I'm not in this business to create a following. I'm in it to inspire freedom.
You see, the world doesn't like rule-breakers. It doesn't like those who think outside the box and don't fall in line like a good little sheep.
Our whole lives we are trained to fit in -- through school, community, family, & especially the dance world where we are taught to mimic & conform to the rest of the class. Look around & do what everyone else is doing to win approval. Plus, nowadays we have social media to contend with which is THE WORST for reinforcing this idea of doing what's popular to get love:
- Copy what's trending.
- Follow the crowd.
- Fake it till you make it.
- Jump on the new #challenge.
- Keep up with the Joneses.
As long as you're doing what all the other cool kids are doing you'll be accepted, right? But, being so invested in fitting in causes you to lose touch with your own purpose...and cheats you out of exploring your full potential.
Putting so much attention on what everyone else is doing is exactly why you waste so much energy worrying about what others think about you. You're judging yourself against them; so they must be judging you, too. You become hyper-focused on how others perceive you and then base your self-worth on those false assumptions:
- He thinks I'm too fat.
- She thinks my dancing looks amateur.
- They're laughing at my arabesque line.
- He thinks I'm ugly.
- They're judging me for being too old/short/curvy/soft/flat/thick/aggressive/weak...
With this kind of mindset, you act according to how you think they want you to act. You try to please them...instead of yourself. You play according to their rules and live in a constant state of fear of letting people down. As a result, you never fully commit to what you want, need, & value. There's no reward in that.
How can you perform (both on stage & in your life) to your full potential if you are constantly trying to fit into someone else's expectations? You can't.
At some point, you have to say:
F*ck it...this is me. Take me or leave me, love me or hate me, but I don't care. I'm going to live my life staying true to my values with no regrets. I'm going to own my body & flaunt its uniqueness. I'm going to do what feels right to me. I'm going to show up, be all-in, & leave my mark on whatever I do...regardless of what others think of me.
Ironically, the more you embody this kind of authentic self-confidence & forget about being liked, the more love you will get. People are attracted to someone full of passion & happiness. That's the kind of energy people crave. And when they see it in you...they'll want it for themselves. But since you stopped basing your worth off what others think of you, it won't matter at that point anyway. You won't need their attention to feel “good enough.” But you can inspire them to search for that confidence for themselves. That's the kind of influence the world needs. That's how you can feel special -- not by amassing an army of followers who "love" you...but by becoming a renegade confident in yourself.
Only when you let go of their expectations can you truly be free to live & perform to your full potential. Your happiness & fulfillment come from knowing you are giving your all in life, putting forth your best effort (even if you're not recognized for it!)...as opposed to constantly second-guessing yourself in your meek & feeble attempts to please others. This is what it means to commit to full-out living -- no "marking" allowed. You don't need them to tell you “you're good enough”...you just need to believe it yourself.
So, dare to be different. Dare to live the way YOU want. Dare to embody this Bad Girl mindset & be unafraid to carve your own path. If you just think about it for a second, the world doesn't want carbon copy robots. We want & NEED people on fire with their own unique passions and gifts. Stop trying to fit in & worrying about being "liked." Embrace the originality you bring to the world.
Photo credit: @caffeinated_photographi