What do you do when your creative passion seems at odds with your relationships?
Like most things, support from others for your creative pursuits exists on a spectrum.
At one end, you have family members or friends who tell you you’re wasting your time, energy, and/or money on creative pursuits. Or they simply don’t respect the boundaries you set to safeguard your creative time.
At the other end of the spectrum are the folks with endless support and encouragement. The time, energy, and money you spend being creative is seen as valuable. They are interested in your work, and the happiness and fulfillment you experience brings them joy.
For most of us, support from our relationships exists somewhere between those two extremes. You may receive encouragement but not much interest. You may have someone’s verbal support but also their resentment over the time your pursuit takes away from them. Money spent on a pursuit can also bring resentment, especially from partners.
So, how do you balance your need for creative pursuits with your desire for happy, healthy relationships?
To answer this question, we’re going to look at three different types of relationships.
- Your relationship with creativity
- Your relationship with others
- Your relationship with you
Your Relationship with Creativity
A lot of folks believe that following creative pursuits is a choice.
I suppose it’s correct to say that you could choose not to be creative. You could try, anyway.
You could also choose to not eat enough calories each day. You could choose to not exercise or not get sufficient sleep.
All these choices, though, would have a negative effect on your wellbeing. That includes the choice to not pursue your natural draw to creative projects.
For creative people, not exercising creative outlets has negative emotional, and therefore physical, impacts.
If you’re trying to maintain your wellbeing, and you’re a person who is happiest when doing something creative, then creativity isn’t a choice. It’s part of a healthy lifestyle.
Engaging in creative pursuits:
- Reduces stress and gives you reprieve from stressful aspects of your life
- Develops your confidence and gives you pride and a sense of fulfillment
- Improves your problem-solving skills
- Gives you something positive to look forward to during tough times
- Keeps your mind sharp and your body active
- Can lead to social interactions with likeminded people who help each other grow
All these examples are ways to improve and/or maintain your health and wellness. Your relationship with creativity matters RIGHT NOW.
Your Relationship with Others
For relationships with your friends, partner, and family members to be healthy, there needs to be balance. Your time, your needs, and your well-being are as important as those of all you love and care about. You DO NOT come after them.
Now, there’s an argument to be made that, say, a newborn baby needs what it needs when it needs it. Of course, your needs have to be met around that baby’s schedule. But your needs still have to be met, for the sake of your health and well-being, and for that baby’s well-being, too.
This is particularly challenging for many females. We females are conditioned without realizing it to defer to others, especially partners. If you’re female, you most likely do this even when you’re not looking!
I recently read a Facebook post where a friend of mine gave her sister public accolades by saying, “She works hard and always puts everyone else first.”
This may seem like something to be proud of on the surface. Maybe you’ve been proud of yourself in a similar way. If so, please consider a different perspective, because martyrdom like that us straight up unhealthy. And usually unsustainable. A much healthier compliment would be to say, “She always knows how to be there for others while still being there for herself.”
Now, that’s being healthy.
To have equity in your relationships, you have to understand what you need to be happy and healthy. If you’re reading this, I assume that singing (or something else creative) brings you joy and fulfillment. Joy and fulfillment are two important ingredients in the recipe for happiness.
Meaning, putting time, energy and even financial resources into your love of singing is not different than spending time and money at the gym. Or spending time and money buying better ingredients and cooking healthy meals. Or spending time and money to go out to dinner with friends who make you feel good.
For whatever reason, something like singing lessons or gear purchases can be seen by others as frivolous. If you and your partner share finances and your partner thinks lessons are frivolous, you need to make the case for your needs. I’m not saying spend money that the other person doesn’t want you to spend. I’m saying, explain the importance of pursuing your passion and find a way together to budget in what you feel you need.
If your children absorb all your time and – just as an example – interrupt your practice sessions, you need to lay down the law. My sister once put it expertly to her kids when she had an important project she needed to work on.
“I’m going into my office to work,” she told them. “Unless someone is bleeding, don’t bother me until I come out.”
Non-creative folks often don’t understand the drive we creative people have to create. But here’s the thing. They don’t need to get it. They just need to respect it. Which leads me to your most important relationship of all…
Your Relationship with You
Your most important relationship is the one between you and yourself. Because all the challenges I mentioned above are on you to tackle.
- It’s on you to recognize the very real importance of your creative pursuits.
- It’s on you to convey that importance to the people around you.
- It’s on you to make creativity as important as eating well and exercising, etc…
- It’s on you to set boundaries and keep them.
- It’s on you to break your conditioning to put yourself last.
- It’s on you to come to an understanding/plan with your partner about finances, time spent, etc…
One last thing before I leave you to mull this topic over.
You can find your voice and clarify your needs with those around you (and you should). But you cannot make them get it if they just don’t get it.
As I said before, they don’t have to get it. They DO have to respect it (and you).
Still, you will need to find a cheering section of some sort. Creative folks need other creative folks. We help keep each other’s fires lit and remind each other what’s important and possible.
Don’t be alone in your creativity.
Facebook groups, a local choir, a vocal coach or some other kind of teacher, a local karaoke venue, online forums, etc… Find your peeps so you don’t feel alone. Your creativity will blossom if you take this advice.
Good luck. And remember, I support you!