How having empathy for others can lead you to find your muse
“A PAINTER TOLD ME THAT NOBODY COULD DRAW A TREE WITHOUT IN SOME SORT BECOMING A TREE; OR DRAW A CHILD BY STUDYING THE OUTLINES OF ITS FORM MERELY . . . BUT BY WATCHING FOR A TIME HIS MOTIONS AND PLAYS, THE PAINTER ENTERS INTO HIS NATURE AND CAN THEN DRAW HIM AT EVERY ATTITUDE . . .”
Imagining what the world looks like through someone else’s eyes can help you see things that you would have otherwise missed if you had had chosen only to walk around in your shoes. When trying to be creatively inspired, try empathizing with your audience, as well as your subject matter in order to see things from a different perspective and find new ways to catch your muse.
Someone else’s shoes
Have you ever imagined how it would be like to live your life as someone else? I am not talking fantasizing about being a rock star or an astronaut, but about actually putting on someone else shoes and walking a few miles in them. What if you could take yourself and be transported into someone else’s body and spend a while living as them, seeing the world through their eyes, filtered through their own perceptions and memories.
- How would things look from this view?
- How would you approach a problem?
- How would you see other people?
- How would the world be drawn upon your mind’s eye?
Being able to see through the eyes of others can open up many creative doors. It can enable you to see the picture you painted from the view of the audience, to taste the food that you cook through the palate of a teenager you are trying to get to eat, to approach a narrative with the expectations of someone of the opposite gender or of a different cultural background. Taking the time to consider these other views can help you come up with a solution around the various roadblocks that may be thrown in your way, because sometimes you just cannot see the answer through your own view.
Ever watch some a horrible event on the news, and then put yourself in the position of the people who are being shown on the television? Have you imagined what it must have been like to be their shoes when the earthquake struck, or when the plane crashed? Have you imagined what it would have been like among the chaos and how it would feel to lose your loved ones? Feeling empathy is much more than just looking dour and saying things like “those poor people, we should do something.” It is truly putting your own self in their shoes and imagining what it would be like to be them. Doing so may not only open up new creative paths to inspiration, but may also make you aspire to be a better person.