Is Unforgiveness Blocking Your Creativity?


image, Pockets23, Creative Commons

Have you ever had something jolt a memory in your brain? It may be a song that sets it off. Possibly a smell or a television program. A passage of a book. A phone call you let go to the answering machine. Old photos or letters you find in the back of your closet. The dented fender of your car. A conversation your mother brings up. Again.

For me it’s Ding Dongs. Those little chocolate cakes with the fluffy white filling. Without going into all the gory details, Ding Dongs symbolize for me betrayal, manipulation, abandonment, regret and years of working towards emotional freedom.

We all have stuff. Baggage. Issues. If you’ve been on this planet longer than a minute, it’s the one thing all people have in common.

Part of being healthy is dealing with your emotional baggage. Forgiveness is at the top of the list of difficult things to do when emptying your emotional suitcase. It’s not a natural reaction. It’s something we must choose to do.

Why should we forgive? We’re not the ones who did anything – it was them!

“When we are angry or depressed in our creativity, we have misplaced our power. We have allowed someone else to determine our worth, and then we are angry at being undervalued.” – Julia Cameron

Benefits of forgiveness:

  • Lessens stress
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Better sleep
  • Lessens depression and anxiety
  • Strengthens immune system
  • Better relationships
  • Energizes creativity

In the book Boundaries Drs. Cloud and Townsend state:

“To forgive someone means to let him off the hook, or to cancel a debt he owes you. When you refuse to forgive someone, you still want something from that person, and even if it is revenge that you want, it keeps you tied to him forever.”

The conundrum is when we hold on to hurts, we shackle ourselves to the person or event that hurt us. Our bitterness and anger have no effect on those who have offended us, but only drag us down and hold us back from living our best life.

Forgiveness doesn’t mean you approve of the behavior or renew the relationship. You release yourself from its control over you. Easier said than done. Some days you have to forgive minute by minute. Forgiveness is a decision, but the healing is a process.

I believe forgiveness has not only been able to release me from anger and depression, but has released the writing that has been waiting to flow out of me for many years.

Get healthy through forgiveness with these resources:

Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend

Forgiveness: Letting Go Of Grudges and Bitterness from Mayo Clinic

How To Let Go And Forgive from Zen Habits 

Question: Has anger and bitterness ever blocked your creativity? Have you been able to channel anger into productive writing?

4 thoughts on “Is Unforgiveness Blocking Your Creativity?

  1. I’m kind of with you there, Joe, in the fact that I’m going to remember an event and not allow it to happen again or give away my personal power in some way. It’s a hard road to letting go of things sometimes.

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  2. There are times I think I’ve forgiven someone and something happens and all the old feelings are dredged up again. Fortunately, it doesn’t happen too often.
    I’ve been working on a novel where I burn down a house and it was very cathartic. I think depression and anger has fueled some of the worlds most brilliant writers. If that’s the price we have to pay to be brilliant, I’ll settle for just being good.

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    • Writing through feelings has helped me handle them, but I’ve also had times where my feelings were crowding out what I wanted to accomplish creatively; draining me of all the energy I wanted to put towards writing. I know tapping into certain feelings helps me write a character more realistically who is also going through those emotions. I agree with you though, Diana, I wouldn’t want to pay the emotional price that some do to be brilliant. It’s seems a heavy burden some artists carry to be able to cut open their emotional veins so to speak and bleed all over the page again and again.

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