Today if you are a creative person, you are still an enigma. You are a mysterious and rarely understood person who almost magically comes up with real and new things seemingly out of nothing. But you also understand there is a price you pay for that ability. The peace, purpose and health of your creative mind relies greatly on the environment and having those around you to guide and mentor you in order to learn how to live successfully.
In the creative community and professions there is a sense of instability because success and acceptance also relies on one being recognized and valued by society. This is how one may gain a feeling accomplishment. Many creative livelihoods need to have a following of those who believe/appreciate/ admire their work. And many times Popular society is needed to bring creative works forward and showcase them, but popularity can be a fickled thing. It relies on likes and dislikes which change like the wind. Creative individuals have such great drive and passion to create those things envisioned/felt deep within themselves. They want others to appreciate, understand and applaud them. So many times that which they seek is evasive.
And when we don’t have that affirmation, it can be very difficult and painful. And there are those who have the creative spirit that have squelched it because it is too difficult, but then have no peace still struggling with the character traits of a creative person that represent a very complex personality. So let’s examine this issue!
There are different ways of looking at personality types. I have included a chart of one such model. The creative personality is not one of them, but it is a collective of many personality traits, most likely a combination of the traditional four temperament types. Those who would qualify, as creative are not just artists, actors, dancers, writers but also scientists, inventors, entrepreneurs, chefs. We can use our creative abilities in almost any profession, but we will still have the traits which are listed out later that defines what I propose as a fifth temperament. There is no estimation of how many people possess this temperament, but my guess it is 10% to 15% which also happens to be the estimated percentage of those with learning disabilities and the estimated number of individuals who are right-brained. If we crossed reference some of these issues and traits, they seem to correlate to one another. I believe their is some clarity to be had here. So much as been defined as a negative or abnormal, that may not be the case. That connection will also be explored and discussed another time.
While researching I came across a man, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, who has studied the creative personality for more than 30 years and he has written an article, The Creative Personality: Ten Paradoxical Traits of the Creative Personality, that gives a description of the creative personality that I can attest to as accurate as far as how it describes me, my family members and friends who demonstrate the same creative tendencies and traits. And much like the other temperaments there are positive and negative sides to personality traits, it is important to develop the positive side.
It seemed like a full time job sometimes to manage so many traits and when it was the right time to use them. One really can’t do it on our own. I recognized I needed God and his strength, power and Holy Spirit to help me, or else I become overwhelmed. The creative personality can be a great burden to bear, but it also bring huge amounts of beauty and joy in life and to those around us.
The article’s definition with all its complexity makes it is clear why we have had so much confusion in understanding ourselves and how others have difficulty understanding us. They have a difficult time understanding because one does’t fit in a standardize model. There is no battery of tests that can be given by the educational system, psychologists, and employers that tell them we embody the creative spirit. The understanding begins here with self-awareness.
In the article Csikszentmihalyi states a definition with all the complexity that creates so much confusion in understanding one’s self.
The traits are as follows:
Creative people have a great deal of physical energy, but they’re also often quiet and at rest.
Creative people tend to be smart yet naive at the same time.
Creative people combine playfulness and discipline, or responsibility and irresponsibility.
Creative people alternate between imagination and fantasy, and a rooted sense of reality.
Creative people tend to be both extroverted and introverted.
Creative people are humble and proud at the same time.
Creative people, to an extent, escape rigid gender role stereotyping.
Creative people are both rebellious and conservative.
Most creative people are very passionate about their work, yet they can be extremely objective about it as well.
Creative people’s openness and sensitivity often exposes them to suffering and pain, yet also to great deal of enjoyment.
We are in a situation that reminds me of the story of the blind men and the elephant. Each man felt a different part of the elephant and by the characteristics and features they felt they defined what they were experiencing.
That is how it is for me with others. I will meet people and be exhibiting particular traits, so that is how they believe I am, but not realizing the depth of my personality. The next time we meet I may be portraying an opposite trait. I have people who meet me when I am being extroverted, playful and energetic; they see me as a popular cheerleader type because that is what was required socially at that time. If they meet me while I am thoughtful, writing and introverted it would not register with them that I am being myself. They may also believe that I am bitchy or stuck up. Or if they never see me that way they will continue to believe I am as they saw me previously.
I believe without a complete understanding of myself, I have and can continue fall victim to a lot of confusion and also to misguided leadership. You can also doubt yourself and what you are. You know who you are and what you need, but when you explain it others they lose interest or try to understand, but many times they can’t because they are only seeing part of the elephant and they are pushing you to decide what part are you going to be, the extrovert or the introvert because you can’t be both it is unhealthy and beyond their comprehension.
For years I struggled in life with who I was. I once saw a flower growing out of a rock. At that time I felt the loneliness of the flower and in its isolation while it struggled to grow to become what it was meant to be. Now I see that rock as the presence of God in my life that I was growing out from. He was protecting me. He was my rock and foundation in a world I perceived as non-supportive, not in meanness, but in ignorance of who I was.
I didn’t have information I needed to learn how to be the best I could be, to find my way in a world that mislabeled/perceived me incorrectly. When I got ideas, drew or wrote I would get so excited and they didn’t now how to react. I didn’t know what to do. I think in my naivety I thought they all knew what to do and it was being kept from me. I was always on the look out for someone to guide me. That’s when I realized something about God.
God has been there the whole time, good and bad, hard and easy growing me into the person he meant for me to be. I can say he has lead me to a good place where I can be who I need to be who can resist to pressures of what others think I should be. I still struggle with the need for approval and acceptance. It is an everyday commitment to stay in that good place and relationship with Jesus where there is peace and rest without judgment and I have access to unconditional love and his presence to support me to be the person he wants me to be.
God made us who we are for a reason and it is not to torture us. But when you have such a complex personality that doesn’t fit into an already established definition, you feel a little lost and forgotten.
He has a perfect plan for us.
8 For not only has the Word concerning and from the Lord resounded forth from you unmistakably in Macedonia and Achaia, but everywhere the report has gone forth of your faith in God [of your leaning of your whole personality on Him in complete trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness]. So we [find that we] never need to tell people anything [further about it]. (AMP)
God is good and he does not abandon us or the work that he starts in us nor should we. When we except Christ as our savior, he is fully capable to work with us to realize our potential whether we are recognized or valued by society and he direct us to a path to fulfill our desires to use our creative abilities and gives us rest and peace in our lives. When others don’t understand, He does and he is always there. We learn to understand the concept of God being there for us in the seasons of life when we may not feel we are getting anywhere with our endeavors.
Let your character or moral disposition be free from love of money [including greed, avarice, lust, and craving for earthly possessions] and be satisfied with your present [circumstances and with what you have]; for He [God] Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [Iwill] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down (relax My hold on you)! [Assuredly not!] (AMP)
This personal relationship with God is true. I am not selling anything. My goal is to give hope. This is about learning to have a personal trust based relationship with Christ who loves us so much he sacrificed so much to establish it. We learn to trust Him and know he is with us always through the presence of the Holy Spirit within us.
That why having a definition of this complicated personality is so exciting, and having a God who created me who is excited about all the things I am able to do. Even if I am not completely understood by others it is OK because He does! My acceptance and love comes from Him. We don’t have to change ourselves to please others. We can grow and develop as a person by His prompting and our obedience.