ABF isn't just about finding your peak performance state with your physical body, but it also takes you through the mental and emotional challenges holding you back from reaching your "best" self. Today we focus on some tools to keep on hand when those demons come out to torture you and drag you down.
We've all been there (or at least I assume we have); that dark, self-loathing place of feeling worthless and not good enough. The inescapable feeling of not being able to do anything right. Believing that you are a terrible dancer and don't deserve to be on stage with everyone else. The more you try to push through and fix yourself, the more mistakes you make. Every little thing you do that is not "perfect" causes you to beat yourself up even more and sends you spiraling down into a negative, unproductive state. The harder you try, the worse you get.
Since hiding under a rock isn't an option, how do you get yourself out of this depressing state so you can get back on that stage and perform in your most open, vulnerable expression of your art? How do you find your Bad Girl Ballerina self? Of course, there isn't one right answer to this question. But, when you are in the grips of your mental demons, it can be difficult to think clearly and know how to stop this downward momentum. So, here we break it down into 3 simple steps for you to follow the next time you find yourself in this situation. This may not get you back to your optimal mindset, but it is enough to help you turn things around and stop the negative flurry in your head.
(Confession: This negative spiral happened to me recently, and I had to take a dose of my own medicine! Even though I know how to get myself into my positive, Bad Girl Ballerina mindset, it is difficult to stop the self-destructive cycle when you're in it. So, having 3 simple steps in your back pocket to pull out when you need them can be very useful!)
Step 1: Stop and come back into your body.
Whether you are in the wings between entrances, on the sidelines in class, or on your own in the outside world...just STOP. Bring your awareness to your breath and feel it fill your body. Pay attention to the physical sensations you feel from your fingers down to your toes. Remind yourself that you are just a human being on this planet experiencing life. Feel your core, your self grounded back in your body.
Step 2: Notice the environment and people around you.
Now, take your awareness to the art around you. From the other dancers to the director, teachers, costumer, lighting designer, stage hands, musicians, notice how everyone is contributing to make this art happen. Whether you are on stage or in a classroom, be aware and appreciate the passionate efforts creating this experience.
Step 3: Take a deep breath and let yourself join that experience.
Remind yourself that you are just a part of this process. You are not the center of attention. No one is judging you. You are an essential piece in creating this artistic experience, but the fate of the world doesn't rest on your shoulders. You are not disappointing anyone. The only way you disappoint is if you don't open yourself to the art around you and let your true expression out, let your song be heard. If you fall out of a pirouette, let it go. Don't take yourself out of the moment by beating yourself up. If you dance with your full heart and intensity, you are bound to touch someone with your art. But, the beauty about being a Bad Girl Ballerina is that you don't even need that. Just living and expressing yourself without holding back is enough to give you all the fulfillment and self-worth you will ever need...no praise necessary.
Now that you banished those mental demons and reclaimed your Bad Girl Ballerina status, you can go out there and dance fearlessly with your heart open.
Have you ever felt this way? Ever been dragged down by these demons and struggled to come up for air? I'd love to hear your thoughts...please feel free to comment below or shoot me an email.