We fear creating because we don’t like change and creating by its very nature, produces change.
We also fear creating because if we create then that means we are giving something of ourselves over for free. We may get paid but really it’s free because our work doesn’t always mean others will be vulnerable in return.
It’s a gift and that is all. A gift for the sake of being able to give.
But we don’t like living in that precarious position because it requires a lot from us. And to not have the certainty of have something equally vulnerable returned is too much for us to bare.
We are all meant to receive affirmation from somewhere, it’s just how it is. For some it is through a spiritual deity, for others it’s our family, our community, our job, or our art.
But when we place too much emphasis on receiving that validation of our identity from the response from our work we will be hugely disappointed. Someday that blog won’t receive any comments or likes (or even worse it will through criticism), that intricate detail you put into the painting will go unnoticed, the personal touch on the table you made will go unappreciated.
And the natural response is of course to not create again. When the reason for working is to get plaudits and they don’t come, where next? The better response is to accept that this is just how it is, that I can not control or dictate how you should respond to me.
Which frees us up to give generously. Not to receive anything in return but because the gift is in itself enough.
It’s unnatural and it’s not how we think it should go down but it really is our only option when you think about.
Either that or explode with self hatred and anxiety from all the work left untapped.
Which will just kill your generosity and your best work.
I don’t mind giving, it’s a matter of the time of giving back. Currently looking around for some volunteer work, wonder if that counts?
Any sort of giving, especially our art which is often given for free, needs to be done because the only other option is to hold back the gift your work offers. And that’s not really an option.
You then have to care about it. And that is why we are willing to do it for free. So I would ask myself do I want to volunteer here because I care so much about this thing, that I just have to do something or because I feel it’s my duty.
Sometimes they are the same of course but you need to care too.
(On a side note, sometimes we will end up getting paid for our gift, but at Seth Godin would say, that usually comes from a consistent showing up for free. It may be a result of giving but should never be the reason)