“You are not good enough”
Fighting your inner self critic
by Alisha Coon
“You are not skinny enough.”
“You are never going to be a dancer.”
Meet my inner critic. She is MEAN!
She is that little voice in my head that used to remind me EVERY DAY that I didn’t have a six pack, that I had a face full of pimples and that I just wasn’t as good as other dancers.
I would hide up the back at auditions and hold myself back from performing my heart out because I was afraid of what other people would think.
Even when I was touring the world with Sydney Dance Company, I still did not believe I was a good dancer or worthy of being there!
I can tell you now, the MOST IMPORTANT thing to master as a dancer is not technique, it is not artistry or flexibility, it is your MINDSET.
Now, let’s get back to that mean little inner critic. I have been travelling around to dance schools presenting self-confidence workshops and the thing that shocks me the most, is when we do the following exercise. Give it a try and see how you go!
- Close your eyes and imagine that you have just woken up and had a nice hot shower.
- You dry yourself off and wander over to a full-length mirror.
- Look at yourself. Look at your face. Look at your whole body.
- What is your mind saying?
- What does it notice?
- What tone of voice is it using?
I then ask for everyone in the room to put their hand up if their mind was being positive and saying really nice things to them. In all of the workshops, out of all of the beautiful teenagers I have spoken to… NOT ONE PERSON HAS PUT THEIR HAND UP!!
Not one person says nice things to themselves when they look in the mirror.
Every time this happens, I want to cry. I want to cry because I know what it feels like. I know how it feels to look in the mirror and pick out every little flaw and everything I wish I could change. I know what it feels like to never feel skinny enough or pretty enough as or as fast, strong or flexible as other dancers.
But every time this happens, it gives me more and more drive to continue to pass on the skills, tools and processes that have taken me from zero self-confidence to having much more self-love and self-worth!
Let’s take a look at how you can start to combat those “not good enough” feelings.
Start to become aware of your thoughts, in particular, notice what your inner critic is saying to you. You may be surprised at how often it is trying to pull you down and remind you of your faults. A great way of keeping an eye on your inner critic is to use a journal.
- Write down all of the things it says to you
- Take note of which situations or times of day it is being mean
- Record how it speaks to you – does it yell, nag, or maybe it is being tricky and putting you down with a gentle, kind voice.
You are NOT your inner critic. You have control over whether you listen to what it is saying. The more times you can catch your inner critic throughout day, the more chances you have of changing how you respond. You can choose to change your thoughts.
BE YOUR OWN BEST FRIEND
Think about how you talk to your best friend. You would never put them down and say mean things to them all day… because they wouldn’t stick around, would they?
YET, we do this to ourselves! Imagine telling your bestie “you’re fat, you’re ugly, you’re stupid”. I can tell you now, they wouldn’t be your best friend for long! They are your best friend because you encourage, support and show them love.
So, you need to become your own best friend. Be kind to yourself! As soon as you catch your inner critic being mean, you are going to speak to yourself like you would speak to your best friend:
- Be encouraging “You can do this, I know you can!”
- Be supportive “Take a few deep breaths, everything will be ok.”
- Remind yourself of your strengths “I am a hard worker, I am kind and I am a good friend.”
The best thing about being kind to yourself is that you will start to like yourself more! When you stop bullying yourself, you will find it easier to like and accept yourself.
So, get that journal out and start tracking your inner critic. Take control of your thoughts and start being kind to yourself! If I can do it, then I believe you can do it too!
My mission is to get every student in every workshop to put their hand up to say –
“I love myself and I say positive things to myself. I AM GOOD ENOUGH.”