An artist’s awareness of their strengths and shortcomings is critical to the creative process. It is an indicator of the maturity and emotional IQ that are intrinsic to the art of storytelling and their ability to effectively communicate the unique and shared aspects of the human experience through the window of craft—as paralleled in the popular quote by essayist, poet and philosopher, Henry David Thoreau: “Maturity is when all your mirrors turn into windows.”
Rap icon, artist, producer and innovator, DJ Quik spoke on the importance of self-awareness, during an episode of TV One’s Unsung, chronicling his career—which also profiled the lyrics of the introspective single “You’z a Ganxta”, outlining the dynamics of self-awareness through an artist’s ability to recognize and utilize creative power towards the betterment of the culture:
“See some don’t realize the power of lyrics,
Cause when you rap about death you talking to spirits;
You see, you can say the things that can help us all ball,
Or you can say things that make it bad for us all.
Fix the problem, the only way is come to the source
Don’t be a Trojan horse help us change the course--”
Ultimately, self-awareness provides artists with a level of knowing that not only sharpens and expands the depth of their vocabulary, but leads to the discovery of their creative power from the impact of their art on audiences.
When that knowing is achieved in concert with the Creator’s insight, it can work to ignite the creative word of power sourced from his likeness within--providing a contrast of perspective that illuminates the mental and spiritual deficits that undermine the purpose, hope and intent of the Creator for an artist’s talents and gifts toward effective creativity.
Christ addressed the inherent power of self-awareness made available through relationship with the Creator during the Sermon on the Mount, in which he relayed the spiritual laws conjoining humanity and the Kingdom of Heaven.
“Happy are those who know they are spiritually poor;
The Kingdom of Heaven belongs to them.”
When artists obtain self-awareness through humility and relationship with the Creator, they are able to gain access to the affirmative power, love and omniscience that authors their creativity and allows for the intuitive guidance that is necessary and instrumental to recognizing and overcoming the thoughts, actions and belief systems that counter their creative power and growth.
In his letter to the church of Corinth, the Apostle Paul further illustrated the capacity of the creative power available through self-awareness in connection with the Kingdom of Heaven: a power that is able to develop an artist’s potential beyond the textbook knowledge of craft, practitioner or academic—evolving it into a transformative, effective creativity authored by the creative intelligence responsible for the creation of the heavens and earth:
“For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of words but of power.”
Self-awareness under the scope of the Creator’s insight can provide additional benefits for artists towards eliminating the need for approval and validation from associates, peers and the marketplace—as well as a reliance on self-magnified strengths or faults to define and affirm creative identity, value and worth.
The Apostle Paul highlighted these benefits and their role in actualizing his success and effectiveness in advancing the Kingdom of Heaven amidst the judgment he encountered from those in the church, as well as his own self-criticism, in the following excerpt—also taken from the first of his two letters to the church of Corinth:
“Now, I am not at all concerned about being judged by you or by any human standard; I don’t even pass judgment on myself. My conscience is clear, but that does not prove that I am really innocent. The Lord is the one who passes judgment on me. So you should not pass judgment on anyone before the right time comes.”
Throughout the course of an artist’s career, self-awareness, when paired with the Creator’s insight, can also work to highlight the fragility of the satisfaction gained through fame and financial and critical success—prompting an exchange from a creativity laden with consumption-based needs to a creativity anchored in purpose and supported by a growth mindset.
Christ memorably taught on the prospects of self-awareness towards acknowledging the burden of needs and wants that tax the human heart and spirit in the following passage of scripture—which also illustrates the weight of consumption-based creativity against the creative purpose and intent of the Creator:
“Come to me, all of you who are tired from carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke and put it on you, and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in spirit; and you will find rest.”
When practiced under the lens of the Creator, self-awareness can become a powerful tool for artists towards cultivating an effective creativity that embodies the power to transform culture and humanity—and realizing a path towards personal satisfaction and success.