You don’t know you’re beautiful!
I know it’s been a few weeks since the London 2012 Olympics closed, but it still feels very fresh in my head. Even as I waited to board my flight to Brisbane to see the Hamburg Ballet, the incoming flight was filled with Green & Gold tracksuit clad Aussie Olympians returning home. A medal was also proudly displayed right before my eyes!
I think of the dedication, discipline and precision of the athletes striving for the highest goals…
I think of the post-event interviews and the number of times I heard athletes say, “I stuck to my race plan and did the best I could on the day”. Even in the face of defeat, they had their self-talk in the right place and didn’t let the shadow-voice of perfectionism talk themselves into the ground… Much for dancers to learn from…
But, the main thing that has stuck in my head and that I wanted to write about is actually One Direction’s “What makes you Beautiful” from the Closing Ceremony! The song has been going around and around in my head for weeks now! I can’t seem to stop singing it – even though I am well aware that I am at least decade or 2 older than the target audience!
The lyrics, despite being a tad cheesy, are just what most un-affirmed people need to hear (and dancers are among the least affirmed people on the planet!).
You don’t know, you don’t know you’re beautiful!
Dancers are incredibly beautiful people, but many dancers have a very negative image of themselves
A positive sense of self develops in childhood and adolescence through the affirmation of our parents and other authority figures in life. The problem for serious dance students is that so much time in the formative years is spent at the ballet studio, where expectations are incredibly high and affirmation is a rare treat, that our sense of value can easily become skewed.
We stop believing the affirmation of our parents and start to only accept the rare praise of our dance teachers. We develop very high standards for what we need to achieve in order to be happy with ourselves and reserve the word beauty for those transcendent Ballet Stars who are pretty close to perfect.
Dancers get so focused on performing for others to feel good about ourselves that we easily miss the uniqueness inside of us. We are so intent on technical proficiency that we forget how our personality and beauty is what brings a sense of ease and emotion to our dance.
Now, I’m not suggesting that dancers all get really full of themselves and strut around like they own the place. I’m also not talking about beauty in terms of skin-deep, supermodel, airbrushed, brand-fashion-only beauty – nor is One Direction for that matter:
Don’t need makeup, to cover up, the way that you are is enough
I’m talking about the very deep and natural beauty that comes from knowing your own dignity and value as a unique, unrepeatable human being
I know the song is a bit kitsch and when I start talking about inner beauty, there are enough of you who start to gag at the thought of it. It takes a pretty brave person to believe that they are beautiful and valuable deep down and live, work and dance from that place.
But, there is a real grounding that comes from believing you possess this kind of beauty. People who exude natural beauty have a sense of feeling comfortable in their own skin. They are able to relax about themselves.
Some questions to think about:
- Think of someone who you think has natural beauty. What is it about them that is so appealing?
- What gets in the way of believing you are beautiful? Listen to your thoughts. Do you find yourself counting all your flaws that “prove” you are not? Do any negative comments by parents or teachers in the past come to mind? Learn to pay attention to this internal debate and start taking control of the conversation!
- How would you dance differently if you believed deep down that you are beautiful?
- What unique part of your personality can you let out today?
Everyone else in the room can see it, everyone else but YOU! (I’ll leave you to break into the chorus on your own!)