Perfectionism is an issue that every dancer faces.
We spend every day in the studio striving to improve our craft. We receive a lot of corrections and sometimes criticisms. These corrections are meant to help us improve and develop into the best artists we can be. However, sometimes we allow the words that are meant to inspire and make us better dancers to become twisted in our minds. These twisted thoughts can quickly lead us to start beating ourselves up emotionally.
Once we get a negative thought in our minds, it is very easy to dwell on it and allow it to consume us.
This pattern can become a habit and we can get trapped in a cycle of negative self-talk. This negativity hinders us from reaching our full potential - as people and as dancers. We loose confidence in who we are and begin to hold back from really dancing to our best ability. It not only affects our dancing - it easily can translate over into other parts of our lives. When we become stuck in this negativity, it becomes very hard for us to change the distorted view of ourselves and remember who we really are.
If you are starting to feel weighed down by negative thinking, it is important to talk with someone you trust.
Keeping these thoughts to yourself can become a burden. When you share what is going on in your life with a trusted friend or mentor, it allows you to receive a loving, objective perspective on the situation. Sometimes it takes a friend being honest with us to help us see that our interpretation of ourselves is inaccurate. In the moment, it is easy to brush those friend’s comments aside, but we have to remember that we can’t always view ourselves clearly if our only focus is to reach perfection.
If we believe in God and the redeeming work of his Son, Jesus Christ, then we have a responsibility to view ourselves the way that God does.
“Much discouragement and underachievement result from dwelling on the failings of our human nature. It comes from seeing ourselves differently from how God sees us” (NewBerry).
We are God’s children created with love and for a purpose. God knows every detail about each and every one of His children. We are His beautiful creations and He loves us even with our “imperfections”.
Words are a powerful thing that can have a huge impact on a person’s life. We must actively choose to replace our negative thoughts with positive truths. Paul in the book of Philippians shares what our minds should be truly focused on.
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” (Philippians 4:8).
Once we change our thinking, we can see a transformation in the way that we view life. It can change the way we dance, and moreover, it can make a big impact on every other area of our lives.
Samantha Zanol is in her third year dancing with the Ballet 5:8 professional company and currently serves as the Administrative Assistant for Ballet 5:8 School of the Arts. Samantha can be found at the Front Desk several nights a week at both of the school's campuses; you will also be able to see her onstage at Ballet 5:8's upcoming performances of Belteshazzar: A Perilous Tale at the Beverly Arts Center in February.