Be the person your were always meant to be

What’s this about?

I’m writing a series of blog posts about the different meanings of creativity. You can check out the others by following this links from this page: If you think you’re not creative, read this

Puzzling out what ‘be the person you were meant to be’ actually means

Becoming yourself or self-actualisation doesn’t have to involve becoming more creative – except from its broadest sense – but it is very often treated as a creative process. ‘Be yourself’ is a tricky phrase, because the more you think about it, the less it makes sense. Other versions are ‘be the person you always were’ or ‘become the person you were meant to be’. Again, this gets more puzzling the more you think about it, unless you’ve always wanted to do X and circumstances have prevented it. Of course, for many of us, this isn’t true. We might already be doing X or we might not have a secret passion that’s never seen the light of day. There’s also a nagging sense with the advice to ‘be the person you were meant to be’ that if you’re not fully immersed in whatever it is, you should be. It’s perfectly possible to be happier doing your thing part-time.

Breath of God or God’s message?

This one can also have a spiritual side to it, which may or may not be something you want. If you don’t believe that ultimately there’s a person you were ‘meant to be’ the language can feel rather off-putting. However, if you do believe that the universe or a spiritual being has a purpose in mind, then you’re more likely to get on with this version of creativity. My Creative Writing students’ reactions to Julia Cameron’s work, for example, has been marmite for this reason.

Some of the terminology has religious origins, such as inspiration (the breath of God) or epiphany (God’s message revealed). That said, some of the language is distinctly humanistic. For instance, ‘unlock part of yourself’ or ‘get to know yourself better’.

Where does the creativity come in?

Without further analysis, we can break down self-actualisation into three parts:

  • Discovering greater self-awareness and self-confidence
  • Finding the courage to do something you’ve always wanted to do
  • Encouraging others to do the above

The X you want to do might be creative of course, but otherwise the creativity comes from the process you use to achieve these three things. Typically that might be creative thinking methods like Alternative Uses or Mind Mapping or the Six Thinking Hats. (I list these at the end of the post on creative thinking.) Or it might use creative processes such as keeping a journal, or creative visualisation.

How do I do it?

  • Try keeping a journal for a few weeks. You don’t have to write in it every day for it to be useful.
  • Learn Mind Mapping the way Tony Buzan teaches it, using colour and images. Mind Map all the aspects of you and your life.
  • Use either the journal or the mind map to start thinking about any niggling thing that you’ve always wanted to do, without judgement and without planning for it, or knowing how you’ll achieve it.

Up next: Self-Expression

 


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