The Highly Sensitive Person as Artist, Sign #4
From the site highlysensitiverefuge.com , 21 Signs You’re a Highly Sensitive Person, author Jenn Granneman Dec. 12 2019 .
First, remember, I am not giving professional advice here. I and possibly you are not qualified to do so, making these writings my opinion. That said……#4. You withdraw often.
Yup. This sign says you need downtime, truly alone time if you are to function otherwise normally, creatively. And oh yes, you do!
You need this time to lower your stimulation level, recharge, calm your nerves.
The Key is to know that you need this time and you don’t have to do anything in it!
As kids our parents likely didn’t care if sometimes we played on our own. They probably thought: Oh thank God she’s shut up.
Well, maybe not out in traffic or after dark. Or with fire. But the Key Word is ‘play’.
But somehow, as adults, especially Creatives with families constantly strapped for time, we can feel guilty taking true alone time. We forget that, as Creatives, we’re supposed to take time to be alone and just play.
BUT, Oooh, I finally have two whole hours! I should be working!
No, you shouldn’t. Not if that’s your down time. We feel guilty. Take that time to do anything else but work. Or nothing. It is a key part of a Creative’s process.
The danger is that, now that you finally have an hour to yourself you feel that you really have to turn on the jets and get creating! And if you don’t or can’t, you feel guilty. I’m my own worst enemy! I finally have ‘me time’ and all I want to do is troll Instagram/soak in the bath/read a book/ drink wine/ play stupid games/watch porn…
It may seem like we are wasting time but we are not.
We may ‘putter around the studio’. We may clean work space, organize, update lists as things come to mind. Or sit outside in a comfortable place and watch the world. What ever helps de-stress.
This is all part of the creative process.
And yes, there is a thin line between recuperative time and procrastination.
Painter Jose Trujillo says you must make a schedule and no matter what commit to it. You go into your studio (or Creating space) and do your work. You have the goal not of painting for yourself, or painting to please a gallery or a patron, but painting for the craft itself. Certainly there could be something you are working on, but you are working to bring an image into existence and nothing else. Working for the joy of creating.
Picasso said the same thing: when I enter the studio I leave my ego behind like a Muslim leaves their shoes at the door.
Author Steven Pressfield says, about overcoming Resistance: Is what I’ve written any good? “I don’t even think about it. All that matters is I’ve put in my time and hit it with all I’ve got. All that counts is that, for this day, for this session, I have overcome Resistance.”
Buy and read Steve Pressfield’s The War of Art – Overcoming Resistance. Invaluable.
So you will know. The time you need to decompress, to recharge, to remember who you are and what is important to you is separate from your working time. You’ll know when you should be working but instead are procrastinating.
There is perhaps one other facet to ‘me time.’ If you are an extroverted HSP-Artist and you have learned to manage your time, have found your place – a positive roll in your community – you may feel that every day your life is going at a thousand miles an hour. You can fill every second to the brim and it is exciting.
If you are also Attention Deficit and have some coping mechanisms working for you, you will also know how rewarding life can be if you can take your creative energies, your sensitive, detailed powers of observation and your laser like ability to focus and work, and achieve impressive things. Might be in a job or for your Church or youth group or wherever we get positive social feedback. It feels great!
But living like this leaves you with no time to create, and no quiet time to connect with your ‘self’. And if you are a Creative, this behavior is avoidance.
No one who benefits from your energies will tell you, “Stop giving so much to (work/family/community/charity), you need to get back into the studio.” Only if it were to benefit them more.
Take your ‘Me Time.’ It’s part of the puzzle that’s you.