Vulnerability and creativity

Researcher Brene Brown once said, “To create is to make something that has never existed before. There's nothing more vulnerable than that.” Vulnerability is a difficult concept for our society to grasp. Often, it is considered weak because it involves expressing emotions like sadness, confusion, loneliness, and hurt. It involves showing sensitivity. How difficult it is to be an artist and live in a world that consistently tells us to “stop being so sensitive”! Oh, the hot shame that comes with that statement. I can feel it in my own cheeks right now.

Artists have to embrace vulnerability more than others. We put our thoughts and ideas, our music, our movement, our voices, our words, out there for all to see and judge in order to fulfill our inner need to create and make meaning. We have to conquer fear on a much larger scale because we have to take the deep, dark parts of ourselves and put them on display.

It’s difficult to do.

I think it’s why we artists tend to be so harsh on ourselves. Often, thinking that what we make is crap. Sometimes when we finally finish something, we can be deathly afraid to put it out there. Because it means being vulnerable. It means opening ourselves up to criticism and judgment. It can be tortuous.

But vulnerability is good for you. I know, the word itself means, “susceptible to being wounded or hurt”, but bear with me here. First, we all know that from great pain comes great art, right? In that same vein, we know that love and joy is only truly appreciated when one has experienced hurt. And what is necessary for those powerful moments of happiness? Connection. And how do we connect? We bravely put ourselves out there. We risk hurt in order to heal.

So what does this all mean? It means that artists are some of the most courageous people in the world. Because we choose to create rather than conform. We conquer fear every time we say to someone, “Here, this is my art.” Whether you are stepping onto a stage in front of thousands of fans or showing a poem to a friend, you are being brave.

How have you been courageously vulnerable through creativity? I’d love to hear your story in the comments below or on my facebook page.