The Daring Believer — Activating Self Love

“I Love You Katie Belle” by Thomas Hawk, cc

“It is a daring act to be yourself fully with no context or apology.”

This is something I find myself saying more and more as I teach across this country because we have grown so guarded, so practical, so untrusting that dreaming and playing — two actions that literally manifest and evolve us as a species — are given the side eye.

But as an artist, hell as a human being, we must dream and play. More fundamental than that: we must believe because without belief dreams evaporate and the lessons of play are discredited.

Belief is the gravity and the helium of our hearts.

Beliefs shape the world we live in because, as the “laughing philosopher” Democritus theorized, “Nothing exists except atoms and empty space; everything else is opinion.”

What freedom to playfully create opinions to help you soar and through a daily practice nurture them into deep seeded beliefs! This ingredient is essential though: fuel it with love because we have all seen, and possibly perpetuated, beliefs fueled by hate or fear. It works, but it destroys. As creatives, my rock stars, we must consciously choose love as the active verb motivating our beliefs to support creating and expanding.

Ownership means you wait for no one to enact this. Let’s start today by looking inward and assessing how daring we can be by how much we feel we truly have of belief and love in ourselves.

Not many of us have overflowing love bank accounts, like the rest of our economy, it’s more like credit and debt, constantly looking to others to boost us with love and belief. In the past, I’ve even observed believing in myself only in response to others — either reactionary “I’ll show them” or indebted “Well, if they think I’m worthy, maybe I am.” That’s not foundational, that’s putting the responsibility on others to motivate me to love myself.

TO LOVE OR NOT TO LOVE, THAT IS THE QUESTION

As creators, let’s take love head-on as a verb, not a place like “I’m in love” making us wanders, lost and stumbling in and out of oases. Let’s take creative ownership — caring deeply and taking personal responsibility — for how, where, why, and with whom we activate love.

Then, take it a step further and actively look at the foundation: Do I love myself?

To love yourself is to trust yourself. To love yourself is to see your successes and failures in the light of hope. To love yourself is to be generous, forgiving, honest without judgment. To love yourself is to adore your gifts, efforts, and community… because here’s the best part: Love is expansive.

“Eu Sou” by Jeronimo Sanz, cc

You glow! Expanding beyond you this energy engages with anyone receptive. For many performers, that’s the X factor audiences can’t put their finger on, but desperately want to feel.

When delving into your identity make sure you are digging and discovering out of love. That you embrace what got you here and love the steps you have taken to own who you are.

When you’re Setting Your Sights — a process we use at Creatively Independent stating how you feel and what your intentions are for the class/rehearsal/day — take a moment first to love yourself in that moment, that body, that mind and set your intentions through love. You may not love how you’re feeling or where you are (not all rehearsals are playgrounds) but when you love yourself you support your intentions with care and compassion. You also listen to other’s offerings with empathy and hope.

DON’T SUSPEND DISBELIEF, EXPEL IT

We ask our audiences to suspend disbelief the moment the house lights go down, but here’s the brain flip: Suspending disbelief means that we have resigned ourselves to the “reality” of constant disbelief. Often artists hope to lure us away from “reality” from an hour or two but how effective is it when we create the pieces inside that world of disbelief? How can you pull someone out of their sensible, stress-filled lives into a vortex of possibilities when you yourself live and create in a sensible, stress-filled life?

Not sure you’re that extreme, then think about what kinds of risks you take in auditions, class, rehearsals. How much do you love what you’re creating, who you’re creating with, and why you’re creating? Do you have a secret ticking clock behind your eyes on how long you give yourself to try and succeed at ___________ (fill in the blank: your passion, your purpose, your art)?

Expel disbelief with daily acts of love. Through little steps, lasting changes can occur in your beliefs.

A daily practice, not in grand gestures or theories, but everyday acts build the foundation to leap into the unknown expanding your art, horizon, and community. You become your own leader who may not know the next step but believes in the bigger why. Unwavering belief based in love makes for an incredibly strong and compassionate leader. And who else to lead you in this Choose-Your-Own-Adventure than you, rock star?

Daily Practice:

Body acceptance — Literally love everything that makes this form that is you. Studies show how positive touch can be to connect, what about connecting to yourself?

  • Assessment: Do you tend to scratch or pick or pull on yourself or do you massage and tickle and hug?
  • Offerings: food (that feels good during and after), lotions, dancing, playing, massage

Self-talk — Speak to or about yourself with love and compassion, including bringing in thoughts that spark and delight you making you appreciative to be you in this moment, with these gifts, in this community.

  • Assessment: When a creative idea pops up do you get excited and share it with that joy or do you downplay it with “maybe” or “but, I don’t know” or not share it at all?
  • Offerings: affirmations, journaling, speaking from a place of “I” when stating observations to own your ideas and feelings.

Generosity — Give to yourself with love.

  • Assessment: When you treat yourself do you trust your gut joyfully pre-, during, and post or do you research it to death/explain it away/justify it as practical or something you’ll pay back later?
  • Offerings: This is all on you, loves. Remember, size doesn’t matter. It’s consistency and being true to yourself that will speak volumes.

It is a daring act to be yourself fully with no context or apology because it requires you to believe in yourself with love.

I believe you are ready.

I believe the world is ready for you.

**This series explores sustainable artistry by breaking down the starving artist myths and giving mindful support for blazing your own flexible, dependable path. Join the revolution of artists and educators unsatisfied with day-to-day surviving and hell-bent on everyday thriving in that improvisational space called an artful life. Have a topic or question for a future post? Drop me a line @ Jess (at) creativelyindependent.net

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