A few weeks ago, I attended a workshop hosted by my mindset/personal development/creative/just generally awesome coach, during which we did an exercise that involved listing things you believed to be true about yourself. This wasn’t meant to be a self-roast or pity party; the goal was to identify positive things. The question then came up – is it really being honest to only list positive things and ignore the negative?
I loved the reframe my coach offered. She said instead of thinking of characteristics as good or bad, consider whether or not they serve you. For example, “stubborn” is usually considered a negative quality, but stubbornness can serve you quite well when you’re facing a big challenge because it means you won’t give up easily. Throughout most of my life, I was told by various people that I was too quiet. It was presented as a bad thing. Being quiet though has given me the ability to become a great listener. I’ve gained insight into situations by just observing instead of trying to grab the spotlight.
As with practically everything, I couldn’t help but think about how this exercise could be applied to my dance journey. What did I believe to be true about myself as a dancer?
My mind went in different directions. I could assess my dancer self in the physical – I believe I am a strong dancer. My body shape (not to mention body ink) does not fit the stereotypical dancer image, and I believe I produce beautiful shapes and lines when I dance in the way my body best dances. Mentally, I tend to pick things up quickly. I’m eager to understand the “why” behind the movement and I will ask questions when I don’t get it. I’m anxious, which means I show up to events more than prepared. I definitely have a stubborn streak. Emotionally, I’m guarded and I’m also passionate and joyful on the dance floor. I’m bursting with creativity that I’m still learning to channel.
I could also say as a dancer, I’m full of self-doubt. I’m not physically flexible (I can’t do those coveted splits). I have a big butt and big shoulders that get in the way of those beautiful shapes and lines. I’m financially restricted. I’m old for a dancer. My expression on the dance floor isn’t big enough. I get frustrated easily when I don’t pick things up the first time.
Everything in the above two paragraphs may be true, but the question is does believing all those things serve me as a dancer? Do they help me move forward on my dance journey?
Believing positive things certainly helps me stay motivated and eager to keep going as a dancer. As far as the other things, it’s up to me to reframe them in a way that helps me move forward or release them in favor of something that actually does serve my dance journey. For example, that big butt and shoulders of mine are a sign of my strength and when I dance in the way that best fits my body, they don’t get in the way, they are assets. On the other hand, believing I’m full of self-doubt only feeds that doubt, which hinders my progress and smothers my joy. So instead of believing I’m full of self-doubt, I can focus on the belief that I’m always open to learning something new about my dancing and I won’t let ego get in the way of progress.
The recent workshop wasn’t the first time I’ve done an exercise like this, but I always get a little something different or new out of it. It’s a great way to check in with yourself and determine if you’re carrying around some beliefs that are only holding you back or bringing you down. A major belief I’ve been working to release is the idea that I don’t deserve to succeed at my dreams because I’m not worthy or good enough. I think we all struggle with not feeling “good enough” in at least one area of our lives. It’s a heavy burden to carry, but thankfully, it is also one we can put down. Sometimes we pick it back up out of habit without realizing it, which is why an exercise like “what do you believe to be true about yourself?” is a good check-in.
So now it’s your turn! What do you believe to be true about yourself as a dancer?
I’ll give you one to get you started, if you don’t mind – you belong on your dance floor.