In defense of being 'cringe'
Why being embarrassed is a natural part of being human - and creative.
DD HQ here. Have you ever stopped yourself from doing something creative because you were scared of being seen as…cringe?
If you’re not a sleuth of the Internet, ‘cringe’ = feeling painful and awkward from second-hand embarrassment. Think of it like the first time you heard your significant other talk in ‘work voice’ or re-reading your old (dramatic) journals.
In all honesty, it’s the emotion we try to desperately avoid feeling as humans. Pretty much all of our lives, we make choices to skirt around potential embarrassment.
But, what if we told you that embracing cringe, that leaning into the embarrassment was the gateway into your open, creative brain? And even more - shedding shame around ‘mistakes’ and taking risks is key to unlocking your fullest human potential?
Before we get into why, think of the first time you remember feeling embarrassed. It may have been in those pre-teen years you confidently strode into school wearing a uniquely creative outfit, but no one else saw your vision. Or maybe, you were screaming Kelly Clarkson in the shower when you thought no one was home and - surprise, surprise - you had an audience.
Or maybe, it was when you wrote a poem or told a compelling story at work or sketched an intricate doodle on your To Do list or broke out into a freeing dance.
Maybe, you did something - even a tiny, little thing - that felt like you showed your soul to the world. You allowed the inner-stuff that no one else really gets to see breathe some fresh air.
That - that moment of inner-aliveness - is what some experts call vulnerability. And, being vulnerable isn’t just a trendy term; it’s our innate ability to take emotional risks and be open to sharing your most human self, even when it’s unclear how others will respond.
Research shows that when we show other people the inner-workings of our humanity, regardless of how they respond to it, we form deeper connections. It allows us to foster trust, empathy and belonging. Some experts say that vulnerability is the “glue that bonds individuals together.”
Even more, those moments of slight (or maybe even great) discomfort helps lead to more creative ideas. When we try something new, we’re expanding our openness, and in turn, allowing our creative brains to make more connections.
But, in order to be vulnerable, to show our creativity - we have to shed our fear of imperfection. Of being seen as cringe. Of making mistakes. And, creative expression helps us do that. The more we create, the more we’re able to exercise our curious, open brain. It’s a virtuous cycle.
So, diving in head first - being open to being seen as cringe is the first step. As Taylor Swift says, “learn to live alongside cringe. You’ll always find something you felt cringe about, retroactively.”
At Daydreamers, we’re here to make it cool to be cringe from time to time. To us, it’s a sign we’re breaking through the status quo. With us?
Katina + Dupi
and the entire team @ DD HQ
Feel like these weekly notes shift something in your brain? Forward it to a friend (or a few) who need this permission slip to be creative, too. Let us know you did + you’ll get an invite to our private community Discord channel!
An idea to noodle on 💭
Embracing cringe is the gateway to your creative brain
THINK ON THIS: Feeling embarrassed is a powerful emotion. While it’s considered a ‘self-conscious’ emotion (in the same family of shame and guilt) it can be an important precursor to cultivating openness, intrinsic motivation + forming deeper connections with others. Embarrassment can be a sign you’re thinking differently.
…MAYBE NOT THAT: Your creativity doesn’t need to be shared. Think about it this way - even Ben Franklin used pseudonyms. Creative expression can (and is) a personal journey. Remember, there are many different ‘types’ of creativity, and ones that are judged by others is just one kind.
Inside our brains at DD HQ 🧠
A peek into the depths of the universe (in our opinion, it’s natural ‘art’). In praise of ‘pointless goals’ - high quality leisure, hello! Who knew Dr. Seuss could be this cool?! Some say we’re in a creativity crisis. Go tango go - creative expression shows time + time again, it’s more powerful than mindfulness for well-being. Okay, okay it’s not just us - some might say it’s ‘Cringe Girl Summer’.
Ideas from the DD Crew 🛸
DD Early Access Membership is at capacity (go team go!), but we’ll be opening new spots soon. Make sure to sign up now + jump the line so you can get access once more spots open up. You’ll get a peek into what we’re building and become a part of our growing community!