Friday, June 17, 2011

How Granting Yourself a Pardon Can Boost Your Creativity

Cover of "Creative Thought: An Investigat...Cover via Amazonby Diana Meade

Do you find that some of your best creative ideas are ones where you just wing it? I have also had some real creative stinkers because I failed to make some sort of a plan. It is these not-so-brilliant outcomes that I want to discuss.

What would be no-big-deal from anyone else's point of view seems to be huge to my blockhead; my all-knowing-bossy-expert-on-all-things-Diana internal-critic is named blockhead and is alive and well, thank you very much.

I'm guessing you have a blockhead too who loves to confront your small and not so small disappointments such as:
  • Not doing what you said you'd do
  • Not starting or completing a project like you'd planned
  • A project not turning out like you'd hoped
This list could go on and on.

It takes an amazing amount of energy to live with disappointment, guilt, regret, self-recrimination, and grief that it is no wonder we don't do our art or resist doing what we love. If you have to run the gauntlet of these feelings before you can resume your work, how can you expect to physically and mentally make yourself move forward?

I say, we need a daily forgiveness ritual.
  • Goofed off yesterday? Forgive yourself!
  • Left the cap off the tube of paint? Let it go!
  • Didn't finish your e-book? Grant yourself a pardon! (You deserve to live!)
Do you know that sound of the needle being pulled across a record to stop the music? I can hear it right now as the thought of forgiveness brings my idea to a screeching halt.

Blockhead says: "You are letting yourself off the hook. You are tolerating bad behavior. You'll never create anything if you don't hold yourself accountable."

What is unforgivable is already done. You can allow your blockhead to have his or her way with you and wallow in the muck or you can choose to give yourself a break and start where you are.

Put the needle back on the record and play the music to the commercial that McDonald's used for years. "You deserve a break today ..."

Give yourself a break today.
A forgiveness break.
A letting-go break.
Beg your own pardon ... and grant it.

Don't get hung up on the term, "forgiveness." The root of the word forgiveness means to let go. Or you can always pardon yourself. I like that too. Use your favorite pen or paint brush like the Queen's scepter and tap yourself politely on the head while granting your pardon.

Start your day or your creative project by forgiving you for all the stuff you didn't do; or do well enough; or didn't get marked off your to do list.

Pre-forgive yourself for all the reasons you will need forgiving for the whole day. Pre-forgiving yourself could be just the permission giving you need to get started. Oh what a relief that would be.

Humming that little song, "You deserve a break today ..." made famous by McDonald's is your trigger to let go.

Diana Meade is the creator of Energize Your Creativity. She helps creative people turn down the volume on their own internal critic so they can experience confident and carefree creativity.

Diana made her living as a working artist for over seventeen years and knows that it does not matter how seasoned or how new you are to traveling the creative path; it can be a rocky road. Even with unlimited skills, time and energy our own negative self-talk can undermine and paralyze our creative intentions.

To help quiet the negative inner voice for her clients, Diana conducts online workshops and writes a weekly newsletter on creativity. For more information and lots of creative support go to

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