PERSONAL GROWTH TIPS
The Role of Tantrums in the Creative Process
A tip for when your creative fire gets a little heated…
The Surprising Role of Creative Tantrums
This latest story from the creative path may help if your creative passions occasionally erupt into moments of toddler-esque behaviour…
You may have noticed that I’m a passionate advocate for the many joys and blessings of a creative life.
And yet, I’m also the first to admit that the way to our creative delights is not always smooth and free of drama.
The creative path can be a bumpy one, with confusion, heartache, tears and even tantrums along the way.
Thanks to my work of the last decade, I’ve learned a huge amount that can make the path feel much smoother, and how to avoid some of the unnecessary pitfalls.
And yet, in the journey of bringing any significant project, vision or dream to life – there will always be challenges.
I believe these may actually be a helpful and beneficial aspect of the process itself.
And I’m certainly not immune to these moments of melodrama.
Or as I call them, The Wobbles.
This week, I was experiencing one of those days when it seemed as if everything was lining up in the wrong direction.
(Of course, they weren’t – but my Inner Doubter seemed determined to convince me otherwise.)
And as an experiment in modelling the liberating way children process their emotions, there may have been something of a creative tantrum…
This despite the wisdom of one of my all-time favourite quotes:
“Temper tantrums, however fun they may be to throw, rarely solve whatever problem is causing them.”
And while the tantrum itself may not have resolved the problem, I feel that it was helpful in another way.
I realised that my latest response to a familiar challenge was different to past meltdowns and previous moments of despair.
Because this time, even during the fits of frustration, I was able to laugh at my own behaviour.
I was able to see how the tempting tantrum was just one way to respond, and that other (less toddler-esque) options were also available.
Within a little while, I’d calmed enough to see that I’d blown things out of all proportion, and things weren’t really as bad as I’d been thinking.
This experience may not have been one of my finest moments, but I take some encouragement from the fact that my creative tantrums have evolved.
A few years ago, the same problem would have brought me to my knees or to tears. (I remember those responses well.)
However, on this occasion, I was able to ‘express a degree of displeasure’ (ahem…), and then quickly get back to a more calm and balanced demeanour.
And so, I’ve come to see the Creative Tantrum as not necessarily something to avoid or banish, but something to monitor.
The way we respond when things go wrong can be a powerful indicator of our personal growth.
And surely any occasions to become aware of our evolution are to be celebrated?
Or at least, there is some merit in noticing and acknowledging even a glimmer of progress.
3 Tips for Personal Growth
So, my invitation for you today is to notice the next time you experience The Wobbles or veer towards a creative tantrum:
• See if you can notice how much better you handle them, compared to past responses.
• See if you can find the gift of self-awareness and self-esteem in any heated responses.
• See if you can appreciate the evolution of your emotional intelligence and spiritual maturity.
While you may not feel like the most mature and enlightened being during (or shortly after) your mini-meltdown, see if you can assess your response with kind and loving eyes, seeing the progress you’ve made in handling the inevitable bumps of a difficult path.
The insightful Lemony Snicket may be right about the effectiveness of tantrums in relation to the problem.
But I believe they may still hold a key to a new sense of self – that of a very human and imperfect creator who is navigating some tough stuff, and getting better and better all the time.
So, I hope this story from my week helps you during any future trials and challenges.
And should there be tantrums, I hope you’ll remember this little fable with a smile, and perhaps a little more compassion for your own path and progress.
Onwards and upwards!
PS If you’d like to bypass some of the avoidable Creative Tantrums, I present a couple of decades of coaching and mindset tips in my suite of Online Creativity Courses over on Creative Well.
More details below…
“I’ve never met a strong person with a straightforward past.”
SISI, (THE EMPRESS)
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