This post isn’t so much about ballet, as I have just been getting up and getting on with ballet. As The Dancing Rider mentioned I’ve been learning about retiré and passé.
But something else has happened recently that made me want to write about something that I think is integral to my journey, but perhaps not seen as much. And that is self esteem. What a powerful, sometimes seemingly magical, thing self esteem is.
Good self esteem can make a person and a low self esteem can break a person. Without good self esteem you can feel small, insignificant, unworthy of good things and deserving of bad things.
Looking out on the world through low self esteem can feel like the world is full of opportunities for everyone else. Like there is no point in trying anything as failure is sure to follow. And failure is a terrifying thought for the low self esteemed, not because failure is bad, but because of the truckload of self abusive internal dialogue that is sure to sneak its way in on the back of that failure.
It has always seemed so strange to me, that something as necessary in life as self esteem, isn’t taught in schools or promoted as being as important as ones grade in the latest math test.
The good news is that you can cultivate your own positive self esteem. But it does take a lot of mental strength. You will need to overcome the negative self talk that will definitely come looking for a fight as soon as you start thinking positively about yourself.
The moment you tell yourself you can, that negative self talk that springs from low self esteem will scream at you that you can’t. And here’s one of the reasons I am in love with ballet…
Ballet makes me improve, and improvement makes me feel better about myself.
Ending every single day with a ballet class, practising the same movements and positions over and over has ensured improvement. It would be hard to NOT improve if you did something every single days for months. And with that improvement, what happens? I start to feel better about myself. “Oh look! I can actually stand in 1st! I can lift my leg higher this week! I can attempt pirouettes and not slam into the wall!” I could see actual improvement. And actual, factual improvement is the fastest thing to shut up that internal dialogue.
When you start to improve, there is nothing left for that internal dialogue to cling to. It’s not instant. It takes time. And at first that low self esteem just tries to cling to other areas of our life, but eventually it starts to fall away and flows into other areas of your life. Oh what a beautiful feeling!
I’m looking forward to seeing how faded it can become.
I wanted to write this post to anyone who might be at the beginning of a journey like mine, where you start off with a dream and it’s all in your head, and you really want to make that dream a reality, but you have a wall of negative self talk to climb over, before you can start to feel better about yourself.
I want to say it is possible. You can do it.
If I told you it were easy I would be setting you up for failure. If I told you it was all about thinking positively I would also be setting you up for failure.
So what I will tell you is that it’s not easy but it IS simple. All you have to do is talk yourself into getting up and getting to class. If you keep doing your classes then you will see improvements and from there your self esteem will rebuild like you never could have imagined it would.
I’m not saying that positive thinking isn’t helpful. It is a great tool. But it sometimes isn’t enough. For me, I need action. I need to prove that I am worth believing in.
The hardest part of this journey for me is convincing myself every day to get up and keep going. As soon as I have done that part everything else sorts itself out. Even if I have a terrible class and I feel like I have failed at something, I still know that I got to class and THAT makes me feel better about myself.
So my message is to keep getting up and going. Get yourself to class and you have won half the self esteem battle.
Here’s to believing in you!
Below is a pic of me getting up and getting on with retiré in relevé. 😀