Archives for Personality
“I know what it’s like to feel depressed." Lady Gaga Many creative people experience mental health challenges like anxiety and depression, often starting early in life. A number of them are actors, musicians and other performers. Are there personality traits or aspects of the entertainment business that may encourage emotional problems for performers? Most of you reading this are probably not actors or other performers, but the perspectives and insights of these talented artists can be helpful in understanding and dealing with emotional health challenges.
How does self esteem impact our lives and creativity? How do traits like egocentrism and narcissism relate to self esteem? In his post here on PsychCentral, Steve Bressert, Ph.D. explains that Narcissistic Personality Disorder is "characterized by a long-standing pattern of grandiosity (either in fantasy or actual behavior), an overwhelming need for admiration, and usually a complete lack of empathy toward others.
"A writer should be woman-manly or man-womanly..." Virgina Woolf Creativity researcher Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi explains that psychological androgyny refers to "a person’s ability to be at the same time aggressive and nurturant, sensitive and rigid, dominant and submissive, regardless of gender. "A psychologically androgynous person in effect doubles his or her repertoire of responses and can interact with the world in terms of a much richer and varied spectrum of opportunities.
Woody Allen admits he has “a lot of neurotic habits. I don’t like to go into elevators, I don’t go through tunnels, I like the drain in the shower to be in the corner and not in the middle.” With so much psychology related material in the news and culture, we may be especially concerned with whether our behavior is a disorder, or normal - whatever that is - and if our eccentricities can help us be more creative somehow. What about all those "crazy" artists in history?
Are creative people more likely to be highly sensitive? Writer Carolyn Gregoire in an article on the topic thinks one reason highly sensitive people may be so creative is an unusual depth of feeling - part of the personality trait of high sensitivity that psychologists and many creative people find supports creative exploration and expression.
“When we’re sensitive to other people’s emotions and struggles, holidays bring extra challenges." Carol Burbank, Ph.D. continues: "Winter celebrations bring their own craziness, the joy/grief cycle of memory, reunions and rituals that touch everyone to the core. “Just riding our own rollercoaster is enough! But when we are empathic, we sense everyone else’s wild ride, too!"
"Follow your bliss." Joseph Campbell That kind of advice continues to be part of what many coaches teach to realize success and fulfillment in life. But does "Find your passion" work for everyone? In an interview for Oprah Winfrey's Super Soul Sunday, writer Elizabeth Gilbert talks about this pursuit.
“I don’t know what ‘normal’ means, anyway.” How does being unusual or eccentric in our viewpoints, thinking, personal style and other choices help us be more creative and innovative? Karl Lagerfeld, the prominent fashion designer, photographer, publisher, and artistic director of Chanel, has very eclectic and unusual tastes in clothing – so I would consider him one example of an eccentric creator.
Do you have a wide range of passionate interests, even "too many"? Maybe you have never "settled down" into a well-defined career. Maybe you think you have ADHD - and maybe you do, but you may really be what Barbara Sher refers to as a Scanner. In her video below, she notes it may not be the best term, and there are others such as “Polymath,” “Renaissance Soul,” or pejorative ones like “Dilettante.”
Psychologist Elaine Aron, PhD is perhaps the leading expert on high sensitivity, or more technically, sensory processing sensitivity. She explains that the trait includes a higher level of empathy: “Highly sensitive individuals are those born with a tendency to notice more in their environment and deeply reflect on everything before acting, as compared to those who notice less and act quickly and impulsively. As a result, sensitive people, both children and adults, tend to be empathic, smart, intuitive, creative, careful, and conscientious…”