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15 Things Only Truly Artistic People Would Understand

15 Things Only Truly Artistic People Would Understand

Artistic people are a special group of people whose creative capabilities are engrossing and laced with such gentleness that ordinary people have to take notice. Their ability to coax the miraculous out of the mundane is not only exciting, but also frequently paradoxical.

Distinguished professor of psychology and management, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi explains it best in his seminal book Creativity: The Work and Lives of 91 Eminent People:

“I have devoted 30 years of research to how creative people live and work, to make more understandable the mysterious process by which they come up with new ideas and new things. If I had to express in one word what makes their personalities different from others, it’s complexity. They show tendencies of thought and action that in most people are segregated. They contain contradictory extremes; instead of being an individual, each of them is a multitude.”

That’s right; each of them is a multitude. Here are 15 things only truly artistic people would understand drawn largely from Mihaly’s Creativity:

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1. They get inspired at the least expected moment

Artistic people know they can’t decide when their next big idea will come. Sure they can have many great ideas, but they really don’t know when their greatest idea will come. It just will, in the least expected way, at the least expected moment.

2. They are passionate about their work, but can also be extremely objective about it as well

Artistic people are passionate about their work, but also objective and detached from it in such a way that they can accept criticism and response. That happens because they know without being objective art lacks credibility and is not very good.

3. They are humble, and yet proud and confident

Artistic people are always willing to learn and grow their skills no matter how good they are. Meeting them, you will be struck by their humility and self-depreciation. But amidst this humility and modest demeanor is deep seated pride and confidence in their ideas and creations.

4. They are here, but they’re not

Artistic people are dreamers. They alternate between fantasy and reality with considerable ease. When you’re conversing with them, you’ll get the feeling that they are present and at the same time they’re not. That’s because they can fly away with their mind at any given moment into a world that is different from the present, and yet rooted in the present reality.

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5. They tend to be both extroverted and introverted

Artistic people seem to exhibit both traits simultaneously. They can be a lone for long spells of time creating and also be in the thick of crowds showcasing their work. Other times they simple sit quietly on the sidelines observing and absorbing the passing show.

6. They are conservative and disruptive at the same time

Artistic people have internalized specific aspects of culture, so much so that they can breach or preserve both traditional and modern norms at will in their creative expressions. That’s the reason why artists can be so disruptive and unnerving in society sometimes.

7. They follow their heart even when their mind tells them otherwise

Artistic people tend to take more risks and worry less about problems than the average person. They understand a thousand fails can bring a million satisfactions. And so they never give up on their art or creative ideas. They stick to them no matter what others or even their own minds tell them.

8. They embrace their genius even if others don’t

Even when others misunderstand their art, artistic people stick to it and remain true to themselves without compromise. They treasure their creations and would rather be authentic than popular.

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9. They live on the edge of joy and depression

Because artistic people feel so deeply about their work, they can quickly fall from joy to sadness and even depression in an instant. They are sensitive human beings whose delicate hearts, while the source of their brilliance, is also the source of their suffering and emotional anguish.

10. They draw inspiration from their surroundings

Artistic people can seize moments or events in their surroundings and create something brilliant in an unusual way, including moments of internal and or external troubles. As Mihay says, “creative individuals are remarkable for their ability to adapt to almost any situation and to make do with whatever is at hand to reach their goals.”

11. They have immense physical energy and grit, but they’re also subdued and laid back

This is evident in the way artistic people work. They display remarkable physical energy and can work long hours behind closed doors with great zeal and enthusiasm. At the same time, they project an unmistakable aura of calmness and freshness while working that is quite awe inspiring.

12. They are free spirited and yet quite disciplined

Artistic people are so free spirited that they often come across as carefree, playful and even irresponsible. But that “carefree playfulness” helps unshackle their creativity, while their dogged self-discipline and perseverance in their art drives them on when less driven individuals would quit.

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13. They don’t subscribe to strict gender role stereotyping of masculinity and femininity

For some strange reason, the most creative and talented male artists are usually more sensitive and less aggressive than their non-artistic male peers, while the most creative and talented female artists are often more dominant and tough than their non-artistic female peers.

14. They are smart and naïve at the same time

This tendency is heightened by their hunger for originality in picking and generating unusual associations of ideas, and brilliant fluency in executing those ideas and switching from one perspective to another. This dimension of their personality is what makes artistic people equally smart and naïve.

15. They battle Resistance every day

Artistic people wake up each morning fully aware that they need to push themselves to grow. But there is always the fear, anxiety, or (as Steven Pressfield, author of The War of Art, calls it) Resistance that stands in the way, telling them that they can’t do it; that they don’t have what it takes. No matter how masterful an artist gets, that fear never goes away. But, truly artistic people learn to battle Resistance and subdue it day by day.

Featured photo credit: Man hand holding retro photo camera outdoor Lifestyle concept with autumn nature on background via shutterstock.com

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David K. William

David is a publisher and entrepreneur who tries to help professionals grow their business and careers, and gives advice for entrepreneurs.

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Last Updated on March 30, 2020

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

Have you ever walked into a room and felt like your nerves simply couldn’t handle it? Your heart beats fast, you start to sweat, and you feel like all eyes are on you (even if they’re really not). This is just one of the many ways that being self-conscious can rear its ugly head.

You may not even realize you’re self-conscious, and you may be wondering, “What does self-conscious mean?” That’s a good place to start.

This article will define self-consciousness, show how practically everyone has faced it at one point or another, and give you tips to avoid it.

What Does Self-Conscious Mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, self-conscious is defined as “conscious of one’s own acts or states as belonging to or originating in oneself.”[1]

Not so bad, right? There’s another definition, though — one that speaks more to what you’re going through: “feeling uncomfortably conscious of oneself as an object of the observation of others.” For those of us who regularly deal with extreme self-consciousness, that second definition sounds about right.

There are many different ways self-consciousness can spring up. You may feel self-conscious around people you know, like your family members or closest friends. You may feel self-conscious at work, even though you spend hours every week around your co-workers. Or you may feel self-conscious when out in public and surrounded by strangers. However, you probably don’t feel self-conscious when you’re home alone.

How to Stop Being Too Self-Conscious

When you’re in the throes of self-consciousness, it’s nearly impossible to remember how to stop feeling that way. That’s why it’s so important to prepare ahead of time, when you’re feeling ready to tackle the problem instead of succumbing to it.

Here are a variety of ways to feel better about yourself and stop thinking about how others see you.

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1. Ask Yourself, “So What?”

One way to banish negative, self-conscious thoughts is to do just that: banish them.

The next time you walk into a room and feel your face getting red, think to yourself, “So what?” How much does it really matter if people don’t like how you look or act? What’s the worst that could happen?

Most of the time, you’ll find that you don’t have a good answer to this question. Then, you can immediately start assigning such thoughts less importance. With self-awareness, you can acknowledge that your negative thoughts are present and realize that you don’t agree with them.[2] They’re just thoughts, after all.

2. Be Honest

A lie that self-consciousness might tell is that there’s one way to act or feel. Honestly, though, everyone else is just figuring life out as well. There isn’t a preferred way to show up to an event, gathering, or public place. What you can do is be honest with your feelings and thoughts.[3]

If you feel offended by something someone says, you don’t have to smile to be polite or laugh to fit in with the crowd. Instead, you can politely say why you disagree or excuse yourself and find a group of people who you relate to better. If you’re nervous, don’t overcompensate by trying to look relaxed and casual — it’ll be obvious you’re putting on a front. Instead, nothing is more endearing than saying, “I’m a little nervous!” to a room of people who probably feel the exact same way.

On the same note, if you don’t understand why someone wants you to do something, question it. You can do this at work, at home, or even with people you don’t know well. Nobody should force you to do something you don’t want to do.

Also, even if you’re willing to do what’s asked of you, there’s nothing wrong with asking for more clarification. People will realize that you’re not a person to be bossed around.

3. Understand Why You’re Struggling at Work

Being self-conscious at work can get in the way of your daily responsibilities, your relationships with co-workers, and even your career as a whole. If you’re facing some sort of conflict but you’re too nervous to speak up, you may be at the whim of what happens to you instead of taking some control.

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If you’re usually confident at work, you may be wondering where this new self-consciousness is coming from. It’s possible that you’re dealing with burnout.[4] Common signs are anxiety, fatigue and distraction, all of which can leave you feeling under-confident.

4. Succeed at Something

When you create success in your life, it’s easier to feel confident[5] and less self-conscious. If you feel self-conscious at work, finish the project that’s been looming over your head. If you feel self-conscious in the gym, complete an advanced workout class.

Exposing yourself to what you’re scared of and then succeeding at it in some way (even just by finishing it) can do wonders for your self-esteem. The more confidence you build, the more likely you are to have more success in the future, which will create a cycle of confidence-building.

5. Treat All of You — Not Just Your Self-Consciousness

Trying to solve your self-consciousness alone may not treat the root of the problem. Instead, take a well-rounded approach to lower your self-consciousness and build confidence in areas where you may struggle.

Even professional counselors are embracing this holistic type of treatment[6] because they feel that the health of the mind and body are inextricably linked. This approach combines physical, spiritual, and psychological components. Common activities and treatments include meditation, yoga, massage, and healthy changes to diet and exercise.

If much of this is new to you, it will pay to give it a try. You never know how it will impact you.

If you’re feeling self-conscious about how your body looks, a massage that makes you feel great could boost your confidence. If you try a new workout, you could have something exciting to talk about the next time you’re in a group setting.

Putting yourself in a new situation and learning that you can get through it with grace can give you the confidence to get through all sorts of events and nerve-wracking moments.

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6. Make the Changes That Are Within Your Control

Let’s say you walk into a room and you’re self-conscious about how you look. However, you may have put a lot of time and effort into your outfit. Even though it may stand out, this is how you have chosen to express yourself.

You have to work on your internal confidence, not your external appearance. There’s nothing to change other than your outlook.

On the other hand, maybe there’s something that you don’t like about yourself that you can change. For example, maybe you hate how a birthmark on your face looks or have varicose veins that you think are unsightly. If you can do something about these things, do it! There’s nothing wrong with changing your appearance (or skills, education, etc.) if it’s going to make you more confident.

You don’t have to accept your current situation for acceptance’s sake. There’s no award for putting up with something you hate. Confidence is also required to make changes that are scary, even if they’re for the better. Plus, it may be an easier fix than you thought. For example, treating varicose veins doesn’t have to involve surgery — sometimes simple compression stockings will take care of the problem.[7]

7. Realize That Everyone Has Awkward Moments

Everyone has said something awkward to someone else and lived to tell the tale. We’ve all forgotten somebody’s name or said, “You too!” when the concession stand girl says to enjoy our movie. Not only are these things uber-common, but they’re not nearly as embarrassing as you feel they are.

Think about how you react when someone else does something awkward. Do you think, “Wow, that person’s such a loser!” or do you think, “What a relief, I’m not the only one who does that.” Chances are good that’s the same reaction others have to you when you stumble.

Remember, self-consciousness is a state of mind that you have control over. You don’t have to feel this way. Do what you need to in order to build your confidence, put your self-consciousness in perspective, and start exercising your “I feel awesome about myself” muscle. It’ll get easier with time.

When Is Being Self-Conscious a Good Thing?

Self-consciousness can sometimes be a good thing[8], but you have to take the awkwardness and nerves out of it.

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In this case, “self-aware” is a much better term. Knowing how you come off to people is an excellent trait; you’ll be able to read a room and understand how what you do and say affects others. These are fantastic skills for people work and personal relationships.

Self-awareness helps you dress appropriately for the occasion, tells you that you’re talking too loud or not loud enough, and guides a conversation so you don’t offend or bore anyone.

It’s not about being someone you’re not — that can actually have adverse effects, just like self-consciousness. Instead, it’s about turning up certain aspects of yourself to perform well in the situation.

Final Thoughts

When you’re self-conscious, you’re constantly battling with yourself in an effort to control how other people view you. You try to change yourself to suit what you think other people want to see.

The truth, though, is that you can’t actually control how other people view you — and you may not even be correct about how they view you in the first place.

Being confident doesn’t happen overnight. Instead, it happens in small steps as you slowly build your confidence and say “no” to your self-consciousness. It also requires accepting that you’re going to feel self-conscious sometimes, and that’s okay.

Sometimes worrying that there is a problem can be more stressful than the problem itself. Feeling bad for feeling self-conscious can be more troublesome than simply feeling it and getting on with the day.

Forgive yourself for being human and make the small changes that will lead to better confidence in the future.

More Tips for Improving Your Self-Esteem

Featured photo credit: Cata via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Merriam-Webster: Self-conscious
[2] Bustle: 7 Tips On How To Stop Feeling Self-Conscious
[3] Marc and Angel: 10 Things to Remember When You Feel Unsure of Yourself
[4] Bostitch: How to Protect Small Businesses From Burnout
[5] Psychology Today: Self-conscious? Get Over It
[6] Wake Forest University: Embracing Holistic Medicine
[7] Center for Vein Restoration: What Causes Venous Ulcers, and How Are They Treated?
[8] Scientific American: The Pros and Cons of Being Self-Aware

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