11 Ways To Battle The Voice In Your Head Saying You're "Not Being Good Enough"
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11 Ways To Battle The Voice In Your Head Saying You're "Not Being Good Enough"

We've all felt it at some point.

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11 Ways To Battle The Voice In Your Head Saying You're "Not Being Good Enough"
The Cut

In the dance world, a common phrase we use is that we're "not good enough," be it for a role, a job, or even to be promoted to the next level of our training. In fact, inadequacy is something you feel on a daily basis, and even harmless comments or corrections from teachers or directors can send you into a mental spiral of self-loathing and questioning.

It is, unfortunately, something you deal with all the time, and it can range from a small pinch of a feeling to engulfing your daily life, both inside and outside of the studio. If you feel like you're starting to spiral, here are some helpful ways to battle "not being good enough."

1. Take a step back from the situation and evaluate.

Is the situation really as bad as you think it is? Or are you just salty that you didn't get exactly what you wanted? Sometimes things can blow up in our heads because we work so hard towards one goal, and when we don't achieve that exact goal, we feel like our whole world comes crashing down. We hear a normal comment and immediately turn it into "Oh my god why does he/she/they hate me so much" when it was truly just a comment and nothing personal. Don't let your imagination get too wild.

2. Talk to whoever is in charge.

If you're really feeling like you're not good enough, you got a role that you think is much lower than your skill level, or you're not understanding what to do to improve, talk to someone. No matter if it's your teacher, a professor or even the director, ask them what you can do to achieve your dance goals. This will not only give you a more personal insight to your dancing and help you see what improvements you need, but it also gives you back some reassurance from that person that you are indeed on the right track.

Just be careful how you word this question; don't go in sounding ungrateful, whiney or accusing other people of anything. A simple "I was just wondering if I'm on the right track because based on my casting/classwork/self-thoughts I wasn't sure," will do the trick.

3. Don't watch other dancers in spite.

I used to watch my fellow classmates and literally turn green with envy at their bodies, their techniques and their abilities. My thoughts would be so angry and spiteful, and I would wish that I could somehow be more like them. HUGE MISTAKE. Not only are you wasting valuable time and energy on stupid wishes that are never going to happen, but you're chipping away at your confidence and time that you could be practicing more!

Always appreciate the talents of your friends and colleagues but never let it go that far. It's a circle; you appreciate their work and they appreciate yours. There's no reason to bring spite or jealousy into your mind while you're trying to work, it just brings you down and makes you feel more insufficient.

4. Realize most of this world is out of your control.

A lot of the time, our feelings of inadequacy stem from the people in charge, their decisions and their behaviors. Who they decide to dance lead roles or who they choose as their favorites have nothing to do with your hard work, your abilities or your talent. Whatever goes on in their heads is beyond me, but you can't control minds.

You can't make them choose you over others, and their thought process is completely different from yours (also, don't forget, no matter how hard you work or how talented you are, you will always be biased). This dance world is not for you to be in charge of; you wouldn't be able to dance if you were in charge. So don't stress and over-think decisions that are out of your control; there is literally nothing you can do about them.

5. Put your energy into something else.

If you're still truly disappointed with something that you now understand is out of your control (see #4), put your time and energy into something else. If you're upset about your image, schedule more cross-training and work-out sessions. If you're unhappy with your casting, make extra time to work on a variation you love. If you feel you could work on your technique, try to squeeze in some extra classes with different levels of dancers. This process will not only put you in a different mindset and make you feel more adequate, but it will actually help your body and your dancing. Two birds, one stone, one happier you.

6. Be thankful for the opportunity to dance.

I know this one is a dumb cliche, but it's true. At one point in your life, you made the huge decision that you wanted to go into dance at a higher level than just a class for fun once a week. And I'm sure that every decision leading up to that and every decision after has been with the one goal of dancing in mind, so you've put a whole lot of time and energy into this.

Realize there are a million little girls and boys out there in the world right now who dream about dancing, and you are living out that dream. And, if none of that can help your mindset, you're either getting paid or paying to do this whole dance thing, so be grateful enough just for that.

7. Remember why you love to dance in the first place.

Remember those little girls and boys I mentioned? That was once you. Whether it was when you were a small child, sometime in your teenage years or even as an adult, there was one singular moment when it clicked for you. Try to dig deep into your memories and recreate that moment, that feeling, that choice to need to dance. Or remember that feeling of finally accomplishing a difficult step or moving past a barrier in your technique, or when you saw the cast list and your name was next to the role you always wanted.

Remember that time that a random classmate from your high school saw you dance and was raving about you, or when you took open class with much younger dancers and they stared at you in awe the whole class. Make a list of all these feelings and memories. When you feel like you're not good enough or nothing is going right, or just for some extra motivation, look at that list.

8. Find the moments of happiness.

If you hate rehearsals, love class. If you hate class, love one certain combination or step. If you hate who's teaching, love another teacher's class. If you hate where you are but can't leave, go take open class somewhere random on Sunday. Find and create the moments you love in order to cancel out the moments you hate.

9. If it's really messing with you to the point you can't function, get out of there.

If you've done everything that I've listed above and you still can't get out of bed in the morning, the feeling of dread reduces you to tears, or you start to hate yourself so much that you can't even look at yourself in the mirror, get the hell out of that situation. Talk to someone you love about these feelings. Then talk to a professional about them, be it a professor you trust or even a therapist or guidance counselor.

The issue might not be with your dancing but something else. Take it as an opportunity to reinvent yourself, make yourself better and happier for yourself and no one else and take some time away from the thing that makes you feel so terrible. My father always says the most important thing in your life is your health, which includes your mental health, so take care of yourself, honey.

10. Realize that what we do every day is amazing, and you are a superhuman for being able to do what you do.

We train tiny little muscles underneath our asses and on the inside of our legs to be so powerful that it holds our entire body together. We learn how to manipulate certain parts of our bodies to look a certain way and act a certain way. We defy gravity and defy the way the human body is supposed to work.

Dance literally goes against everything natural about the body, and we still somehow accomplish this while adding emotion, artistry, story and purpose behind every breath, every gaze, from every toe up to every strand of hair on our head. We are insane and crazy for doing what we do, and we somehow still do it everyday without breaking in half or crumbling into a pile. We rock, we kick ass, we absolutely dominate. Don't forget it.

11. Also realize that there's no such thing as "not good enough."

One of my favorite and most inspiring dancer once said, "When you're growing up, you're always comparing yourself to the others in the room and striving to be the best. But once you're at a professional level, no one is comparing and everyone is only concerned with themselves." Once you realize that the phrase "not good enough" was actually made up by dancers who panic about being perfect all the time, you'll see the bar that you've held yourself so low to doesn't actually exist.

This is a job, and you come in every day and do your work just like any other profession -- some days are good, some days are bad, some days are more successful than others. There's no use going through everyday judging your every step and criticizing yourself to the point of depression because nothing will ever get done that way. Once you realize there isn't a "good enough" and your headspace clears, there will be actual room for improvement, and your love for dance will come right back.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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