Do you have Self Compassion? I didn’t for the longest time and even now it’s a constant practice. Like all other Human Beings I have good and bad days. When I feel dejected, disconnected and lost with little motivation, I can be known to crack out the metaphorical whip and lash myself with the belief that I shouldn’t be feeling this way, that I ought to feel X, that I should be doing Z. I’ll sometimes pressure and urge myself out of the rawrer, more vulnerable parts of my experience from fear I’ll never be happy again – that I’ll be languishing in a pity party for the rest of my days.
It’s a constant practice to allow myself to Be as I am and have compassion for my Humanness. When I started on my acting journey I was dealing with a lot of stuff (I was in my twenties so I basically hated myself). If you took a walk inside my mind you’d have bolted with terror at what you found there. It wasn’t pretty or cute and resulted in chronic anxiety and illness.
We know this industry is tough, we’re reminded of it constantly. It tests a person on every level; mentally, emotionally, physically, energetically. If we’re not careful we can sacrifice everything for it, our own comfort, security, relationships, other interests, our very well-being. We get a self tape through, drop everything to prepare, get the lighting just right, learn the lines 8 ways, lock ourselves in our room to go method for 3 days, hire a costume designer to help us ‘look’ the part, agonise over the delivery, send it off convinced this is the one because you literally are the character and…crickets. The email never comes, they don’t even have the respect to fire over a thanks but no thanks – another solid No to add to the heap. Anxiety creeps back in as you once again wonder – am I good enough? What am I doing with my life? Where is all this going? Is it worth it?
I’ve got the T-shirt in every colour babes…what size do you want?
This, I’m sure goes for every type of artist out there or for any creative endeavour we pursue that is original, daring and bold. It requires a certain self confidence and belief, focus and motivation. But how do we get there? And how do we maintain it once we do?
When I teach balancing poses in a yoga class, inevitably people wobble and fall (as I do, often). It’s common for people to tut, get embarrassed or frustrated, want to give up when they struggle to hold a pose on one foot. Good – I love it. This is a great opportunity to observe how you treat yourself when you fall and what you believe about yourself when you perceive you’ve failed.
I encourage people to use this moment as an opportunity to gently, compassionately encourage ourselves back into the pose, back into the game, back into the room and just try again. A little wiser, a little stronger, a little more improved. Who actually cares whether you can float perpendicular to the floor on one foot for ten breaths. I certainly don’t. I’m rolling about beside you knee deep in the shit. Literally nobody’s arsed and (mostly) nobody is judging You (apart from You). So give yourself a break.
When we’re already pouring from an empty cup, beating on ourselves for any perceived failing no matter how minor, any knocks, no’s and challenges we receive from castings or submissions of any kind can be enough to push us off the ledge we’re teetering across. Before it gets to that point can we begin to soften, go gently, be loving and kind to ourselves like we would a dear friend, reminding ourselves that we’ve already won, we’ve already succeeded by not giving up, by even attempting to make our dreams a reality when so many just don’t and never will?
Here’s some journaling questions you might like to ponder;
Are you being a good friend to Yourself?
What’s the overall tone of your internal dialogue? Is it enthusiastic? Encouraging? Supportive?
When you feel down, broken-hearted, rejected, fumin’ and fed up – where do you go in your mind?
What thoughts do you feed yourself about your abilities and worthiness?
Do you nourish yourself with kind, encouraging words & beliefs?
Are you your own coach and mentor?
Do you support yourself through the highs and lows?
Radical self compassion builds resilience and strength, it helps us bounce back quicker from inevitable challenges, rejections and obstacles. Self compassion is treating yourself like the precious Being you are, unique, brilliant, endlessly creative, able to transform and start again.
We need self compassion in bucket loads if we’re to create the life and career we’re worthy of, that we deserve.
I wish it for you x