In the age of the internet and social media, it’s easy to believe that you have nothing new or significant to add to the sea of content produced by other people. If you would like to learn to paint, it has certainly already been done, en masse.
Should you wish to learn an instrument in adulthood, a quick search will show you the progress of others who have achieved far more than you ever might. The same follows for any attempt at self-expression.
When the online tide informs you of the works of any number of artists, celebrities, and internet influencers, it can be hard to see that what you have to offer is worthwhile.
In 1961, Carl Rogers wrote out of a response to the advances of the atomic age, in that individuals “will need to discover the utmost in release of creativity if we are to be able to adapt effectively.”
He was referencing the tide of knowledge that was pouring into the human consciousness during this period of rapid scientific progress, and he feared that people would fail to respond to this potentially beneficial influx.
Rogers hoped that the population would discover new and better models of living well, as well as improvements in interacting with others in a way that was mutually beneficial.
The internet and instant, digital connectivity has brought wonderful advances and opportunities, and with it, a surge in disconnection. In an effort at personal wellness and quality interpersonal relationships, we owe it to ourselves to write that poem, to learn that instrument, to crochet that doll.
Perhaps you want to learn to juggle, to cook, to sing. Our response to the mass of humanity which has already done can be to likewise do.
Earlier, in 1954, Rogers wrote about creativity, emphasizing what “usually accompanies creativity is the desire to communicate. It is doubtful whether a human being can create, without wishing to share his creation.” He expressed that in the lack of an audience, the individual may have to satisfy himself with imagining one.
What I wish for you is that whatever you produce, you understand it is worth sharing. When you share with friends and social media what you have created or done, you may be surprised at the warmth and encouragement that comes your way.
When another person realizes that self-expression, that creation, that achievement is being done so near him or herself, that person may be moved towards self-actualization in their own way.
It is one thing to discover that an anonymous internet stranger has produced something of worth; it is entirely another thing to recognize that within your yourself or your community there is a raw courageousness. It deserves a response, and it is worth responding to. Give yourself permission to create.
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