Friday, December 4, 2009


A few years ago, I met an artist with an interesting attitude towards art and, by extension, life. Although his art was beautiful and, in my opinion, valuable, he tended towards giving it (at least his smaller pieces) away or selling it at a low price. This wasn’t in anyway a reflection of how he felt about his art (or himself) – he appreciated his art; respected it and even enjoyed it – he just had no need to hang on to it or sell it at a price that society expected . Art was to be enjoyed by all; he wanted to share it. The attitude, and the man, at first confounded me.

I understood how art should be available to all but to give away pieces or to sell yourself short…? What if the creative process comes to a halt? What if you are giving away something that is limited? Or, more to the point, how will you survive if you have given away all of your value.

My reaction was codependent in at least three ways. First, I was scared of depletion. Having grown up with the idea that I had to somehow earn my value, I was used to giving too much of myself in hopes of getting my needs met. I felt I needed to protect my energy less it be drained from yet another source.

Secondly, I was coming from a scarcity belief that there is never enough and, by extension, I was not enough. The artist was coming from a philosophy that creativity springs eternal: that humans are inherently creative and therefore the creative expression is infinite and, by extension, so is human worth.

And finally, I felt that giving away one’s art was like giving away one’s source of value. Because I felt unworthy (not enough) I placed my source of value in what I did rather than who I was. If I gave away all my art and the creativity ran out (which it surely would because of my scarcity beliefs) … who would I be then?

Now I don’t want to get into a debate about the value of art. Aside from my codependent parts I do believe one’s creation should receive monetary respect. So take this as a metaphor because the truth is that many of us live in scarcity, a belief there is not enough to go around. Scarcity can be reflected in both hoarding and excessive behaviour – two sides of the coin. For example, a scarcity belief with food may result in eating less (must make the food last) or overeating with wolf-like avarice because it might not be available tomorrow. Scarcity beliefs might also have someone fall into apathy or, alternatively, do too much because of the perception of not enough time. It is not a conscious thought but an unconscious drive that believes wealth, joy, beauty, sinfully sweet cookies and of course, are own worthiness, is scarce.

Self worth, however, is only scarce in our minds. Like creativity our worth holds no bounds… we only have to acknowledge it.

No comments:

Post a Comment