Elaine Aron, author of The Highly Sensitive Person, says that “almost all HSPs have an artistic side they enjoy expressing … or they deeply appreciate some form of art.” She also says that, “almost all studies of the personalities of prominent artists insist that sensitivity is central.”
Todd Henry, author of The Accidental Creative: How to Be Brilliant at a Moment’s Notice, notes, “It’s not a rule by any means, but many creatively gifted people tend to display a natural tendency toward introversion. Perhaps the isolated nature of a lot of creative work is what calls many of us to our chosen profession to begin with. We love to get lost in the process of moving big conceptual rocks…”
(To be clear, while not all introverts are sensitives, all sensitives are introverts in the classic sense of the word “introversion”: meaning that we recharge our energy by having time alone.)
I think there’s a link between creativity and sensitivity due to the deep, rich, and imaginative inner life sensitives experience. While our vivid imaginations can run amok from time to time, it’s a powerful tool for venturing into new creative territory.
Similarly, our tendency to empathy gives us a great resource when it comes to exploring the emotional depths, which can also be a boon when it comes to creative expression.
Just the other day on Twitter, I joked about my screenwriting:
The challenges of sensitivity and creativity
I notice that the challenging aspect of both being sensitive and creative comes primarily on the audience side of things.
And ironically, I can’t tell you how frequently I analyze hands for creative, sensitive types who have “Spotlight” in their hands — it’s astonishing. So much so that I’m seriously considering doing a one-time class on “Sensitives in the Spotlight.”
(“Spotlight” is a shortened version of the expression, “Creative Expression in the Spotlight” for someone with a Right Ring Finger life purpose, and for the term, “Fame and Fortune in the Arts” for someone with an Apollo Star gift marking.)
As Elaine Aron puts it, “The difficulty, I believe, is that normally we artists work alone, refining our craft and our subtle creative vision. But withdrawl of any kind increases sensitivity — that is part of why one withdraws. So we are extra sensitive when the time comes to show our work, perform it, explain it, sell it, read reviews of it, and accept rejection or acclaim.”
Some of my private clients and I recently did some work on this topic of “being seen” and discovered the importance of being willing to fully receive acclaim and trying not to block the massive flow of energy that comes with attention from an audience, but rather allowing it to flow through us and around us.
I was also recently reminded through my screenwriting class of the power and importance of intelligent, quality feedback to help us to improve our work.
As Artists in the Spotlight, we must be engaged in the exchange of our artistic expression for applause, approval, and appreciation from our audience. It is exhilarating, and while it may appear to be purely ego-driven, it is a necessary part of the equation for artistic fulfillment, at least from a life purpose perspective.
So yes, Virginia, I do see a link between sensitivity and creativity, and I think it brings challenges all of its own.
What does this inspire or raise for you? Let me know on the blog.
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