There is always something that could have been done with more skill or could have looked nicer. Because we want to present ourselves and our art in the best light usually all we can focus on is what we did “wrong”. Sometimes as an observer it can be quite baffling.
I used to be one of the worst offenders of this (Okay, I still am but I am getting better I swear). After each performance I would say how terrible it was. There was never a good side and I would have to have build myself up to watch the videos in their entirety, which would then make me sick to my stomach and how disgusted I was with myself and my performance.
When people came up to compliment me or say how they enjoyed an aspect of my performance, I would start pointing out all of the things that were bad or went wrong. I didn’t feel like I deserved their praise. I would then sit watching the rest of the show, mad at myself. I never thought about it and then one day I learned how wrong and rude my behavior was.
It never occurred to me that I was being rude to people! I was just hating on myself, how does that effect anyone else? I was in workshop with Michelle Joyce (and this lesson was driven home again by Ruby Beh) where they both explained that by doing what I was doing, I was devaluating the persons opinion and telling them that how they felt, what they enjoyed was wrong or invalid. When someone gives you a compliment the ONLY acceptable answers are those in line with “Thank You” and “I appreciate that you enjoyed it.” No self berating, no oh but this went wrong, you smile and you say thank you. That person found something they enjoyed and how dare you take that away from them or belittle it. This simple concept rocked my world.
It was a hard concept to implement at first, to shut up and smile and say thank you. I had to catch myself a few times (and to me this doesn’t apply to close personal friends in private). Inside my head I was screaming going: “AHHH, AHHH, BUT, BUT BUT!!” Over time this practice has become easier and has helped me enjoy my own performances more. While critique is important there is also importance in being able to see what you did well. Learning to say thank you can translate in to you learning to see the bright side of your dance, allows you to open more as a dancer and helps your maintain your professionalism. I hope this idea will help you as much as it helped me!
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