Finding a balance for my creative/sensitive self is hard enough. What to do with close people who keep stepping over the borders I set? - Here's what I've learned so far.
For me as a creative person, a dreamer, thinker and doer who loves inspiration and people, yet needs it all to be in some kind of balance, life is difficult enough to figure out.
Finding a balance and setting up borders to protect it
Over the years I figured out ways to keep my need for variety, inspiration, creative playfulness but also structure, predictability, business/work/income in balance. (I’m currently reading a book about being multi-passionate, I’ll let you know how it helps)
That includes being aware of my limits and set borders for myself and people around me.
There are certain people who I love to be with and we can talk for hours without end and there are others that I love too, but can only cope with in small doses at a time. (Not because there’s anything wrong with them, but just because they are different. That’s an important differentiation!)
I enjoy most people’s company. Yet to be honest I would rather be with a artistic-soul who’s also good with words, than with a quiet and overly introvert person. (Again, there’s nothing wrong with introverts!)
At the same time, for health reasons, I had to learn that being with inspiring, creative people and talk all night, literally all night (which I naturally enjoy, as time flies when you’re having a good time) isn’t something I should engage in often, as it more and more wears out my body for days after. That’s a border I had to set for myself - and that I have the responsibility to keep.
On the other hand: Being around people who wouldn’t consider themselves “creatives”, “musicians”, “artists”… has always been a challenge.
Especially people who are only able to see things one way. Their perspective on life is the only one they are able to see. Often those people seem to work in engineering/technical/logical fields and “logic and common sense” seems to be their only reason. Sometimes we wouldn’t see eye-to-eye and come to different conclusions in the same situation.
Does that mean that we as creative people aren’t “logical” and possess no “common sense”?
At a point in my life I did believe so.
My personal story includes a sad, long history of people-pleasing and loosing myself in the process becoming really, really insecure about everything and not taking my creativity, uniqueness and art seriously (that’s stuff for some future blogposts).
I had to learn that “all people are different”, not “everyone else is wrong”, we are equally loved by our Creator, God, and all are in fact created in His image, in all our differences in personality, talents and way of life. (God is full of variety!)
That led me to the conclusion that I can be as creative as I want. Just as they can be as “technical”, “logical” or quiet/ introvert as they want.
We can (and should!) still be friends, but be aware of each other’s borders and limits.
I love music & media and can talk about related technology with such people, yet they might fall off the conversation if I talk about too much about the music itself. (Just as I fall off when they dig into why feature x is better than feature y)
When your borders are disrespected (again)
Lately I have again encountered some people that I care for, yet their outlook on life is very different. They never understood my way and are constantly trying to get me to leave behind my dreams and creative talents.
I enjoy catching up with them from time to time and have asked them many times over the years to not discuss “jobs” or “uncreative” and “uninspired” yet “stable” ways of making an income, with me.
As long as we focus on what we have in common we can have great days together.
Yet I feel they are crossing the borders I set for them in order that we can be in a relationship/ communicate, again and again.
I have nothing against them, they don’t have anything against me, but their insensitivity for my borders can drive a wedge between us.
I have learned that having and respecting borders is healthy. It’s part of life. We can still be friends or at least be friendly and respectful but with a healthy distance. And in worst case it is my responsibility to not let anyone step over my borders. There is no "Creative Superpower" or "Magical Voice" warning the others that they should stop here and respect my borders.
I have to kindly enforce my own borders. Even when I feel "unkind" doing so.
Why is setting healthy borders so hard?
As a creative/sensitive person I sometimes find it hard to have my borders up. I would prefer to not need borders, live at perfect peace and understanding with everyone and could just focus on my art, inspiration, photos, words, music — knowing that those I care for would also have a bit of interest in my creative output. (I know now that that’s utopia)
But as said, borders are a part of life. And setting healthy borders (and defending them when people again and again cross them) isn’t a sign of weakness or being rude but of health.
I know what it feels like to have your borders overrun again and again and how I turned into an unhealthy, insecure people-pleaser without any creative output, any inspiration, a lack of joy and just following other people’s rules.
I will never go back to that!
What borders does your creative soul need?
Some people can only create when they’re alone, others work best together with people. Often I need a mix of both. (And it is my responsibility to act accordingly)
It is only me who is in charge of setting and enforcing my borders. And that doesn’t make me a bad person. It makes me a balanced person, healthy and able to be creative.
What borders do you have to keep to be creative? What have you learned?
How do you protect your heart and soul and creativity?
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.
- Proverbs 4:23 (NIV)
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