Love and creativity go hand in hand. That’s why so many poems, songs, novels, and movies are centered around love. That’s why creative people are so often portrayed as “hopeless romantics” (it may be a stereotype, but there’s truth in a lot of stereotypes). But why is it that love and creativity have such a close relationship? How does love inspire the magic of creativity? And how can we leverage the love that we already have in order to benefit and power our creative efforts?
Love inspires hope
Love is hopeful. When you love someone, you hope that they will feel the same way about you. You hope for a bright future with them. You hope that everything will work out for the two of you. Hope and love are closely connected.
And then, hope fuels creativity. In fact, Hope is the first stage of the Design.org Egg framework, a model that helps creatives design and create the life they want to live. Hope is at the center of this framework because, before any progress can be made, you have to allow yourself to at least explore the possibility that a new reality is within your power to create. You have to hope that the result you want is within your reach.
In this way, hope is the opening emotion of any creative endeavor. When you create, you express hope for something new, something different, something better. And because love inspires and supports hope, it can help drive those efforts.
Love expands your thinking
Love also powers creativity by expanding your thinking. Love makes us think in new and unexpected ways. It takes us outside of ourselves. In other words, we think about the other person more than we think of ourselves; we put their needs ahead of our own. It essentially rewires our brains and expands our horizons.
Research has been done on this very subject. In the study, feelings of love were shown to lead to a more distal perspective (meaning a more far-reaching perspective) and global processing (thinking more about the world as a whole rather than about you as an individual). These more “outside” perspectives are also tied to creativity, as they are generally more abstract and less concrete.
Because love takes you outside of yourself, it leads you down more creative paths.
Love requires cooperation
Anyone who has been in a relationship can tell you that love requires compromise and cooperation. Working together and allowing some “give and take” is essential to a healthy, thriving relationship.
The connection between cooperation and creativity is an interesting one, because it works in both directions.
On one hand, cooperation drives and promotes creativity. A group of people working together is more creative than each individual person creating on their own. Conversely, creativity also builds cooperation. It sometimes takes creativity to effectively work with someone else, and creative solutions lead to more beneficial cooperation.
Because love requires cooperation, it helps you build that skill, which can help you then develop more creativity, which can lead to more cooperation and love. That’s a positive cycle if I ever saw one.
Love is passionate
When many people think of love, they think of passion. And most passionate people aren’t just passionate about their romantic partner. In fact, they’re more likely to be passionate about the other areas of their life, too—including their work and creative projects.
Passion is an ingredient of love, but it’s also a component of creativity. The best creative works are the ones that you’re passionate about—the things you can’t stop thinking about, or that keep you up at night, or that make you lose track of time when you’re working on them. I know that for me, those creative projects aren’t just the ones I enjoy the most; they’re also the ones that turn out the best.
Becoming a more passionate person in general is just one more way that love powers creativity.
Love is courageous
I’ve written quite a bit about love and fear and how they can affect our lives. But I’m not sure I’ve talked a lot about how much courage it takes to love someone. Love is allowing yourself to feel something that could end up hurting you in the end. Things might turn out great for you … or they might not. Love is a risk, and risks are scary.
The other thing about risk, though, is that there are things you can do to get more comfortable with taking risks. You can practice. And the more you practice, the better you’ll get at it.
That’s good news, because you know what else is risky? Creating. When you create, you’re putting a piece of yourself out into the world. It might succeed, or it might flop. People might applaud it, or they might ridicule it. To create is to take a risk.
Being courageous enough to love is going to help you build the courage to create.
Creating is love.
Here’s the ultimate reason why love and creativity go hand in hand: creating is love. When you create, you demonstrate your love — for the cause you’re supporting, for the ideas you’re promoting, for the talents you have, and for the world as a whole.
The more love you have, the more you can use that love to power your creativity and create meaningful change in your life and the lives of those you care about.
How to use love to power your creativity
Here are some ways to leverage love to power creativity:
- Talk with your partner about your creative efforts. Listen to their ideas. They care about you; so they’ll care about your creative endeavors as well. Take advantage of that power of cooperation. It’ll bring you closer, and it’ll power your creativity.
- Take romantic risks. Whether that means taking a chance with someone new, or telling your spouse of 20 years just how much they mean to you—it can all feel like a risk. But I’ll tell you this: the benefits of love are worth the risks. Go for it.
- Express yourself. Let yourself be passionate with your partner. Speak their love language. Talk about when you first met (it’s a great way to rekindle those exciting, new-love feelings). Be expressive. Let that passion out.
- Talk about the future. Hope together. Talk about your dreams for the future. What do you hope for your partner? What about for the two of you together?
- Get creative together. Try doing something creative together. That could be a painting or drawing class, a dancing class, or taking on a project around the house. Working together will bring you closer while also building your creativity.
Love and creativity do go hand in hand, and we can use that to our advantage—to better both our relationships and our creative efforts.
Maybe love really is all you need.
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