I believe wholeheartedly that we are our own worst critics.
Prior to college, my life revolved around dancing. My friends were dancers. I spent all my free time at practices, workouts, performances, and competitions. It consumed me. Dance was my identity.
But here’s the thing, I never actually thought I was very good.
I dedicated years to something I desperately wanted to excel in, but always felt like I came up short. No amount of compliments or trophies could make me believe that I was talented. I was my own worst critic. I was mean to myself.
I remember having these photos taken my senior year of high school. The photographers and comments on social media sang nothing but praises. People told me how beautiful and graceful the pictures were, but all I could see were errors. I noticed every little thing I did incorrectly and picked the images apart.
Being almost four years removed from the photos, I see them differently now. They’re much more beautiful and significant to me. The images captured a time in my life when I was incredibly dedicated and passionate about something that I don’t even get the opportunity to do anymore. My dance “career” ended the year these pictures were taken. I wish I would have been nicer to myself back then.
It’s okay to recognize your talents
Looking back at old videos and pictures blows my mind. I wonder why I doubted myself so much and realize that maybe I wasn’t really that bad. Maybe I was chosen to be on those teams for 7 consecutive years because I was actually good.
I wish I would have known that it’s okay to recognize your talents. Everyone has unique, God-given talents. Acknowledging that you are good at something doesn’t make you self absorbed. There’s a difference between being confident and being conceited. Pursue your talents and be proud of what you have been created to do.
“God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well.” Romans 12:6
Cut yourself some slack every once in a while
Don’t be so hard on yourself. Easier said than done, I know.
I used to come off the floor from competitions and immediately start mentally listing off every mistake I made, every count I missed, every turn I didn’t fully hit. I realize now how trivial those things are in the grand scheme of things.
Cut yourself some slack. You don’t have to be perfect. Jesus came to do that. Just do your best.
“Though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand.” Psalm 37:24
Comparison does not uplift you
You do not have to be the best at something in order to be good at it. This was and is so hard for me to accept because honestly, I just like being good at things.
Comparison is the thief of joy. It tears you down. It does not breed positivity.
Dance is a comparison driven sport. You are always competing for the most prominent spot in the formation or the best combination in the routine. But it’s important to understand that in dance and in life, it takes multiple equally important people to create the best finished product.
“Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, for each one should carry their own load.” Galatians 6:4-5
Take some time appreciate the things you’re good at and the Maker who gifted you with those abilities. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. God knew what talents He would give you before you even existed. Be a little nicer to yourself. You’ll be thankful later.