How do you believe?

18 Feb

Believing in myself is a very difficult thing for me. I can intellectually tell you all the things I’m good at, but I struggle emotionally to believe what I’m saying.

This shows up in a lot of ways, but especially in dance. I’ve been told that I’m a very good dancer (excellent even) and that I’m am very talented at it. But I struggle believing that. I can tell you all the things that I’m not doing correctly, and to me that’s proof that I’m not as good as my teacher says I am. I also feel like it’s his job to keep me motivated and happy, so there’s a tiny part of me that always doubts compliments from the staff. When other students compliment me, I feel like they’re just being kind and supportive. And when my nondancer friends compliment me, I feel like they just don’t know because they’re not dancers.

Again, my brain can tell you that everything they’re saying is true. My heart struggles with believing it.

This came up again in my lesson this week. And we actually had an interesting conversation about it. To me, there is no empirical evidence to show that I’m as good and as talented as my teacher says I am. Dance is very subjective, as are most art forms. I don’t trust my own judgment and assessment about this; that’s something just leftover from childhood. So without outside empirical evidence, how do I start to believe in myself more? My teacher’s answer is that you just believe. Maybe a bit of fake it to make it? An intriguing thought.

My teacher has said all along that the biggest thing missing in my dancing is the belief in myself. And he knows why I struggle to believe in myself. And he does his best to help me believe. But ultimately, no one can make me believe in myself but me. And yes, I’ve talked to my therapist about this a bit, and I think I need to talk to her more about it.

Because I want to believe. I want to be able to say with my brain and my heart that yes, I am quite talented at dancing and I am an excellent performer and dancer.

I get a tiny bit of that feeling on days that I perform. Super Saturday and Showcase are days that I KNOW I’m great at dancing. But how can I spread that feeling from those four days a year to the other days in the year? And I don’t want to get cocky or egotistical about it. I just want to be able to believe in myself more.

What’s interesting is that I have no trouble with this about work. I know I’m good at my job. I am confident about that. My therapist and I have talked about the difference there being that I’m not emotionally attached to work so it’s easier to believe. Dance and other things in my life, I’m emotionally attached to them, so it’s harder to believe in those situations.

I think the other thing that makes it difficult for me to believe is that I have always had the assumption that if I can do it, it must be easy. Algebra and calculus? Must be easy. Baking? Easy as pie. (Get it???) Dancing? Must be easy. And I know this is an assumption I need to change, and I’m trying to change it. I need to recognize and believe that some of these things aren’t easy for others and therefore I must be pretty good at those things.

So I need to figure out (with professional help most likely) how to believe in myself more.

2 Responses to “How do you believe?”

  1. wartica February 18, 2012 at 10:00 am #

    My sister has been dancing for about twenty-five years; she actually looks at herself as a novice, beginner,at this point in her life. It takes time to master anything, I’m sure you will get where you want to be:)) Great post and I look forward to sharing more with you:)


  1. Guest post: How to believe « The Reinvented Lass - March 2, 2012

    […] few weeks ago, I wrote a post asking how do you start to believe in yourself where there isn’t empirical evidence to […]

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