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Praise: The Gateway to Creative Confidence and Power.

It is only natural for an artist to desire praise of their work, as approval or confirmation of its worth--given that each work derives from an artist’s identity and experience. With every offering of praise, there is an inherent agreement of significance towards that individual experience, but over time, the need for praise can become manipulative when a dependency grows upon it. An expectation of approval, or lack of it, can deform creative instinct, stripping away the autonomy that once fueled it. And so the question arises: While working towards the actualization of business and creative goals as an artist, how do you maintain the purity of purpose and strength within the desire to create without becoming numbed by praise or crippled by silence?

In parallel, the Creator has always exemplified this strength and purity of purpose in every area of creation, specifically with his creation of humanity—which he created in his own spiritual image, to share his wealth, love, knowledge and gifts, in covenant. The Creator exists in his omnipotence independent of humanity’s praise or acknowledgment, and yet according to scripture, he lives within our praise. If the Creator is not dependent upon humanity’s praise to exist or demonstrate his power—then it might be argued that humanity’s praise for him is a gift that serves as a conduit of creative energy through song, art, dance or literature that connects his presence to humanity’s present. Every artist has the capacity for the same level of strength and power of purpose centered in faith, hope and love to create and exist wholly, whether or not praise is present, regardless of motive.

The cultivation of strength, purpose and creative confidence comes with the adoption of self-love rooted in gratitude—whether traveling valleys of silence or basking in infinity pools of approval. Within scripture, the Apostle Paul expounded on this level of gratitude and contentment while navigating his journey of purpose and the areas of excess or lack he experienced during the in-between:

“And I am not saying this because I feel neglected, for I have learned to be satisfied with what I have. I know what it is to be in need and what it is to have more than enough. I have learned this secret, so that anywhere, at any time, I am content, whether I am full or hungry, whether I have too much or too little. I have the strength to face all conditions by the power that Christ gives me.”

Creative power and autonomy are maintained through praise—a praise that is exercised through the continued practice and sharing of artistic and creative gifts endowed within--each of which, bringing the power and love of the Creator into our present. Whether generated commercially or hands-on through community-sharing forms such as murals, creative non-profit workshops or the mood-conversion power of flash-mobs, the strengthening of our creativity can be found in the adoption of gratitude and contentment during the in-between of abundance and lack.

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