What I Needed to Hear

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Life often has these strange little coincidences where something just hits you at the right time.  Some might say it is a sign from a higher power.  Or perhaps just a moment of good karma.  Who knows?  I don’t believe these things are totally random.  Sometimes, a truth is revealed to you just when you need it the most.

Or, for me, it maybe just a reminder of a truth I’ve known but cast aside.  (Are you intrigued yet???)

It was really a random link from a Facebook friend to a dance blog run as part of studio.  I’m not going to link to it because I’ve said some not to complimentary things about the Famous Franchise in certain posts.  To be clear, I’m not anti-Franchise.  I wouldn’t still be dancing at one if I was.  It is just that when you’ve been around the block a time or two, you can see the positives and negatives since no place is perfect.  Since this is a blog about my dance life, it must mention the good, the bad and the ugly about my experiences at the Famous Franchise.  But that doesn’t mean I want to call attention to myself because I’m not honestly sure how people might react.  I do know one of my readers is connected to a franchise and they seem cool with what I write here.  But you never know.

Sorry, for the interlude.  I’ve probably now built this up so much that it will not live up the hype.  Just felt the need to explain why I’m not linking to the post while acknowledging that I’m taking this from that post.

The post starts with this line “There are plenty of times when you’re convinced you are making zero progress.”  Oh man, is that right on the money.  I’ve been feeling that way for most of this year.  I am absolutely convinced that I’ve totally plateaued and maybe even on the down slide.  It is why I feel mostly dead inside and when Kid T asks how something feels, the best I can give it is ‘meh’.

It talks about a “progress black hole” that “swallows up everything from good days to entire dance hobbies”.  Not only is that accurate but it is a great metaphor and I love the sound of a great metaphor in the morning.  It further talks about the progress black hole being powered by “emotions, knee-jerk reactions, and snap decisions …”  Oh yes, the emotions – I know all about that.

The main point of the article is that progress can be measured in three ways:

  1. How it looks
  2. How it feels to your partner
  3. How it feels to you (with the quote “you are your own worst critic”)

And then it says that these three are independent like the three legs of a stool.  (Well, it didn’t use the stool but I can’t help myself, the similes are strong with this one).  Rely on just the last one and it is easy to get sucked into the vortex of the progress black hole.

I’m all about how it FEELS to me.  And, when it doesn’t FEEL right, then it just hits me in the whole “you aren’t making any progress at all” bone.  The worst part is that I consistently ignore and minimize #1 and most especially #2.  Oh, don’t get me wrong, the feedback from people provides a small uplift to my mood but the FEELS can take over and say things like “they don’t know any better”.  I get feedback from Kid T and the FEELS start to say “well, she needs to give me positive feedback, so this can’t be real”

The article says this “So cut some slack to your teacher … or anyone else who has gone out of their way to tell you you’re doing great.”  Or, to say it my own words, just stop being a jerk and accept the compliments.

In mathematical terms, your opinion of progress is a weighted average of the three.  The problem comes when you place all the weight on #3 and none on the other two.  Then, you become a one-legged stool and good luck trying to sit on that.  When viewed through your own faulty prism, it is easy to become convinced that there is no progress when all around you can see it and tell you that it is there.  Their opinions and observations and comments and feedback are as important as the FEELS.  In fact, you could probably argue that they are more important.  At least in cases like mine when I have no objectivity over how it feels and I’m always driving myself towards an impossible to reach standard of perfection.

I’ll close with how the article closed:

“At some point the heavens may open up, you may see, feel, and recognize your own progress, while the world around you does the same, but until that fateful moment occurs… cut yourself some slack.”

“Your process is creating progress, even if you’re the last one to realize it.”

Now, this is not really new information because I’ve had these thoughts before.  But to get smacked across the face with it when Showcase is on Sunday and I’ve got my last lessons tonight is a sign of something.  Somewhere in the universe, some force is just telling me to chill out and stop giving myself such a hard time.  There is progress even if the FEELS tell me there isn’t.

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