It is widely known that creativity comes from within. We all have our own personal ideas and experiences that drive us to be creative. Many people draw upon things like love and happiness for inspiration. For others, however, it isn’t always easy when life is throwing you curve balls. It can seem impossible to channel creative energies when you're going through a tough time. When we feel pain, we usually feel down and unmotivated. It's totally normal to feel these things, but what if we looked beyond? What if I told you that a huge amount of untapped creativity is hiding in your difficult times, just waiting to be discovered? Sometimes, we spend so much time ruminating on our pain and how much it hurts, we fail to see the specs of light through all of the dark.
Take Frida Khalo, for example. We know her today as a feminist icon and one of the most influential female painters. Before she embarked upon her career in art, however, Frida had dreams of becoming a doctor. Her world changed after she survived a traumatic bus accident that left her pelvis impaled with an iron rod, bones broken, and no real answer as to when she would recover, if at all. Depressed and in pain, Frida started to paint during her isolated time of bed rest. Unbeknownst to her, painting would be her life's calling.
Painting became a therapeutic form of self-expression during one of the hardest times of her life. It freed her to share what she was truly feeling as she questioned her identity and existence. Her lens of life was jaded, yes, but also very realistic. This creative pattern persisted throughout her life after the accident and can be seen in paintings that portray her feelings of being married to a womanizer.
What Frida did was turn her suffering into art. For her, it was painting- a raw talent she wasn't even aware she possessed. She taught us the lesson that pain doesn't always have to pull you down, and in fact, sometimes it can motivate your creativity. No matter what your passion may be, the message is the same for all of us: We have the power to turn our sadness into greatness.
In the spirit of Frida Khalo and her awe-inspiring journey, here are 3 steps to re- purpose your own pain into creativity:
1) Accept the Reality. In order to turn our pain into productivity, we must accept the pain. We cannot heal that which we do not want to admit. The sooner we begin to accept our pain as a thing of the past, the sooner healing can begin. Our suffering doesn't define us, so try your best to see yourself as separate from your circumstance. Accept the pain of the past and do not expend energy trying to change it. We can never travel to the past and re- write history... but we can control what we do in the here and now.
2) Find the lesson. It has been said that the area in which you've been hurt the most ends up being the area in which you can provide the most help to others. Now that we are no longer living in our pain, we can look at it from a fresh perspective. We can begin to see and feel the takeaways the pain has presented. When you find the lessons, you can then express them creatively like Frida Khalo did through her paintings. An immense amount of healing happens when we open up through creative forums. Think about “break up songs” or motivational speeches- both shining examples of pain re-purposed. Even if you don't share your creative endeavors with others, you're still doing the work. Creativity is the strongest here as the heart and mind become symbiotic.
3) Be kind to yourself. Remember that you're simply shifting energy from a place of pain to a place of imaginative expression. It's not required that we find all of the answers or even make sense of the pain. The only requirement of this process is that we be kind to ourselves. Why? Because it is possible that the pain may resurface. The saving grace will be the kindness we have shown ourselves. Pain can create a void, a hole in our hearts... but with self-love, kindness and creativity, we can begin to fill that hole with something much greater: with light and love and a deep understanding of one's self.
Raquel Reyes is a 28-year-old writer, teacher, and light worker. In her free time she loves hiking with her dogs, yoga, and bonding with friends. She travels as much as she can as she believes the biggest inspiration comes from people, places, and experiences.