Through emotions creatives and performers touch our hearts, connect to our dreams or challenges, and inspire us to change. It is through emotions that creatives and performers reveal the essence of their stories. Some of these stories are remembered not only for a lifetime, but also are passed on through generations. Our human spirit living through the different forms of arts.
At the same time the emotional demands are manifold for creatives and performers, who have to be able to: translate their feelings into art, set aside their own feelings to evoke an emotional experience, to emotionally transition from their art back to real life, and to navigate the challenging world of the arts and entertainment. All these abilities require a certain emotional flexibility, adaptability, and resilience.
Being in touch with our inner affective experience is the base for any emotional abilities – from creativity, to connecting with others, to embracing changes, accomplishing our dreams, or overcoming challenges… This can be a conflict for creatives and performers, since they have to use their emotional space in so many ways; therefore, risking their ability to be in touch with their emotions.
However, the more we are out of touch with our emotions, the more we can struggle in our professional and private lives. Simply because when we are out of touch with our emotions we act out, we become inauthentic, and we lose ourselves. We start living through “defensive coping mechanisms” like repression, denial, blocks, projections… and more. Living through “defensive mechanisms” is very different than living with emotional freedom.
How do you know your “defensive mechanism” are taking over? If you find yourself feeling chronically unhappy or angry, empty and bored, unconnected and unfulfilled, unmotivated, sensitive and reactive to apparently insignificant issues, or your reactions are taking you by surprise… may be a sign.
While some creatives and performers are good at navigating their career and still be emotionally up to the challenge, others may struggle. Some develop depression, anxiety, addictions, and relationship difficulties.
And sadly, some may struggle to keeping up with their art without hurting themselves. A dark side of being a creative and a performer, is to have access to certain emotional states that are the medium through which art is created. At the same time, these emotional states can become a risky affair. As many of us have mourned the premature loss of artists we love.
Thus, a fine balance between navigating the emotional career demands and being in touch with one’s emotions may be hard to strike for some creatives and performers. At the same this balance is at the core of creating, performing, and living with emotional freedom.
So, what creatives and performers can do to maintain this balance?
The most effective way of learning how to walk a fine line between your dark side, creativity, and emotional resilience is to work with a psychotherapist that understands and knows how to help creatives and performs. Their need to create and perform, their need to get in touch with their dark side, and their unique ways of feeling, perceiving, and expressing their inner world into art must be seen, respected, and understood at a very private level.
This gives you, the artist, a safe place to process life challenges and feelings, to be seen and understood, encouraged and motivated, to be inspired to take on life challenges with courage, to discover your strengths, and build healthy ways of coping with difficult feelings and situations.
I am Mihaela Ivan Holtz, Doctor in Clinical Psychology working with creatives and performers. I help creatives and performers with their life struggles, depression, anxiety, performance anxiety, creativity, relationships and love, PTSD, and addictions. And, to become their own best version.
160 South Lasky Drive
Beverly Hills, CA 90212