There is a massive shift in today’s society in thinking that every individual has everything in them that they need to be successful, be happy and to achieve, no matter what they want in life. I certainly believe in each person having a great ability to accomplish things they desire and I also believe that that ability is not entirely driven by one self.
Society in North America and other 1st world nations is all about enabling individual control, power and ability. This is further extended by continual shift that is marketed, publicized and encouraged for independence and individualism. People strive for this, believe in it and I believe at the cost of burdening themselves. There is less and less dependence on each other and even on systems that have long been depended on like community, family, agriculture, and especially, spirituality. This continual drive to control life and become everything you want on your own is obviously one that ties in heavily with personal development as well. I try to encourage that relationships, community, people and God are foundations for many of these things and I believe it’s important to keep those things real even among any desires to become the best person you can be. I think there is a need to realize the connections to each of those and how they are necessary.
Self Pressure of Failure
When a person spends a great deal of time on there own attempting to live up to some great expectation, there is often a great sense of pressure on that person. This is common for creative folks, artists and authors, especially ones who have create great works and have further works to produce. They have this continuous pressure to outdo and produce something at least as good and the creativity that might otherwise drive them to a new area can become a huge burden driving them into a pit of despair. (You may want to view this TED talk by Elizabeth Gilbert for her perspective on that topic, as it is what triggered me here).
The Creative Mind
Gilbert looks at how a person in this state of mind must separate themselves from the creative aspects and realize that the creativity will come and go and should not be expected. I like this perspective and think that creativity must be left on its own to surface as it is something that cannot simply be turned on and off. I’d consider myself a creative person and while there are always things I can do to help spark creativity, my best creative moments are still never controllable and I must allow that to be separated from me as a person hoping to be creative on demand.
Escaping the Burden of Self
So, I believe there is a way to escape this burden of self. It’s in looking at the source of our desires, our talents and our creative juices. Those things do not come from within, we are given our talents by God, our desires are triggered by actions and influences in our environments and we learn how creativity can be revealed in our lives through interests, mindsets and understandings of everything around us, whether that is the work of others or Nature itself.
We must allow ourselves to avoid the self pressures, self expectations and self love that can drive us to a world of disconnected independence and despair. Those are often led with a message of achievement and success at the expense of others. Escape those burdens by basing your achievements, your relationships, and your creativity on the One who empowered you with those abilities through His gentleness, kindness and love. Know that who you are and what you are capable of is not your own doing, but by the hand of God.
Talking of a meek man…
“He knows he is as weak and helpless as God has declared him to be, but paradoxically, he knows at the same time that he is, in the sight of god, more important than angels. In himself, nothing; in God, everything. That is his motto.”
A.W. Tozer’s classic “The Pursuit of God.”
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