In a perfect world you love yourself effortlessly. In this world everyone would accept who they are, what makes them unique and wonderful and would walk with confidence, embracing their unique qualities. But the sad reality is that loving yourself is not that simple, and it’s often easier to focus on your faults. It’s not easy to give yourself compliments and to focus on what makes you amazing, but if you want to live a happy, fulfilling life, you need to learn to love yourself, flaws and all. Experts agree that self-love and creativity go hand-in-hand, so let’s start there.

It’s no secret that creativity is a form of self-expression, and is a great way to embrace your quirks, your unique ideas and your passions. But it’s more than that. Creativity gives people an opportunity to contribute to society. As CNN reports, according to Tony Wagner, Innovation Education Fellow at Harvard’s Technology & Entrepreneurship Center and author of Creating Innovators: The Making of Young People Who Will Change the World, “imagining and creating give us a sense of purpose…if you lack those things, a pervasive sense of emptiness becomes the default.” If you don’t allow yourself to be creative, whether you are creative in your thoughts, your problem-solving skills, your artistic expression or your actions, you’ll suffer emotionally and you’ll never fully embrace all that you have to offer.

But how do you use creativity for loving yourself or to gain self-appreciation? Creativity doesn’t come easily to everyone. And while some are naturally gifted in creative skills, others argue that it is a learned skill, not a talent you are born with. Legendary French artist Henry Matisse once said, “don’t wait for inspiration. It comes while one is working.” In other words, don’t wait to have a brilliantly creative idea to get going. Start working, think outside the box, and embrace creativity in your daily life so that you can also embrace your skills and show a little self-love. Here are some tips to help you get started.

Read Related: 10 Books on Creativity to Get You Thinking in New Ways


Allow Yourself to Make Mistakes
Being creative isn’t about being right. It’s not about coming up with the best idea or any groundbreaking solution that’s never been done before. Creativity is about letting yourself go, opening your mind to your ideas, thoughts, feelings, artistic visions and passions. When you do that, even if you make mistakes along the way, you’ll learn a lot about yourself and you’ll learn to love yourself more than when you were playing it safe.

Don’t be Afraid to be Wrong or to Fail
If you operate out of fear, always color within the lines and always stick to the ordinary then you might never mess up, but you’ll also never achieve anything extraordinary. When you take a risk and allow yourself to be creative—whether you are embracing artistic skills, musical passions or you’re just trying to find a creative solution to a problem—that’s when you’ll accomplish something you are proud of. It might not transform the world in any monumental way, but it might transform your life and the way you see yourself, and that’s just as important.


Focus on Your Own Creative Abilities, not Genius Accomplishments of the Past
It’s easy to say, “I’m not creative. I can’t dance. I’m not artistic. I hate cooking…” but instead of focusing on what others do in the creative realm (and what you can’t), focus on what you can do. Maybe you hate being in the kitchen, but you love to write. Perhaps you have no rhythm, but you love decorating and styling. Whatever allows you to feel free is your creative outlet; it doesn’t matter if you are gifted or not. What matters is that you embrace that feeling and gain confidence from it. Remember, as Psychology Today reports, that “the more you can experience your own originality, the more confidence you get, the greater the probability that you’ll be creative in the future.” Pouring your heart and soul into something will make you feel better about yourself and will make you better at everything else you do.


Relax Your Mind
Creativity can encourage relaxation. For some people fitness provides a release, for some yoga or meditation, and for others being creative provides an outlet to shake off the stress from your day and focus instead on what drives you to be your best. Go ahead; break out a coloring book and doodle. Write a poem or a story, experiment in the kitchen, invent something that will make your day a little easier. Just allow yourself a chance to forget about the stress of your daily routine and instead enjoy the release and freedom of being creative.