Tag Archives: misery

Why Misery Breeds Creativity

31 Mar

I have a theory about why creativity seems to go hand in hand with misery.  Note that I don’t think misery is required.  But it is a great fuel.  Why?

Van Gogh, self-portrait, 1888

I think the more unhappy we are, the more we resist what is.  We yearn for what isn’t, for what else could be, for what’s possible. In a bad family situation? A soul-numbing job?  Our mind starts seeking a new situation even if limited only to the universe of our brain.

Imagining possibilities is creativity.

We also become really cranky and resistant when we’re unhappy.  Fighting instincts are ignited.  This generally means that the polite filters we use to get along in daily life become frayed.  Our inhibitions are lowered, our emotions are freer, we are more open to risk.

If we are literally biting our tongues to keep our unvarnished thoughts from spilling out, they don’t just disappear.  They stew.  They fester.  If we don’t let them out somehow, they will rot us from the inside out.  So, we write, we paint, we dance, we sing.  We literally get it out through these physical acts.  And, in some small measure, we heal.

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