It’s one thing to be a little crazed because of your unique creative inner self.
It’s another entirely to go crazy because someone else’s going-doing-scheming-dreaming-unpredictability-inner burn sent you there.
You want to maintain stability and guard your own creative space while also allowing this important person in your life to have freedom, encouragement, and support.
Let’s start with two ground rules.
1. The fact that someone in your life is a creative person to the hilt does not diminish your creativity, not at all.
Your creativity may be quieter than someone else’s. That doesn’t matter. Creativity looks different for all of us.
Don’t demean or devalue yourself because you don’t look as creative as some other creative person.
2. Supporting a creative person does not mean you have to love all their ideas.
You don’t have to understand their projects, like their art, agree with all (or any) of their philosophies, experiments, personal stands, or counter-cultural displays.
You can encourage their expression without approving the end result. They don’t need your approval, anyway. They just need your acceptance.
Okay, moving on.
Most people in the world want security.
You want to know what to expect. Predictability means safety, for most of us. You want to have some repetition, some routine, some baselines. You want to know you’ll have a job, money in the bank, clothes to wear, food, friends, a strong relationship, love, warmth, a future that doesn’t involve begging on street corners.
All people want security.
Some people want security more than anything else.
Other people want security, but not more than anything else.
More than anything else, they want freedom. They will risk, or even flat-out give up security, in order to have freedom.
The need for freedom often comes with a creative drive to do and experience things that are different and challenging and new and unpredictable.
Your spouse walks in and says, “I want to put our life savings into this amazing new invention that I’ve just come up with. Isn’t that great?”
Your child calls you up and says, “I dropped out of college to live in this haunted house, raise badgers, and write the next Great American Novel. Aren’t you proud of me?”
Your best friend drops by and says, “I know you’ll want to invest in this business I just started, even though the last five ventures I had failed miserably.”
And you look at them and think: You are crazy. What are you thinking. Why are you even asking me this? Stop it.
You’re not wrong, but neither are they.
It’s just about what you value.
If you value security most, their push for freedom will be a threat to you.
And if they value freedom most, your push for security will be a threat to them.
Knowing where the conflict comes from doesn’t take it away. It does give you a place to start talking.
You can realize that you and this person have different values and different needs.
You can decide how much security you’re willing to risk. You can say that, clearly. You can set lines. You can hold them. And you can say, “I do support you. I also value myself enough to maintain the stability I need.”
Support is freely given, on your terms. If your person is coercing, manipulating, or bullying you into giving up more security than you want to, call them out on their bullshit.
Here’s a sample paragraph:
“I love you. I support you as much as I can. However, it is not right for you to ask me to give up [all/more] of my security for you to have more freedom. You are not more important than I am. Your needs are not more important than mine. You need to recognize that we are equals. My needs matter as much as yours. If you want more freedom, you need to find a way to get it for yourself without sacrificing my security.”
Bottom line in this scenario (every scenario, really):
You are responsible for getting what you want. Other person is responsible for getting what other person wants.
If other person tries to make you responsible, it ends up like this:
You become responsible for giving up what you want in order to get other person what other person wants.
Hand that responsibility right back.