Ever feel like you are dancing your heart out...but no one's watching? No one sees you...even when you're trying your hardest to be seen?
Or, maybe you feel paralyzed by the fear of being judged? You worry that you're not good enough to even try. Who am I to think I can take this class/be in this audition/stand in the same room as these other dancers?
At some point, you might find yourself wondering what's the use...what's it all for? I'm trying so hard to "make it" as a dancer...yet I just don't ever feel good enough. I feel like I am forever failing...forever in the shadows of everyone else.
This is the moment when you have to tell yourself that you have two options:
1) Give up, give in, stay silent, remain small, be unseen, be unheard. And in so doing, you keep your story inside, forever hidden from the cruel world that judges you, doesn't appreciate you, doesn't want you or care what you have to say. You smother your flame, that light that makes you special, that feels like it is only yours - because you don't feel good enough to share it...you don't deserve to share it.
Oh I couldn't do that. That's not me. I'm not like those other girls who are pretty, confident, unafraid. They can put themselves out there and get attention...but not me; I'm not good enough.
2) Show up anyway. Realize that the outcome is not as important as the action of sharing your unique gift, your light with the world. If you keep it inside, don't let it breathe, don't fan the flame, it will wither and die. And the death of your light is the beginning of your descent. Your happiness & drive will be gone, and you'll just be another one of those zombie-like faces moving through rush hour with no passion, no direction, no fire...just existing but not really living.
But if you allow that light to breathe - if you say what you need to say, do what you need to do, dance what you need to dance - even if not one person validates you for it (you don't get the job, don't win the role, don't get rewarded), you will still be 100% more satisfied than if you never showed up.
The only time you will have regret for your actions is when you don't try. You keep your light inside because you think you're not good enough, smart enough, pretty enough, talented enough. At the end of your life when you look back on your experience on earth, you may not have always won or been valued for what you are worth by outside sources...but at least you'll know you lived. You'll have played the game & gone all in, leaving nothing on the table. You'll have showed up.
So the next time you are trying to decide whether to go to that audition, take that class, put yourself out there and be vulnerable in your art...remind yourself that no amount of rejection will ever make not showing up worth it.
Photo credit: Marc DeGeorge