The Creative Journey: Authenticity
Claiming Your Inner Authority
The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are. – C.G. Jung
As a teen in the 70’s I remember being surrounded by bumper stickers with slogans like: “Question Authority” and “Get Real.” I had a large poster on my bedroom wall that encouraged me to “Do your own thing.” Those messages really spoke to my heart. I grew up ensconced in a strict authoritarian Catholic school culture and had a law enforcement officer as a parent. Being surrounded by outside influences that reinforced the established norms, my individuality and originality became treasures for me to cherish and defend. Figuring out how to live and work in sync with my own inner authority, to be authentic, has been a lifelong pursuit.
Authenticity refers to living one’s life according to your own inner guide and not looking to outside sources to define you. You could say that authenticity is the degree to which someone is true to their own personal spirit. Authenticity, creativity, and individuality all go hand in hand. These attributes act as fuel for our self-expression and they inform the process we use to create original work.
As artists we often look to other artists for inspiration, for ideas, to learn new techniques and to encourage us to stretch our artistic abilities. We take workshops, spend hours on Pinterest, go to exhibits, subscribe to art magazines and go to conferences in order to feed our imaginations and grow as artists. We are encouraged to copy others in order to learn. And learn we do. However, it isn’t until we begin to translate all of the input we have gotten from outside sources and formulate our own version that has our individual stamp on it that we begin to create authentically.
Recently I have been listening to Brene Brown’s books on Audible. She is a researcher who has devoted years to studying human emotions especially shame and vulnerability. In her books she continually finds connections between our creativity, vulnerability and authenticity. She emphasizes that self-awareness is important for us to accept ourselves, and our full range of possibilities. She encourages us to be aware of our emotions, our reactions to our daily circumstances, and how we interact with others. Brown’s work reminds us that it isn’t always easy to be our own authority, but cultivating our authenticity contributes to whole-hearted living.
What does it mean to you to live and work with authenticity?
In my own book, The Spiral of Creativity, I suggest writing a Declaration of Creative Individuality as a way to bring awareness to who you are, and what you want to express in the world. Here are a few questions that will help you to clarify and claim your authentic voice:
What is important to me? Precious? Sacred? Essential?
What fundamental beliefs fuel my work with spirit and give me a reason to create?
What do I hear my inner voice wanting to shout about?
What brings me joy and what detracts from it?
Answer the questions by writing a statement that begins with “I” and use words with emotional impact to add power to your statements. Let this declaration evolve as you grow into your authenticity and find yourself answering the call to “Get Real” and “Do your own thing.” Claim your natural authentic ways of knowing and as you look for resources to learn from don’t forget to “ Question Authority.”
Brecia Kralovic-Logan, published in “Silkworm” Winter 2015