Self-Esteem and Creativity

Must You Have Self-Esteem to be Creative?




The last week I’ve focused on causes of low self-esteem and how to over come them. I’m going to take a little break today and reflect upon whether you need to have self-esteem to be creative.

A Day at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston

I was thinking about creativity and self-esteem as I was enjoying several hours with a friend viewing amazing art, some from the first century. We saw sculptures of religious figures from Korea, India and China. We also enjoyed the artistry of Muslim artists in the architecture and illuminations of their holy scriptures.

When we decided to go to paintings, we examined work focused on Christianity, Greek and Roman myths, still life, portraits and landscapes. We did see one Rembrandt, not one of his most memorable.

Did the people who created this art have good self-esteem? Vincent van Gogh (not in this exhibit) was known to have low self-esteem since childhood yet he painted amazing art. One of my awesome experiences at the Musee d’Orsey in Paris was to stand in front of van Gogh’s Starry Night transfixed by the colors and brushwork.  Believe me when I say that photographs in the best of art books do not capture the exquisite beauty of that painting.

What Is Creativity?

Most people think of creativity associated with art, as in the photo above. This elicits the comments, “Oh, I’m not creative. I can’t draw.”

Creativity is much more than drawing, painting, pottery or similar artistic pursuits.  Creativity is, what people call, thinking outside the box. You’re creative when you develop original ways to solve a problem, make new connections between concepts which seem unrelated, or discover patterns hidden in a wealth of information or stimuli.

Creativity is about seeing life in new and different ways. You don’t need self-esteem to do that. You simply allow your natural abilities to look at life differently come forth.

What Is Self-Esteem?

I believe in Me

Self-esteem is about how you view yourself and your own personal worth. You have good self-esteem when you like yourself and have confidence in yourself. You can have great self-esteem in general, but not feel self-confident in particular areas of life. The opposite is also true. You can have self-confidence in particular areas of life but not have self-esteem in general.

You may have confidence in your ability to produce a painting due to years of success as an artist but feel insecure in the area of relationships.

Self-esteem isn’t an “all or nothing” state of being.

If you have confidence in yourself to be able to address any project and get help when needed, that will take you far. You may not feel confident in your ability at your new endeavor, but you can be confident in your ability to become confident. 

You don’t need confidence to complete the project. You simply need the confidence and determination to take one step at a time. If it’s to learn to draw, you buy the book, register for the on-line course or the studio class. Then you take the class and have fun.

Play at Being Creative and Allow It to Unfold


You’re never going to discover your creativity unless you venture forth to try something new. Pick up the pencil and draw a circle or a line. Make connections and see what happens. 

Make a list of 5 different ways you can solve a particular problem facing you. Let your mind flow and eliminate no idea for the time being.

Stretch your mind by doing things differently than you usually do.

As you do, you will gain confidence.

As you do, your mind unbends and makes new connections in your brain allowing new ideas to spring forth.

Your self-confidence will grow in this area. Allow it to spill over into liking yourself and your adventurous nature.






2 thoughts on “Self-Esteem and Creativity”

  1. I agree, Paul. It would certainly make it easier to get “in the zone.” I found it interesting reading some comments about this topics from various artists (fine arts as well as writers). Some say they are able to be creative but are anxious about the value of their finished piece.

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