Plato believed that art appeals to us because it displays something that we are missing in ourselves.
Maybe we like Monet’s Water Lilies because it is peaceful and calming and that is something we long for in our lives. This in itself can bring much self-awareness. I do think there is truth to this idea. Art can be a great way to learn about yourself, whether it’s making art, looking at art, analyzing art, whatever. So here are some fun ways you can learn about yourself through creative outlets!
STREAM OF CONSCIOUSNESS WRITING
Just start writing. Write anything that comes into your mind. It might be the strangest or most profane or most beautiful or most disorganized thing you’ve ever written but no one will see it so who cares? I find that stream of consciousness writing usually leads me to something else I’m thinking about or struggling with and it really helps me work through those things. It might even bring to light some things that have been begging to escape from the deep recesses of your subconscious mind. It’s actually kind of magical and WEIRD how that happens.
LISTENING TO MUSIC
We do this all the time. Listen to music, think about the lyrics, relate to them, analyze them, etc. How does it help you with self-awareness? Sometimes a musician will put a thought or emotion into words that you haven’t been able to explain or make sense of yourself. Just being able to label a thought or emotion can be very helpful in working through it. This is something music can be very effective at doing. You can also create playlists of songs that describe you, either going by the lyrics or just the overall sound. (I personally made one of each). You can make playlists about ANYTHING! It is a wonderful self-awareness and self-expression activity.
COLORING YOUR BODY
Before you start making weird assumptions…
There’s an awesome SoulPancake video HERE where an art therapist does an art therapy activity with some participants. In this activity, each person has an outline of their body. They then pick colors to represent things that are important to them in their life. For example, purple might be family, green might be music, etc. Next the participants paint this color on a part of their body that may correlate to how they feel about it. Maybe purple for family is on the heart and green for music is on the brain or hands. So you can just do this on a piece of paper with some crayons! It’s a really cool way to think about and visually see what all these important things in your life mean to you.
Let me know what your favorite creative outlets are and how they help you!