Necessary narcissism: what creators need


“Paint Brushes Close-Up” Licensed under Creative Commons

Nora McKee, Staff Reporter

Whether you paint, draw, sing, dance, write or take photos, we all can admit that life without art would be a life without purpose. There’d be no music to sing, no colors on our walls, no books to lose our minds in or movies to transport us. There’d be no space to decompress or outlets to find yourself. In other words, life without art would be boring. 

Art shows up everyday, in all things. From singing in the car to writing a paper, these daily activities find us consuming and creating art in areas that we don’t always take the time to recognize. However, consuming and creating take on two very different roles in our world. 

Where art consumers can find relief in listening, analyzing, reading, or viewing different art forms, creators must exert emotion in order to create products. Further, they must then take a leap when publishing, releasing or displaying their works, understanding that not everybody will feel as connected or intrigued by it as the creator does.

There is a level of ego required for a creative. Without thinking you’re the absolute best, for even a split second, it’d be extremely hard to put out creations and work that come from an emotional part of yourself. A short glimpse into the dangerous void of narcissism is all it takes to fuel that confidence and shut down the fear of rejection. Because if creators don’t believe in themselves, it’s tough to say that other people will.

I like to call this brief moment of confidence a ‘creator’s high.’ It happens in those moments right after you finish an essay you enjoyed writing or when you finish a painting you’ve been working on for months. For a split second, it feels as though no one has created something more beautiful than you have, right now in this space. It’s a kind of confidence that is rare but beautiful, though after a night’s sleep, this feeling might change.

I caution my creative readers; this is a threatening trail to venture down. Balancing an ego with a sound mind can be a battle not all are ready to face. Some find it incredibly easy to fall into the rabbit hole of narcissism, putting them in a position where they are unable to learn and take criticism from others. However, they are unafraid to share deep pieces of themselves, for they are already convinced there is no one better. 

Still, others struggle to find an inch of room to be proud of their work, believing they will never be good enough to satisfy a world so driven by consumption. Perhaps, these folk are able to make work that they benefit from emotionally, feeling little to no pressure to share it with the world. 

The idea here is to find that middle ground and practice latching onto the creator’s high, pulling from the necessary confidence but leaving room for growth.

Creatives, art consumers and everyone in between, I challenge you to create something this week, something you’re proud of and can take a step back from once finished and say, “This is the most beautiful thing to exist right now” — even if that feeling lasts for less than a moment. Take that shred of light and do with it what you may, leaving room for development and giving the world a space to rest in your beauty.