A creative person in each of us, or How to discover a genius in yourself?


Recently, coloring books and art books for adults have come into vogue, new hobby markets are opening up with goods for needlework, painting, modeling, for creating perfume compositions. We strive to develop potential, we like to do things that cannot be found in any store. Does this mean that we are not satisfied with what already exists?

“No matter how many ready-made things are in the world, they do not say anything about us, about our personality and history, so you always want to do something of your own and in your own way,” says Marina Baskakova, a gestalt therapist.1

Therefore, there are more and more people who create interior design, clothes, jewelry, favorite dishes with their own hands … Their motto is “I do it myself”. Because I want to declare my uniqueness and I enjoy it.

Instrumental case

But what about those who cannot boast of golden hands? Fortunately, the creative field is vast. Scientists and philosophers create with the power of the mind; dancers benefit from body flexibility and a sense of space; the one who was the first to combine water with flour and make a flat cake undoubtedly deserves the title of an outstanding creator.

Just as there are several forms of intelligence, there are many types of creativity. And not all of them are associated with IQ, which measures verbal and logical intelligence: according to some historical information, Mozart was not very smart.

One of the tests in the creativity test of psychologist Ellis Paul Torrance, another pioneer in assessing creativity, is to find new uses for the most common objects, such as cardboard boxes.

With the development of positive psychology, whose representatives seek to understand the mechanisms that allow us to experience well-being, a new form of creativity has emerged: the art of being happy, inventing our life and happiness day after day.

Where does that come from

Creativity is already evident in the early years of life, when we play with blocks, dolls, robots and cars and let our imaginations run wild while writing stories.

“It just doesn’t happen in another way,” emphasizes Marina Baskakova, “this is our nature: all children do something, build, paint, play. Another thing is that adults do not always approve of this, because it interferes with order, schedule, structure. There are many prohibitions: you cannot stain the wall with a pencil, your hands with earth. As a result, many abandon creativity – some forever, some for a while. “

Creative potential depends not only on the vicissitudes of our development and the behavior of others, but also on our beliefs. Psychologist, motivation researcher Carol Dweck2 noticed that people who are convinced that the results of their activities depend primarily on their brilliant mental abilities and only to a small extent on their own efforts, in the end, only superficially develop creativity, even if they were very gifted in the beginning.

But is it really necessary to be creative?

“It is quite possible that someone will live their entire life, doing without creative self-expression,” admits Marina Baskakova. – But during crises, we feel that it is time to revise the rules by which we lived, to change the structure of everyday life, to discover ourselves. Creativity helps with this. “

Finding a way to express our inner content, we get to know it and become more holistic, more ourselves.

There is also an inverse relationship. “We are often encouraged to be creative by negative emotions and states, such as loneliness, anger, despair, jealousy,” notes clinical psychologist, specialist in the psychology of humor Alena Ivanova.

What would have remained an overwhelming weight in the soul becomes energy and material for creating something new and unusual.

Art therapy: to whom? what for?

Word therapy is not for everyone. Some people express themselves more willingly and more freely in drawing, painting, sculpture, dance: people who find it difficult to find words for their experiences, and those who rationalize everything too much, and also children …

Artistic creativity gives us another opportunity to free our emotions, explore the unconscious, and come to bodily tranquility. This practice is worth getting to know.

The entrance to the unconscious

Neuroimaging techniques allow us to see that the brain activity of a poet, who builds a chain of associations, is similar to the brain activity during delirium. The connection between giftedness and insanity has been noticed by many researchers. How dangerous is it for us?

“Yes, the thinking of people with schizophrenia is similar to the peculiarities of creative thinking,” agrees Alena Ivanova. – Also, a manic state, which occurs in various diseases, at the initial stage can contribute to working capacity, including creative work. But a morbid state occurs only if the content of the unconscious completely overlaps the consciousness. And most of us can still draw the line between fantasy, no matter how violent it may be, and reality. “

From the point of view of psychoanalysis, creativity arises due to the mechanism of sublimation: in a state of frustration, the sexual energy of the libido can be redirected to socially approved activities. But won’t our ability to love, physically and emotionally, diminish if we put this energy into creativity?

“Of course not,” says a clinical psychologist. – Creativity raises the level of energy, and not only sexual, but vital energy in general, precisely because it is in demand and finds its expression. All lovers know this: they want to sing and write poetry, and this does not weaken their feelings at all. “

A creative person in each of us, or How to discover a genius in yourself?

Not like everyone else

What was once an individual, intuitively found mode of action, over time becomes generally accepted.

“Society denies the individual the right to use the natural method, forcing him to master the accepted mode of action, and only then allows him to work … Housekeeping becomes a profession; furnishing an apartment becomes a designer’s job. The same happens with many areas of activity, for example, with mathematics, singing, acting, military operations, planning, thinking and others, “- said the creator of the system of human development through body movement Moshe Feldenkrais3

We are often scared or ashamed to sing, dance, draw something if we have not been taught to do it “rightly”. But creativity is a world where we set the rules ourselves. Many of those we think are geniuses were at odds with the training system.

Cosmonautics theorist Konstantin Tsiolkovsky remained in the second grade of the gymnasium for the second year, and from the third he was expelled and further engaged in self-education. Nobel laureate Joseph Brodsky was given the following description in the fourth grade: “He does his homework assignments very poorly, or even does not do them at all. The notebook has sloppy, dirty … “

The spirit of disobedience inherent in creativity can cause protest from others.

“Geniuses can be scary or strange,” notes Marina Baskakova. – There is something disturbing in any art. It changes the quality of life, brings spontaneity into it: the creator does what he wants and how he wants. Those who do not allow themselves to do this feel humiliated. “

Well, not every activity and not all the fruits of our creativity will be approved, but after all, not only the result is important to us, but also the path to it and the freedom that we experience. Aren’t we like the geniuses who change the course of history in this?

Vinnikkota sausages

According to the British psychoanalyst, creativity is not the privilege of artists. It manifests itself in our relationship with the world.

Creativity helps to give meaning to our existence, but it is not limited to “artistic creation,” says Donald Winnicott and shows this with an example: “You can prepare sausages traditionally or according to an original recipe. The result will be equally good, but creativity will bloom everyday life … If we manage to surprise ourselves, this is a manifestation of creativity. “

Winnicott argued that anyone who knows how to apply this approach can make any boring business interesting for himself. It doesn’t take talent to get into creative life. But it’s better to have a “good enough mother,” as Winnicott famously put it. This is the mother (or a relative who performs her functions), who catches the child’s needs and knows how to be close to him, but in such a way that her presence does not overwhelm.

“Some children have to grow up in an environment of fabulous creativity, focused on the needs of adults, but not the child. This environment is choking and overwhelming, and the child learns to withdraw, ”Winnicott notes.

But if a “good enough” mother creates a sense of confidence in the child without imposing anything on him, he develops his imagination and builds a mental “transition space” where he reinvents the objects he lacks (breast, nipple).

This space of illusion will later become a space of desires, creativity and inner life. It occurs when a child grows up in safety and learns to be free – “has a right to exist.”

1 Marina Baskakova’s master class “Creativity or Suffering: Choosing Our Way” will be held at the Psychologies workshop. More details at master.psyday.ru

2 K. Dweck Flexible Consciousness (Mann, Ivanov and Ferber, 2019).

3 M. Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement (Academic Project, 2020).

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