I don’t know about you, but it hits me pretty hard when I struggle to do something I used to do so easily. It’s as if a part of my self-esteem has just been ruthlessly snatched from me. Since graduating from my Acting course, I’ve been getting back into my other hobbies and being confronted again and again with the overwhelming feeling of WOW, I SUCK. Whether it’s gymnastics, dancing, basketball or running (or blogging LOL), you may feel discouraged to even try getting back into your hobbies after the first try. If you relate, read as I preach to myself these 5 self-esteem-damage-controls for getting back in the game.
Learn the difference between “I can’t” and “I haven’t in a while”
We’re very quick to say that we “can’t” do something, when in fact there are few things we really can’t do, (such as, be Danai Gurira). In things that we haven’t done in a while, the ability is still there. We’re simply out of practice. A producer I’d worked with reconnected with me and asked if I could write for some of his tracks. After some attempts, I thought “I can’t write a song”. I STRESSED AND THREW MYSELF ONTO THE GROUND AND WEPT but the Universe was like:
I had simply not written consistently in a long time. But how often do we do that? Say that we can’t do something that we actually really could if we just gave it a go?
Block out the haters
Oftentimes I’m discouraged by my assumptions of what other people think. You’re not defined by what others see. They may look at you and decide you’re as good as you’re ever going to be, and that has everything to do with them and AIN’T GOT SHIT TO DO WITH YOU. Most of these “haters” are imaginary, anyway- they’re all in our heads. Honestly, I’m not sure I’m cool enough to have haters.
GIVE YOURSELF THE FREEDOM TO SUCK
I’m a songwriter. Most of my songs are converted from my poetry. I took a break from my music to focus fully on acting. The course demanded a lot of me and lifting the pressure to make music was a good move. I am just now confronting the fact that it’s an art I need to get back into. Fact is, when I was churning out songs every week, I’d been writing poems consistently for over a year. I didn’t do it on purpose- it was simply my creative outlet during my undergrad. My first few posts on my poetry account are CRINGEY AF- ugh I’m embarrassed. But I had to write those shitty poems to get good ones, and hence get good songs. It’s the same way with any hobby- we have to accept that we’re probably going to suck, at first.
And then we won’t.
Recognise the other ways you’ve grown
During the time you weren’t doing backflips, slam-dunking or writing novels, there was likely something else you were doing at the time. I wasn’t sitting around achieving nothing, and neither were you. There were other ways in which you grew. Maybe you focused more on academics, travel, your new job, new friends. There is nothing wrong with shifting your focus sometimes to more urgent matters. It’s usually the mature thing to do! But once we recognise that we want to get back into our hobbies, we should celebrate everything else we’ve achieved in the meantime. Those are valid, too!
Don’t give up on yourself
Cheesy, I know, but this is the most important of all! I really struggle with this one. I sent a draft to that producer- one I was very insecure about. Got LOTS of “notes” back and took a personal day to just be in my feelings. I felt like SUCH a failure. I felt worried that that songwriter he liked in the past was GONE now, GONE! (yes, I am that dramatic- I’m an ACTOR). But I asked for time and wrote something every day.
Sometimes it was 6 lines, sometimes more. And yesterday, I decided to try another track and the ideas and words just flowed right to me! That hasn’t happened in so long! This would not have happened if I hadn’t forced myself to write truly, truly awful verses every day so I could get back in it.
So, let’s be kind to ourselves! Find our way back to the fun in our hobbies. 🌸