If parents only knew…

So many women that I meet in my work with Creative Flow are suffering from being stuck in The Pretty Trap. And they’re afraid.

Afraid of making mistakes

Afraid of not performing well enough.

Afraid of what others might think.

Dependent of what others think.

Dependent on attention.

Dependent on compliments.

Dependent on being sweet.

And nice.

And one of many.

And sort of neutral.

And actually quite frankly boring.

Mushroom forest-Sara-Aurora-Waters-2015

Why do so many women strive for perfection when they should be playing?

How did Creativity end up being about drawing the perfect flower or face or whatever?

When did all these women forget how to play?

I know the answer.

It’s when their parents started telling them how pretty their drawing was. Or when their teacher told them it wasn’t pretty.

All those people telling each other that what they create is pretty… or not pretty enough…

Have you ever noticed how little girls (and sometimes boys as well) keep asking everyone around them “Do you think this is pretty/nice/good?”? When they say that, it has already happened. They have started to forget how to play. And started to focus on what other people think. They have stopped listening to that inner voice telling them to express anything they want and they have started focusing on what other people might want to see/hear/not see/not hear. They have started to please other people and neglect their inner feelings.

All because someone said “What a pretty drawing!”…

Now they’re thrown out of the Garden of Eden and ashamed of themselves. And of what they create. They’ve become self-aware.

Aware of their mistakes.

Aware of every little fault.

Aware of what it should look like.

Aware of expectations that they can’t meet.

And they start abusing their creativity. They start to tell Creativity that it’s not good enough. That it’s not pretty enough. That others are better than they are. That it’s actually ugly.

And they stop playing.

Stop expressing.

Stop enjoying what’s inside of them.

Stop listening to their inner voice.

And start obeying the outer demands.

And they start forgetting what Creativity is about.

And they forget what they’re about. They try to fit in. To draw in a certain way. To learn skills to be “better” at drawing. To draw like everyone else. And they get nervous about showing what they’ve created.


And there’s always coloring-in-books…

Coloring-in-books are safe. You can’t make mistakes. You can’t miss the mark. You can’t fail. All you need to do is add color to someone else’s “perfect” drawing. Of course it’s relaxing, because there are no expectations that you have to live up to. Not even your own.

This is so sad. If women only knew…

You could have the same experience just by doodling. But then it would be YOUR doodling. It would be YOUR voice singing through you. YOUR colors & patterns dancing on the sheet. And you would feel happy and fulfilled.

There is a road back from “The Pretty Trap”. It’s long and windy. But it’s worth it. In the end you get to go back to The Garden of Eden. You get to be naked and blissful. And enough. You are enough. You just don’t see it.

Let me take you on an adventure where we’ll walk down that windy road. It will be bumpy at times. It might even hurt. But in the end you will feel free. And you will love the things you create. And you will love being creative. Because it’s all become playful again. And nurturing. And satisfying.

I dare you.


Comments (2)

Thank you so much for your comment, Hannah, and I’m so happy to hear that this resonated with you!
Yes, it’s sad to think that children get sucked into this from such an early age, when they should really be unaware of how they look. He might just have watched other children obsessing about their looks… I think the best thing to do is to reverse the question – to ask him how he thinks he looks, or if he feels happy wearing those clothes. You could even ask him why he wants to know, which might give you some information on how he thinks.
The same goes for when children want feedback on their drawings – ask them how THEY feel about them. Ask them if they enjoyed making it. If it was fun. Focus on the process. And if they’re not happy with it, never try to convince them that it’s fine. Ask them why they don’t like it and what they could do to change it so they like it more. Some children are really unhappy when it doesn’t look like a perfect photo. I think there is only one way to address that, and that’s to tell them how many years of practice it actually takes to get to that stage. Children need real answers. Not nice compliments.

I relate to this very deeeply! And, to my horror, my 3 year old son has started asking me how he looks often after he gets dressed. My husband and I rarely do this and I strive for not focusing on appearance in this way so it has me really stumped as to where it comes from. But you are so right- it starts early and then at some point we spend the rest of our time unlearning this fear of not being good enough, of not needing someone else’s approval for our own self-worth. Thanks for this!