or when it harms other people. And don't regret at moments when you can't bear it or when it will just keep you down, passive and self-loathing, causing you nothing but further regret down the road. The illusion of free will is a perspective-tool that one needs to master to see that we really master nothing, that the master works through us, that we can only learn to resonate more or less fully with the impossible Real. There can be an immense comfort and inspiration to keep fighting for your soul in realizing the futility of so much of what most people are preoccupied with.

Paradoxically, one gains freedom in realizing how possessed we are by our serving the illusion of free will. Just let it flow without trying to judge how it will be judged, as if you could've chosen any other thing. You are averting futures that could've never really been, and now I am being led to weave into your tale a perspective that, in the grand scheme of things, changes nothing, but for you might change everything, eventually. If you choose not to try to choose your path to be led by whether others will accept it if they see the world the way you were wounded into imagining they all must, and find out that the only relative security and lifejoy is found in intuiting yourself through the eye-flow of your own heart's current, I am sure you will finally find the creative flow you are looking for. Then you can start turning your life into a work of art.
 
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@Potatooesunshinerays

Very concise and to the point. Also accurate, haha... it really is about the "what." But also it's about the notion of expressing the what, if that makes sense. It's about that point of shifting from something being unknown into being known. Once it's known, it is mortal, it can be destroyed. I guess that's what's making me anxious, there's a general belief that some unspecific thing about me will not be received well. That defective feeling. That something is I guess whatever contradicts the image that I think other people have in their mind. When applied to creativity, it's weird, creativity can be anything, right? People hardly even have expectations of creative stuff. So I think I focus too much on having the skill level rather than on the substance of what I'm expressing. It can be hard too because having a low skill level can make it hard to properly formulate what it was I was actually trying to express.

But really I think even as I say that, I've always been reluctant to share the stuff I create. I think the anxiety is around sharing it even knowing it is in an imperfect state and thinking it will not really reflect me.




@devono

That is a great suggestion, I think I've instinctively done that at times and I like when you emphasize that there is no expectation of being good at it. I think I need to give that part more consideration. I especially enjoy taking up new creative outlets more before I have had much exposure to other people's work. Then it's easier to be proud of whatever little things I have done. I'm trying to let go of the urge to compare even after I see other people's work though...

I really wish I could get back to that mindset of a child who gets finger paints for the first time, lol. That unselfconsciousness.




@LightningRaven,

Oh, thanks for this, you're putting words to a lot of the things I've been thinking for myself over the last few years. Well, I've developed a lot of the knowledge I need via intuition, but still been lacking in the positive experiences department.

I think that's where the creative block comes in for me. My head's in the right place but my heart hasn't caught up. In my heart I still scoff at the part of me that is simple, and honest, and naive, and loving, and free, and unlabeled and unboundaried. In my heart I still do not trust that that part of me has a place in this world. I've unfortunately had multiple negative experiences in trying to express that part of myself and maybe at times expressed it the wrong way too which invited misunderstandings and it can be hard to tell which created which. Going back to what I was saying above, those misunderstandings have become a cause of loss, and so they brought pain. But I also have to think, if the bond was based on a mirage, then what actually was lost? Then again, even if I lost an illusion of connection, like you said, being left alone hurts too. But I may have misinterpreted the pain of being alone as the pain of losing a connection. I wasn't necessarily hurt by losing the illusory connection but rather by ending up alone. However it can all be really easy to confuse. Having a history with narcissistic parenting made me learn to take everything personally even if it was not really my fault. I guess I largely agree with your notions about free will. Yet, at the same time, reality is complex. It seems like there's not much useful information to be gained by looking beyond the matrix, though the temptation is always there.

Anyway, it is impressive what lengths people will go to in order to remained cloistered up in a limiting "reality." I have been confronted with that so many times as I tried to escape such a reality. I like how you put it when you talked about how those bonds naturally fade away. I'm sad to have lose those but I recognize that in a way it needed to happen. I'm trying to focus a lot on what is natural and to let it be as it is rather than trying to hem it into or prop up some expectation of what it should be.

I think the creativity will definitely get better like you say when I can meet more like-minded people. I really want that, I've just struggled to put myself out there enough as of yet since I had been hurt so many times before.

It really is all about the joy of the process. I want to get away from the distractions to that joy.

Thanks again for your post. It's quite nice to hear from another perspective a lot of similar thoughts I've had myself. It's nice to know that other people are out there who see beyond this narrow view of reality that so much of our world has imposed on themselves.
 

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Also, when I think about it more, a lot of it has to do with the notion of "It's okay to express this feeling or this part of myself in X situation or with Y person but only there, and not just in general."

So a lot of my anxiety is surrounding the feeling that I can only express myself when it will not be rejected. It makes it hard to know what is "just me" because I have focused so much on who others want me to be in order to determine if part of me is "allowed" to be. As an extrovert I have had a lot of trouble centralizing my self-concept and self-anything.
 

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Also, when I think about it more, a lot of it has to do with the notion of "It's okay to express this feeling or this part of myself in X situation or with Y person but only there, and not just in general."

So a lot of my anxiety is surrounding the feeling that I can only express myself when it will not be rejected. It makes it hard to know what is "just me" because I have focused so much on who others want me to be in order to determine if part of me is "allowed" to be. As an extrovert I have had a lot of trouble centralizing my self-concept and self-anything.
You know, I'm a bit ambiguous about sharing quotes, because I think it's important to try and express the things you feel and think yourself and not to let others speak for you, but in this case I think there's no harm in sharing a few and then departing from those in further discussion.

“Loneliness does not come from having no people about one, but from being unable to communicate the things that seem important to oneself, or from holding certain views which others find inadmissible.”

- Carl Jung

As Rosanov says , people are crushed under the wardrobe. Without lifting the wardrobe it is impossible to deliver whole peoples from their endless and unbearable suffering. It is terrible that even one person should be crushed under such a weight: that he should want to breathe, and not be able to. The wardrobe rests on everybody, and everyone tries to lift it up, but not with the same conviction, not with the same energy. An odd, groaning civilisation. Thinkers ask themselves: "What? People under the wardrobe? However did they get there ?" All the same, they got there. And if someone comes along and proves in the name of objectivity that the burden can never be removed, each of his words adds to the weight of the wardrobe, that object which means to describe thanks to the universality of his 'objective consciousness'. And the whole Christian spirit is here, fondling suffering like a good dog and handing out photographs of crushed but smiling people. "The rationality of the wardrobe is always the best", proclaim the thousands of books published every day to be stacked in the wardrobe. And all the while everyone wants to breathe and no one can breathe, and many say, "We will breathe later", and most do not die, because they are already dead.

It is now or never."

- Raoul Vaneigem

"What has been said about the lack of "originality" in feeling and thinking, holds true also of the act of willing. To recognize this is particularly difficult; modern man seems, if anything, to have too many wishes, and his only problem seems to be that, although he knows what he wants, he cannot have it. All our energy is spent for the purpose of getting what we want, and most people never question the premise of this activity: that they know their true wants. They do not stop to think whether the aims they are pursuing are something they themselves want. In school they want to have good marks, as adults they want to be more and more successful, to make more money, to have more prestige, to buy a better car, to go places, and so on. Yet when they do stop to think in the midst of all this frantic activity, this question may come to their minds: "If I do get this new job, if I get this better car, if I can take this trip – what then? What is the use of it all? Is it really I who wants all this? Am I not running after some goal, which is supposed to make me happy and which eludes me as soon as I have reached it?" These questions, when they arise, are frightening, for they question the very basis on which man's whole activity is built, his knowledge of what he wants. People tend, therefore, to get rid of these disturbing thoughts as soon as possible. They feel that they have been bothered by these questions because they were tired or depressed – and they go on in the pursuit of the aims which they believe are their own.

Yet all this bespeaks a dim realization of the truth – the truth that modern man lives under the illusion that he knows what he wants, while he actually wants what he is supposed to want. In order to accept this, it is necessary to realize that to know what one really wants is not comparatively easy, as most people think, but one of the most difficult problems any human being has to solve. It is a task we frantically try to avoid, by accepting ready-made goals as though they were our own. Modern man is ready to take great risks when he tries to achieve the aims, which are supposed to be "his", but he is deeply afraid of taking the risk and the responsibility of giving himself his own aims. Intense activity is often mistaken for evidence of self-determined action, although we know that it may well be no more spontaneous than the behaviour of an actor or a person hypnotized. When the general plot of the play is handed out, each actor can act vigorously the role he is assigned, and even make up his lines and certain details of the action by himself. Yet he is only playing a role that has been handed over to him.

The particular difficulty in recognizing to what extent our wishes – and our thoughts and feelings, as well – are not really our own, but put into us from the outside, is closely linked up with the problem of authority and freedom. In the course of modern history the authority of the Church has been replaced by that of the State, that of the State by that of conscience, and in our era, the latter has been replaced by the anonymous authority of common sense and public opinion as instruments of conformity. Because we have freed ourselves of the older overt forms of authority, we do not see that we have become the prey of a new kind of authority. We have become automatons who live under the illusion of being selfwilling individuals. This illusion helps the individual to remain unaware of his insecurity, but this is all the help such an illusion can give. Basically the self of the individual is weakened, so that he feels powerless and extremely insecure. He lives in a world to which he has lost genuine relatedness and in which everybody and everything has become instrumentalized, where he has become a part of the machine that his hands have built. He thinks, feels, and wills what he believes he is supposed to think, feel, and will; in this very process he loses his self upon which all genuine security of a free individual must be built.

The loss of the self has increased the necessity to conform, for it results in a profound doubt of one's own identity. If I am nothing but what I believe I am supposed to be – who am "I"? We have seen how the doubt about one's own self started with the breakdown of the medieval order, in which the individual had had an unquestionable place in a fixed order. The identity of the individual has been a major problem of modern philosophy since Descartes. Today we take for granted that we are we. Yet the doubt about ourselves still exists, or has even grown. In his plays, Pirandello has given expression to this feeling of modern man. He starts with the question: Who am I? What proof have I for my own identity, other than the continuation of my physical self? His answer is not like Descartes' – the affirmation of the individual self – but its denial: I have no identity, there is no self excepting the one which is the reflex of what others expect me to be: I am "as you desire me".

This loss of identity then makes it still more imperative to conform; it means that one can be sure of oneself only if one lives up to the expectations of others. If we do not live up to this picture, we not only risk disapproval and increased isolation, but we risk losing the identity of our personality, which means jeopardizing sanity. By conforming with the expectations of others, by not being different, these doubts about one's own identity are silenced and a certain security is gained. However, the price paid is high. Giving up spontaneity and individuality results in a thwarting of life. Psychologically, the automaton, while being alive biologically, is dead emotionally and mentally. While he goes through the motions of living, his life runs through his hands like sand.

Behind a front of satisfaction and optimism, modern man is deeply unhappy; as a matter of fact, he is on the verge of desperation. He desperately clings to the notion of individuality; he wants to be "different", and he has no greater recommendation of anything than that "it is different". We are informed of the individual name of the railroad clerk we buy our tickets from; handbags, playing cards, and portable radios are "personalized", by having the initials of the owner put on them. All this indicates the hunger for "difference", and yet these are almost the last vestiges of individuality that are left. Modern man is starved for life. But since, being an automaton, he cannot experience life in the sense of spontaneous activity, he takes as surrogate any kind of excitement and thrill: the thrill of drinking, of sports, of vicariously living the excitements of fictitious persons on the screen.

What, then, is the meaning of freedom for modern man? He has become free from the external bonds that would prevent him from doing and thinking as he sees fit. He would be free to act according to his own will, if he knew what he wanted, thought, and felt. But he does not know. He conforms to anonymous authorities and adopts a self which is not his. The more he does this, the more powerless he feels, the more is he forced to conform. In spite of a veneer of optimism and initiative, modern man is overcome by a profound feeling of powerlessness, which makes him gaze towards approaching catastrophes as though he were paralysed.

Looked at superficially, people appear to function well enough in economic and social life; yet it would be dangerous to overlook the deep-seated unhappiness behind that comforting veneer. If life loses its meaning because it is not lived, man becomes desperate. People do not die quietly from physical starvation; they do not die quietly from psychic starvation either. If we look only at the economic needs, as far as the "normal" person is concerned, if we do not see the unconscious suffering of the average automatized person, then we fail to see the danger that threatens our culture from its human basis: the readiness to accept any ideology and any leader, if only he promises excitement and offers a political structure and symbols, which allegedly give meaning and order to an individual's life. The despair of the human automaton is fertile soil for the political purposes of Fascism."

- Erich Fromm

"If a man could understand all the horror of the lives of ordinary people who are turning around in a circle of insignificant interests and insignificant aims, if he could understand what they are losing, he would understand that there can only be one thing that is serious for him - to escape from the general law, to be free. What can be serious for a man in prison who is condemned to death? Only one thing: How to save himself, how to escape: nothing else is serious."

- G.I. Gurdjieff

I think it is important to think about what "being allowed to be" is. At its core, I think it is about violence, about the possibility of being killed if you would think, feel, say or do the "wrong" thing. This is what our capitalistic civilization is built on, in the end, the death of quality in the universal quantification that is exchange value, the alienation of (wo)man from her/his own creative, productive activity by the institution of wage labor and private property in an infinite number of concrete forms of the master-slave dialectic.

This potential violence is now inherent in nearly all of our relations with each other, only there it is the more subtle violence of ridicule, exclusion and potential loss of hierarchical status built up in any of the fictional relational networks. People invest their egos into the prevailing ideological fantasies about what life and reality are supposed to be, and hence anything that might put into question their "truth" can be perceived as an attack on themselves and their "peace" or rather repressed cognitive dissonance. If you think about it, human civilization is just a giant fantasy bubble nearing the point of bursting. That's a thought most people are desperate to avoid. Yet the repressed will always return.

As long as you validate the way people exert authority over you in the ways they expect you to be a certain person or only allow you to be a person within a certain allowed range of being, you will be effectively imprisoning yourself and preventing your true coming into being. When these people truly have physical force they might use or the legal representatives of that force, it can be smart to momentarily play along with their fictions, if only to win the battle later on. Yet in most cases all we have to lose is their "acceptance", the way they've invested narcissistic energy into our self-image, into our idea of "being someone", and how they deem you useful in the exchange of services and other means towards pleasures and comforts. This is not true friendship or relating, and it is saddening how often it is mistaken for the ever rarer authentic possibilities of establishing mutuality and collectivity.

So, to conclude, I think that what you struggle with, is something most people have stopped struggling with, because they have died inside and are now merely automatons. The fact that you struggle with it means you are still aware of what is wrong with this maddening world of ours and not ready to just accept it as "the way things are". However, truly being yourself and being consciously at peace at the same time is a goal, that if you choose to pursue it, will take a lot of work and suffering. Creativity and art in all its forms will be necessary to survive it, but at the same time will be fueled by all the energy released by the tension between you and the "world".

In each case, I wish you the best of luck pursuing mystery to wherever your authentic desire leads you.
 
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I'm really having trouble expressing myself creatively. Or expressing what's really important and real and true for me vs. what I think someone else wants to hear. I guess I've had this problem for a while but... I feel like anything I put out there as an expression of myself will be torn down and attacked and criticized. If it's not then good, but then every time I end up feeling like next time surely it will. Basically I'm feeling defective and my self-esteem has not been great. It makes me perfectionistic and that is paralyzing and then the subsequent over-thinking is even worse. I end up getting very all or nothing about any creative endeavors, if I don't have the skills to execute perfection then I find it hard to even try. Like even when I try nothing comes to me because it is buried under the weight of that perfectionism. Somewhere along the way to becoming an adult I lost the fun I used to feel in being creative. :crying:

I was raised by narcissists so no wonder there but as a 4 it's actually really painful to not be able to express myself like I want to. I'm trying to push past the perceived barriers but it's surprisingly hard. I feel like I have to maintain a consistent acceptable image/identity for each situation, each relationship, whatever and I'm afraid of worlds ever colliding so that makes me withdraw. I withdraw even when I just don't know what to say or even just to cope with mild uncertainty and mild shame. I actually do feel really fake and really aloof and I hate it. I've been even worse than I am now and yet I still want to get better. But I keep having this perception that I can't be a stable being, like if I'm completely natural I will be too many different things and it will be weird and probably cringy too.

Anyone relate?
This is VERY 4w3, welcome to the club!

I have almost identical issues when it comes to expressing myself; often times, the "real me" feels inaccessible to even myself.

It's like I want to create, but my whole reason for wanting to create seems rooted in another's approval. The only times I'm truly motivated are when I have to create something for someone else. When it doesn't fit that criteria, my brain goes "what's the point" and the endeavor seems meaningless.

But here's the thing: that kind of thinking is a lie. You can learn so much from creating anything and even criticism helps as well. There's nothing wrong with trying to create something others will like, but that can't be the only reason because then criticism or fear of criticism will destroy any creative efforts. I guess wanting to do something should be reason enough.

There's this great little book I found in Carl Jung Center gift shop called The Artist and Fear that actually really helped me, not only in my examination of creativity, but of my self-expression in general. It's by David Bayles and Ted Orland if you ever want to look it up.

I leave you with this ee cummings quote: "To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else - means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting."

It's rough, I still struggle with self-expression and fear everyday, but it's a battle worth pursuing if that means you get to be who you are :).
 
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@LightningRaven

Wow, those are some powerful quotes. Yes, I have thought things like that and tried to say them with much less eloquent wording.

The thing is, I couldn't be a part of that fantasy. I have been watching the bubble get bigger and there was a time when I was very unsure of where I belonged so I tried to play my part in it. But some string of experiences broke me and caused me to be unable to enter into that again. Unable to believe in that fantasy. I feel like I had awoken to some parallel awareness of life and all around me were desperate zombies who looked just like normal human beings. I still wanted to give them my heart, yet I knew if I did they would eat it. There is a deadness in the dreams that our society dreams. They are mostly dreams of survival, dreams of immortality, and not dreams of being alive. Now I want something more but I don't know what it is or where to find it. That's why I feel alone.

Or, I guess I do know what it is, or at least how it is. But I feel like a conversation is something that happens between two or more people. If I am the lone voice who wants to have that conversation, then what good does it do me? So I haven't had that conversation with people. I've tried to have it with nature, with the universe. But even in nature I am an outsider, chained to this society which hates nature. The reality is there is also a part of me who is still very afraid and wants the kind of security that the people around me have sacrificed so much to have. So I feel like I am in limbo, but it's not a place between worlds, it is really a state of superposition. That is also a kind of death. It is not kind to my body. I have not been at peace, I've been in turmoil, and I can't continue being that way.

See the thing that kept me stuck like this is because I wanted to save others. I wanted to help other people wake up from this toxic fantasy because I saw where it leads to and I feared for them and I mean, beyond that, I simply didn't want to be alone.

But I guess that was an affront to some underpinning principle of existence because like clockwork, all those efforts failed spectacularly and quite painfully. In fact the only thing that changes people is to leave them. I don't necessarily mean to physically leave them. But, psychically, emotionally, to leave this fantasy behind and to be heard from only as pangs of nostalgia, as the presence of an omission.

To look at that fantasy as an outsider, all I feel is loneliness. I feel lonely for the people I can't reach. I feel lonely because I live among them yet they are so far away. But, more than that, I'm wondering what happens next. Where do I go from here? Where is the place I belong? I can't go back to how it used to be.

For a little while now I haven't thought that I have to live entirely in either one world or the other. I don't think I even can.

To say, "I want to be free" is also to imply that I am not already free. When I know that if I can ever be free, I already am free. I think there isn't any journey, any quest I need to embark on. I don't think I have to necessarily change other people, and I hope I don't have to suffer exetensively just to be myself.

So in some ways I think this mindset is too cynical. Anyway, at least I want it to be the case that it's too cynical. I don't like the ways in which I've become cynical. I want to see the best in this world, I just wish I could present myself to this world at my best as well and have that somewhat understood. It is hard to deviate from the conventional nomenclature without being dismissed. But when it comes to creativity, more than something accepted, I want to create something that I think is beautiful, and what hurts me is that I can't do that because I am in many ways a commitment-phobe and a hypocrite. I am afraid of entirely separating myself from this world of "automatons." Yes, I am afraid of "potential violence." The thing is a lot of people have to manage this balance and a lot of people are hiding, too.

I'm not sure if this post was a coherent reply to yours I'm just trying to put some of my thoughts down. This is deep stuff and I can't always properly formulate my thoughts/feelings on it but I really appreciate that you took the time to post it because it definitely speaks to the struggle I'm going through here.
 

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This is VERY 4w3, welcome to the club!

I have almost identical issues when it comes to expressing myself; often times, the "real me" feels inaccessible to even myself.

It's like I want to create, but my whole reason for wanting to create seems rooted in another's approval. The only times I'm truly motivated are when I have to create something for someone else. When it doesn't fit that criteria, my brain goes "what's the point" and the endeavor seems meaningless.

But here's the thing: that kind of thinking is a lie. You can learn so much from creating anything and even criticism helps as well. There's nothing wrong with trying to create something others will like, but that can't be the only reason because then criticism or fear of criticism will destroy any creative efforts. I guess wanting to do something should be reason enough.

There's this great little book I found in Carl Jung Center gift shop called The Artist and Fear that actually really helped me, not only in my examination of creativity, but of my self-expression in general. It's by David Bayles and Ted Orland if you ever want to look it up.

I leave you with this ee cummings quote: "To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else - means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting."

It's rough, I still struggle with self-expression and fear everyday, but it's a battle worth pursuing if that means you get to be who you are :).

Thanks, I will definitely check out that book!

I know you're right. I guess we all know it, right? It's hard and you feel like, "what's the point?" And then you tell yourself, but I know there SHOULD be some point to it. And then it's like, "ehhhhh..."

I guess it's just one of those things that truly does take a lot of time and a lot of experiences. I have been trying lately to create, even if it's shit, just for the sake and the joy of creating, or at least the joy of having created. At the very least it does always feel good to finish something.

I think it's awesome that you keep pushing forward and trying to express yourself in spit of the fear! Thanks for sharing that.
 

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Thanks, I will definitely check out that book!

I know you're right. I guess we all know it, right? It's hard and you feel like, "what's the point?" And then you tell yourself, but I know there SHOULD be some point to it. And then it's like, "ehhhhh..."

I guess it's just one of those things that truly does take a lot of time and a lot of experiences. I have been trying lately to create, even if it's shit, just for the sake and the joy of creating, or at least the joy of having created. At the very least it does always feel good to finish something.

I think it's awesome that you keep pushing forward and trying to express yourself in spit of the fear! Thanks for sharing that.
What I'm learning too is it's okay not to create or not want to create. I've been trying to write more recently because I kept thinking I needed to in order to get some sort of fulfillment, but any creative effort is really difficult! Of course I don't feel up to it all the time because sometimes it's a large undertaking.

I guess what I'm trying to say is: go easy on yourself :p. There's a time to create but also a time not to create and enjoy doing something else. Not every day is life and death (this advice is more for myself :p).
 
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@LightningRaven

Wow, those are some powerful quotes. Yes, I have thought things like that and tried to say them with much less eloquent wording.

The thing is, I couldn't be a part of that fantasy. I have been watching the bubble get bigger and there was a time when I was very unsure of where I belonged so I tried to play my part in it. But some string of experiences broke me and caused me to be unable to enter into that again. Unable to believe in that fantasy. I feel like I had awoken to some parallel awareness of life and all around me were desperate zombies who looked just like normal human beings. I still wanted to give them my heart, yet I knew if I did they would eat it. There is a deadness in the dreams that our society dreams. They are mostly dreams of survival, dreams of immortality, and not dreams of being alive. Now I want something more but I don't know what it is or where to find it. That's why I feel alone.

Or, I guess I do know what it is, or at least how it is. But I feel like a conversation is something that happens between two or more people. If I am the lone voice who wants to have that conversation, then what good does it do me? So I haven't had that conversation with people. I've tried to have it with nature, with the universe. But even in nature I am an outsider, chained to this society which hates nature. The reality is there is also a part of me who is still very afraid and wants the kind of security that the people around me have sacrificed so much to have. So I feel like I am in limbo, but it's not a place between worlds, it is really a state of superposition. That is also a kind of death. It is not kind to my body. I have not been at peace, I've been in turmoil, and I can't continue being that way.

See the thing that kept me stuck like this is because I wanted to save others. I wanted to help other people wake up from this toxic fantasy because I saw where it leads to and I feared for them and I mean, beyond that, I simply didn't want to be alone.

But I guess that was an affront to some underpinning principle of existence because like clockwork, all those efforts failed spectacularly and quite painfully. In fact the only thing that changes people is to leave them. I don't necessarily mean to physically leave them. But, psychically, emotionally, to leave this fantasy behind and to be heard from only as pangs of nostalgia, as the presence of an omission.

To look at that fantasy as an outsider, all I feel is loneliness. I feel lonely for the people I can't reach. I feel lonely because I live among them yet they are so far away. But, more than that, I'm wondering what happens next. Where do I go from here? Where is the place I belong? I can't go back to how it used to be.

For a little while now I haven't thought that I have to live entirely in either one world or the other. I don't think I even can.

To say, "I want to be free" is also to imply that I am not already free. When I know that if I can ever be free, I already am free. I think there isn't any journey, any quest I need to embark on. I don't think I have to necessarily change other people, and I hope I don't have to suffer exetensively just to be myself.

So in some ways I think this mindset is too cynical. Anyway, at least I want it to be the case that it's too cynical. I don't like the ways in which I've become cynical. I want to see the best in this world, I just wish I could present myself to this world at my best as well and have that somewhat understood. It is hard to deviate from the conventional nomenclature without being dismissed. But when it comes to creativity, more than something accepted, I want to create something that I think is beautiful, and what hurts me is that I can't do that because I am in many ways a commitment-phobe and a hypocrite. I am afraid of entirely separating myself from this world of "automatons." Yes, I am afraid of "potential violence." The thing is a lot of people have to manage this balance and a lot of people are hiding, too.

I'm not sure if this post was a coherent reply to yours I'm just trying to put some of my thoughts down. This is deep stuff and I can't always properly formulate my thoughts/feelings on it but I really appreciate that you took the time to post it because it definitely speaks to the struggle I'm going through here.
Hey,

thank you for your thoughtful reply. One thing you definitely shouldn't worry about is whether you express your thoughts and feelings coherently or eloquently enough, because, first off, you definitely do and it is quite clear you are very intelligent and skilled with words, and second, that shouldn't really matter in the first place. Coherence or "rationality" often imply loss of emotional sincerity and spontaneity as well, even if there are creative ways to balance these aspects of communication.

I am especially struck with how you describe our society's "dreaming" ways, in how many people sacrifice life itself for some kind of fictional, commodified immortality. However paradoxical that might seem on first sight, I think a preoccupation with immortality, leaving some kind of lasting, tangible, solid mark on the world or amassing an extensive collection of pleasurable experiences to "recollect" at death speaks, in most cases, about a profound dissatisfaction with life and how it manifests in the now, be it conscious or unconscious.

In each case, people like us who are somewhat aware of our mental imprisonment and who have taken some steps in freeing ourselves from it, are proportionally rare, yet we live on a planet with billions of people. It's understandable that you feel alone, but this is hardly necessary since it's possible to find all kinds of people who are similarly "awoken" or "alive", if we want to name this complex issue with a simple term. It might be quite challenging to find an agreeable number of them in real life, in your immediate vicinity, but it's definitely possible, and in the meantime you can find plenty of them online, however limited online relations are in allowing opportunities for emotional expression and relational intimacy.

I agree with you that it's not very worthwhile to try to have these kinds of conversations with most people, especially if you are the only one with a living voice, and that trying to engage your surroundings as a lone wolf cognitive activist is one of the most discouraging activities you can undertake. However, much of our planetary problems are due to us not having much in the way of authentic collectives and mutual creative projects. Therefore, the best step, if you want to help people and contribute to a better world, might be to first find allies that understand you and the issues facing this world, so that you can form stronger roots and participate in collective projects that have a far greater potential of affecting change. You can't do this alone.

If I say I don't take much account of what other people might think of me or whether they accept me, that doesn't mean I just go along and say whatever I think or do whatever I'd like to do no matter the circumstances or company I find myself in. I do my best to understand whatever position anyone finds themselves in, no matter how automaton-like or even "evil", and - unless extreme emotions prevent me from doing this - try to act strategically and empathically to achieve whatever I consider feasible in the given situation. I don't want to suggest this is what you should do, it's just something that works fairly well for me at the moment. I compensate for this a bit by doing whatever the hell I like on social media like facebook, but in real life, I try to consider that even automatons have feelings and that a full out cognitive assault usually has an effect opposite to the one intended, especially when not launched from a collective.

I think many people will only be "shook" enough from the rigidity of their safe mental circuitry when there are enough real life shocks resulting from the consequences of phenomena like global warming and an economic system filled with inherent contradictions. The best focus of your attention and energy might be on the people who are already on the fence, perhaps confused, suffering, in shock already or just releasing their former naïveté and ignorance because of some kind of profound experience or contact with profound knowledge/wisdom.

It's not that the automatons don't all have a little flame left inside them, it's not that they've completely lost their soul, it's just that they've grown so much armor and layers of death, fear and greed around it that it might as well not be there. As you said, some are simply hiding as well, and these are the ones where fear reigns supreme, but there is perhaps a little less death. In each case, it's best to try to find the people that you can reach and really relate to and cooperate with. And believe me, if you look, there's plenty of us to find.

As long as this global system doesn't collapse and isn't overthrown, I fear it won't be possible not to have to live in the dead world at least some of the time. However, you can evolve ways to hang on to forms of authenticity even in those moments and to develop subtle ways of subversion and living learning in every moment, no matter how constraining. Every moment holds living possibilities. The more you become aware of this, the more you become perhaps some kind of planeswalker and magician capable of bearing even the most absurd and unjust, and finding ways of conjuring purpose into it.

Of course, the ultimate way of being yourself and not holding anything back, in this world, is art. That's where you should never, ever take compromises and where you should just let all that fertile conflict and struggle find an outlet into magical beauty. Since this is what you first posted about, this may be your most strategic battleground to begin, to be truly yourself in your creations, and to find others with whom you can share your creations, knowing that they are on the same wavelength and will be able to appreciate your authenticity.

As for the suffering, I just know I had to suffer for a really long time and in quite intense ways to get to where I am now, and that many wise people consider suffering as one of a number of pathways to meaningful personal growth. Of course, this suffering is interspersed with moments of profound joy and beauty, and it is a living suffering, as opposed to flatline pseudo-happiness, for instance, as well as being temporary and an unwilled result of a certain purpose, usually initially unconscious. Just because this was the case for me, doesn't mean it has to be for you, I'd just like you to know that, were you to continue to have great struggles and the associated suffering, this doesn't necessarily mean you're doing badly, nor should you ever let it discourage you into giving up.

And as for cynicism, there's certainly no need for that. The world, as in the universe or multiverse and all that entails, is most certainly a magnificent, mysterious and magical phenomenon. It's just that our current Western culture, because of a variety of happenings leading up to the current situation, is extremely sick. This doesn't have to take away the wonder of nature, life, humanity and the myriad grand possibilities of existence. We just live in tough times, there's quite the challenge and for most, the world has been disenchanted because of all the "realistic" illusions that we've put in place. That doesn't mean the magic has gone, or that your hopes and dreams are impossible or "unrealistic", it just means you've got an epic, challenging battle on your hands. There's so many people spending huge portions of their lives playing the wildest fantasy RPGs and watching the most frightening science fiction movies because they're bored with their "real" life, apparently not realizing that the actual real life underlying the illusion they've been sold about "the world as it is" is more epic, complex and magical than anything any fantasy author could come up with, and continually inviting them to take up an actual role in protecting all the stunning forms of life that have arisen on it.

Don't worry about hypocrisy and fear of committing to any path for now, it's quite normal that changes and decisions of this magnitude take time and slow, incremental progress through experimenting in all kinds of experiences. Also, most automatons would spontaneously explode if they were to become aware of even a tiny portion of their actual hypocrisy. They just repress most of it, so you shouldn't feel too bad about your own, burdened as you are with awareness. As you evolve, your sense for personal hypocrisy will be refined and begin to detect ever more subtle forms of it, based on ever more distant and more complex associations and metaphors. So there's really no escaping it but after a certain point it won't be very troubling anymore because you've already covered quite a distance and you no longer have a very noticeable ego to defend from the accusation of hypocrisy.

I hope this helps a bit, but of course it's your life, and you should be free to live it and become who you are.
 
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What I'm learning too is it's okay not to create or not want to create. I've been trying to write more recently because I kept thinking I needed to in order to get some sort of fulfillment, but any creative effort is really difficult! Of course I don't feel up to it all the time because sometimes it's a large undertaking.

I guess what I'm trying to say is: go easy on yourself :p. There's a time to create but also a time not to create and enjoy doing something else. Not every day is life and death (this advice is more for myself :p).
That's actually a really good point. It's okay to not create. Sometimes all these urges inside are a mess. And I don't know what I really want from them. My motivations can be all confused. Yet I keep repeating to myself like a broken record, I want to create, I want to create. I know I do but it becomes an almost exhausting thing and that is not an energy I think of as being creative.

Maybe as a 4 it's easy to have this raw desire to create yet on the other hand, to not have enough source material with which to go about it. This probably gets worse the more we withdraw. So then in that case, it just doesn't come, like trying to drive on an empty tank. I think for me as a 4 it's kind of threatening to reach that point. I feel like I'm dying a little bit when I have this notion that I want it and yet, it doesn't come to me. But then, other times I think, the will to create, on its own, it doesn't necessarily mean anything, right? Creativity just happens. You can't trap it, you can't ever really get a handle on it in the way you wish you could. It just has to come to you when the time is right. Maybe the less you try, the less you focus on it, the more it becomes possible.
 

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That's actually a really good point. It's okay to not create. Sometimes all these urges inside are a mess. And I don't know what I really want from them. My motivations can be all confused. Yet I keep repeating to myself like a broken record, I want to create, I want to create. I know I do but it becomes an almost exhausting thing and that is not an energy I think of as being creative.

Maybe as a 4 it's easy to have this raw desire to create yet on the other hand, to not have enough source material with which to go about it. This probably gets worse the more we withdraw. So then in that case, it just doesn't come, like trying to drive on an empty tank. I think for me as a 4 it's kind of threatening to reach that point. I feel like I'm dying a little bit when I have this notion that I want it and yet, it doesn't come to me. But then, other times I think, the will to create, on its own, it doesn't necessarily mean anything, right? Creativity just happens. You can't trap it, you can't ever really get a handle on it in the way you wish you could. It just has to come to you when the time is right. Maybe the less you try, the less you focus on it, the more it becomes possible.
SHIT, I know we've talked before but SHIT!!!! We need to talk more!!!

You basically wrote what I go through every single day of my life... I mean, I try to tell myself it's okay not to and all, but I'm miserable all the time because something in me is just like "CREATE, CREATE, CREATE, GIVE YOUR LIFE MEANING, THIS IS YOUR PURPOSE, CREATE!"
And YES, I don't know what to create! Sometimes, I really just don't have time or really just don't want to, but it still makes me miserable! And I'm super withdrawn right now... I've intentionally and unintentionally socially isolated myself and am incredibly lonely most of the time, but all my head cares about is creating sometimes! What I really need is friends and to just enjoy my life more... And you're absolutely right, you can't trap it! But my mind on creating is like a vice grip...

I'm now determined to try thinking about other things to do with my time because I think you just articulated the issue as well as the solution. Why are some 4s like this... No one else in my life gets it. Thanks for reaffirming I'm not just crazy!
 
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SHIT, I know we've talked before but SHIT!!!! We need to talk more!!!

You basically wrote what I go through every single day of my life... I mean, I try to tell myself it's okay not to and all, but I'm miserable all the time because something in me is just like "CREATE, CREATE, CREATE, GIVE YOUR LIFE MEANING, THIS IS YOUR PURPOSE, CREATE!"
And YES, I don't know what to create! Sometimes, I really just don't have time or really just don't want to, but it still makes me miserable! And I'm super withdrawn right now... I've intentionally and unintentionally socially isolated myself and am incredibly lonely most of the time, but all my head cares about is creating sometimes! What I really need is friends and to just enjoy my life more... And you're absolutely right, you can't trap it! But my mind on creating is like a vice grip...

I'm now determined to try thinking about other things to do with my time because I think you just articulated the issue as well as the solution. Why are some 4s like this... No one else in my life gets it. Thanks for reaffirming I'm not just crazy!
Haha well I'm also glad to hear that I'm not alone because I feel crazy a lot of the time too.

But yeah I've thought about this issue a lot...
Tbh I think this has a lot to do with loneliness.
I remember reading a quote somewhere about fours being "cut off from existence." Well, I think it's kind of like that. By default we live in our feelings, in our own world, away from reality. I think in a lot of ways the desire to create is the desire to express our world to the real world. However the less participation we have in the real world, the more we get "cut off from existence," it starts to be like we simply don't have the building blocks with which to create. Every time we try to materialize and get a grasp on our feelings, they slip between our fingers. And a kind of frustration sets in.

So I think a lot of this burning desire to create is really loneliness. It's a desire to be recognized and sort of mirrored, you know? A desire to see our feelings take on some real existing form. This is what causes the WILL, the HUNGER to create, rather than the creativity just happening spontaneously for its own sake. Because there is the perception that if I create, I will fill in the core wound of being misunderstood.

The messed up thing is I know for me, as a 4, I am at risk of putting my feelings and fantasies and dreams before my own physical existence itself. That's really not how it should be... self-care is an awesome/important thing.

I feel like I keep seeing this pattern in life that the more you try to achieve something, the further you actually get from ever achieving it. Maybe it's about learning t o kind of let go of the wheel and just coast, having no idea how you will get anywhere by doing that.

You're NOT crazy. Honestly I think just being a 4 sucks hard in a lot of ways.

I think it's just important to remember this feeling is not a creative feeling it is LONELINESS.
That's the truth for me, I know it, I feel really alone a lot of the time and I just haven't figured out how to reliably stop feeling that way right now.
 

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Haha well I'm also glad to hear that I'm not alone because I feel crazy a lot of the time too.

But yeah I've thought about this issue a lot...
Tbh I think this has a lot to do with loneliness.
I remember reading a quote somewhere about fours being "cut off from existence." Well, I think it's kind of like that. By default we live in our feelings, in our own world, away from reality. I think in a lot of ways the desire to create is the desire to express our world to the real world. However the less participation we have in the real world, the more we get "cut off from existence," it starts to be like we simply don't have the building blocks with which to create. Every time we try to materialize and get a grasp on our feelings, they slip between our fingers. And a kind of frustration sets in.

So I think a lot of this burning desire to create is really loneliness. It's a desire to be recognized and sort of mirrored, you know? A desire to see our feelings take on some real existing form. This is what causes the WILL, the HUNGER to create, rather than the creativity just happening spontaneously for its own sake. Because there is the perception that if I create, I will fill in the core wound of being misunderstood.

The messed up thing is I know for me, as a 4, I am at risk of putting my feelings and fantasies and dreams before my own physical existence itself. That's really not how it should be... self-care is an awesome/important thing.

I feel like I keep seeing this pattern in life that the more you try to achieve something, the further you actually get from ever achieving it. Maybe it's about learning t o kind of let go of the wheel and just coast, having no idea how you will get anywhere by doing that.

You're NOT crazy. Honestly I think just being a 4 sucks hard in a lot of ways.

I think it's just important to remember this feeling is not a creative feeling it is LONELINESS.
That's the truth for me, I know it, I feel really alone a lot of the time and I just haven't figured out how to reliably stop feeling that way right now.
This makes a lot of sense... Honestly, it's something I've slowly been recognizing in myself.

For some reason I've been thinking of creation as a means to "fix" my loneliness all on my own. Instead of putting myself out there, I could just imagine friends or imagine a more interesting reality. But that doesn't fix anything...

It sucks to face reality, so I guess that's why we choose not to :p. I like the illusion of having control and not needing anyone else. But that's just it: it's just an illusion.
Maybe the first step to not putting so much pressure on ourselves is to accept our loneliness?
 
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This makes a lot of sense... Honestly, it's something I've slowly been recognizing in myself.

For some reason I've been thinking of creation as a means to "fix" my loneliness all on my own. Instead of putting myself out there, I could just imagine friends or imagine a more interesting reality. But that doesn't fix anything...

It sucks to face reality, so I guess that's why we choose not to :p. I like the illusion of having control and not needing anyone else. But that's just it: it's just an illusion.
Maybe the first step to not putting so much pressure on ourselves is to accept our loneliness?
ME TOO. I have relied on that illusion a lot. If I don't need anyone else it's not as vulnerable and I don't have to feel hurt about the scars from the past. I have actually had this huge fantasy of being able to take care of everything myself and it is sooo impossible.

I don't really know what "the right thing to do" is. I think in one way as fours we need our imagination as a coping mechanism because our imagination is a big part of who we are. I don't think it's wrong to use imagination to cope when that's all you can do, BUT what is wrong is to avoid other coping mechanisms and try to solve all feelings or even trying to avoid addressing tangible problems by using your imagination instead.

Idk. Putting yourself out there is good though. I think also I'm noticing this in myself a lot lately... as a four, there's no way I'm going to come across to others as ever really having my shit together or being seen the way I wish I was seen. I have to get used to it. Let it all hang out, you know? I hate to be like that but I really think it's just a practical reality. I think we need to learn to share our mess with others rather than imagining the perfect situation where we wouldn't have to. It's got to be better to eat a little shame and also find some support and connection than to sit there dying and decaying in a dream. In fact the mess and the conflict that it creates is probably where real creativity comes from anyway.
 
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