“I used to believe, before I did the research for The Gifts of Imperfection… that there were creative people and there were non-creative people. And now I absolutely understand personally (and professionally from the data) that there are no such thing as non-creative people. There are just people who use their creativity and people who don’t. And unused creativity is not benign.
For the people who really struggle because they don’t think of themselves as creative, there’s a lot of shame around creativity. People don’t think of themselves as creative, they think creativity is self indulgent. They don’t think it is productive enough. They don’t understand what it means. It was shut down in them as children. For those folks, when I say “unused creativity is not benign”, what I really mean is it metastasizes into resentment, grief, heartbreak. People sit on that creativity or they deny it and it festers.
When I started the research on shame, you know, 13 years ago, I found that 85% of the men and women who I interviewed remembered an event in school that was so shaming, it changed how they thought of themselves for the rest of their lives. But wait – this is good – fifty percent of that 85% percent, half of those people: those shame wounds were around creativity. So fifty percent of those people have art scars. Have creativity scars.”