I was taking a class the other week and I overheard one of the students in the class talking negatively about herself, Our instructor, being the kind and compassionate person that she is, helped positively re-phrase this student’s comments and gave her some reassurance. Some other students in the class chimed in with some more positive feedback, lifting each other up is pretty much the standard for the Aerial Dance sisterhood, so this was no surprise, yet she waved off the onslaught of compliments.
As I was looking at the phenomenon that is the Aerial Dance Community responding to someone’s self-perception, it made me realize how different our self-perception can be versus the perception of the ones around us. This specific student that was poking fun at herself, in that way that we all have done, but I had watched her class after class do amazing things and look beautiful doing it. I couldn’t fathom how she could feel inadequate, but SHE wasn’t feeling that she was looking or performing her best. It is amazing how our own negative thoughts can get in the way of our goals and what we want for ourselves.
Until we ask those around us, we don’t know exactly how others perceive of us or how we present ourselves to others. It could be completely different than how we feel about ourselves. As was the case with this student, she was repeatedly amazing every week, yet could not think of one good thing to say about herself or accept the kind words of others. She was quick to compliment those around her on the same things she felt were her shortcomings, but could not lift herself up to that standard. I could see the glimmer of doubt that came across her face as we all spoke up to defend her and lift her spirits.
On my way home from class that night, I tried to think about how my self-perception has gotten in the way of things I have wanted to do or held me back from doing things I should have. It is amazing how just one negative thought can truly get in the way of us becoming the most amazing version of ourselves. Why can we all be so hard on ourselves? Is there a point that we can say enough is enough?
The next time you think you’re not good enough or that some part of you is sub-par, please remember that there are at LEAST a handful of people in an Aerial Dance studio that look at you with the complete opposite feelings. If we can see how truly wonderful you are, give yourself a little grace, and try to shut those negative feelings down. We see you and love you just the way you are.