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Artist Struggles

Breaking Through Your Mental Demons

Remember what it was like when you were a little girl...way back before you cared about what people thought about you? Back before you were taught to worry about people judging you? You thought you were the sh*t. No, that's not even didn't have to think anything about yourself at all. You just were, and that was enough.

What happened to that little girl? Someone or something one day told her that she didn't measure up. It could have been the mean kid on the playground calling her fat, a teacher making her feel dumb, a dance instructor labeling her with bad feet, or an advertisement calling her ugly. Whatever that initial pain was, it came as such a shock that she started looking for signs to reaffirm that notion...until the majority of her attention was consumed by finding all the ways she wasn’t good enough. And so, as she grew up, she was left with this ever-increasing list looping through her head telling her who she is based on all she lacks - too fat, not pretty, too short, too tall, too curvy, too thin, ugly lines, bad turner, etc.

It’s difficult to survive with that kind of constant negative feedback. To counteract those whispers from your mental demons, you create an ego to defend yourself. You put on an air of confidence to pretend you are okay, when really you are hurting inside. You build walls around yourself for protection. The walls are meant to keep others out…to prevent them from harming your fragile soul any further…but they also prevent you from getting out.

That is a problem, especially when you are an artist. You need to be able to connect with your audience, show your vulnerability, and let your soul be free to create and explore. That kind of authentic artistry can be impossible if you don’t know who you are underneath all the fake stuff you’ve puffed yourself up to be. And, it can be impossible if you don’t trust you are "good enough" underneath the barrage of all you lack.

What if you could go back and heal those hurts? What if you could mend those wounds? What if you could tell that little girl that other people’s words and opinions don’t determine her worth?

  • Could you take more risks with your ballet? 
  • Could you accept not getting the role you want a little easier? 
  • Could you deal with the rejection from that audition a little better? 
  • Would you be a little less brutal to yourself when you fall out of a pirouette? 
  • Would you punish yourself a little less for forgetting the combination? 
  • Knowing these things don’t define you and that you are already enough just as you are, could you enjoy ballet a little more? Love yourself a little more?
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Then, you wouldn’t need the inflated ego to counter the demons reminding you of your flaws. You wouldn’t have to fear making a mistake to protect your fragile shell-of-a-self from crumpling. And, you wouldn’t have to worry about pleasing everyone else to convince yourself you are special. You’d be free to create art…real art that means something to you. Real art with the power to touch and transform the world.

How would your dancing be different if you stopped living in fear of being found out for not being perfect? Why not embrace being perfectly flawed?