Don't Stop Believing

Hey you — yes you reading this right now. I'm directing this post just to you.

Please, don't stop believing in yourself.

Don't stop believing in your dream.

Don't give up hope or give up on yourself.

Don't lose yourself in sadness, lethargy, anxiety, or despair.

Don't forget that life is for the living, that every day is a chance to start over, that in spite of your sorrows and difficulties, you have so many blessings. Stop right now and count them. Think of something good about your life right now, even if it's just that some stranger writing a blog is reaching out to you.

Last night I went to see my 20-year-old daughter perform in The Nutcracker with Richmond Ballet. She looked so stunning and beautiful that I wanted to weep. I did weep. (That's her in the photo.)

As I was watching her, I thought back upon the years of her training — the hours of driving to class, the physical demands, the myriad of small and large emotional traumas inflicted by dance teachers, artistic directors, other dancers, and mostly by herself. I thought of the sprained ankle, the fractured metatarsal, the inflamed bunions, the popping hip. I thought about the missed proms, the nights up until 2:00 am studying after rehearsals, the anxiety of auditions and the devastation of rejections. I thought about all of the roles she's performed and the obstacles she's overcome.

After the show, I took her and another dancer out to dinner. They were exhausted, exhilarated, and ravenous. It had been a packed house, with a thunderous standing ovation at the end. It was a pristine performance all the way around — one of the best Nutcracker productions I've ever seen (and I've seen many!).

At dinner my daughter and her friend were discussing how much they have to “push through” to be dancers — through physical pain, exhaustion, emotional distress, and demanding directors. But even at their young ages, through years of discipline, sacrifice, and hard work, they have learned some very profound truths:

  • If you keep trying, at some point you will get better, succeed, overcome.
  • If you stay focused on your dream, you will get closer and closer to it.
  • If you remain flexible and open to possibilities, something better than you expected might happen.
  • If you knock on enough doors, one will finally open.
  • If you push through the perceived obstacles, you realize that you are stronger and more capable than you thought.
  • If you focus on the process more than the outcome, you'll find there's more joy in the doing than the becoming.
  • If you acknowledge that failure is part of learning and growing, then you will be more resilient and creative than you knew you could be.
  • If you believe in yourself, in your inherent capacity for greatness, then you will be amazed at what you can do — things you never even considered.

Maybe today you are tired, sad, overwhelmed, confused, unsure, or frightened. But don't give up. Never give up.

This is the season for believing — so believe in yourself and your amazing capacity for renewal and hope. Believe in your ability to start every day fresh, to try again, to take one small action toward a better and happier life.

Believe in yourself, believe in yourself, believe in yourself . . . and don't stop believing.

Here's a little holiday cheer for you . . .

Something Special

Book Give-Away Winners: The two winners from my random drawing for the giveaway of the book  Tiny Buddha: Simple Wisdom for Life’s Hard Questions are Lynne and Amparo. Please email me at mybloomlife at gmail dot com with your home address, and a copy of the book will be mailed to you.

Thank you to everyone who made a comment!

Comments

  1. Hi Barrie,

    When the going gets tough, the tough have to get tougher. Belief in yourself is easy when things go your way. But when you face a crisis or setback after setback, that is when your belief is truly tested. During such moments, it is easier to give up, let go and walk away. But here it pays to look around us at all the things we take for granted in our daily lives. Air travel, the world wide web to name a few are the things we can take for granted today because someone did not give up on their dreams when the going got tough.

    Yet as you rightly point out, the road to success is not straight and narrow. It is winding and fraught with difficulties we must overcome. Sometimes we have to carve out a path where there is none. But throughout it all, we should never forget our vision, our dreams and why we do what we do. As long as we remain flexible in the face of adversity, we will succeed if we do not give up and stop believing in ourselves.

    Thank you for sharing this lovely article! 🙂

    Irving the Vizier

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      And thank you for your lovely comment Irving. You are always so poetic and thoughtful in your remarks.

  2. What a beautiful, passionate and inspiring post, Barrie! Thanks so much. You must be so proud of your beautiful daughter. What a picture! I’m a huge fan of dreaming big and I hope to be able to share this philosophy with my sons. I hope that they will never stop dreaming or reaching and I hope that they dedicate their lives to their passion, whatever that may be. A parent can’t really wish for more than that.

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      I am so glad you liked it. I am proud of her, as well as my other daughter and son. It is such a blessing to watch your children grow in to their potential. Dedicating a life to passion is what we all hope for our children. That is what defines a successful life in my mind — and yours too I see!

  3. Hi Barrie,
    Simply beautiful!
    Your daughter is radiant in the photo..and your reflection is very real, and inspiring. Thank you for the poignant reminder..everything we create every single day is “worth” it…the process of opening through *anything* is the benefit..a beautiful reminder to keep investing into all that is important to you!

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Thank you so much Joy. Yes, everything is worth it. Even the ups and downs that make up the crazy quilt of our lives. That’s what gives it interest and texture.

  4. I was so fortunate to go with you and see your daughter dance again the next night – she is stunning! Her success is a testament to her dedication and hard work – but also to the loving support and hard work of her parents. Congrats to all of you on enjoying her success and happiness!

    PS. I just love that picture!!!

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Thank you dear friend! Your presence made it all the better. 🙂 That and the champagne!

  5. Just one word Barrie…WOW!

    All the best,

    Jon

  6. Thanks Barrie,
    I’m going through a very difficult time in my marriage, quite likely to end in a divorce without me being able to prevent it. I needed to hear words like that and believe that keeping the faith is worthwhile after all.
    Luis

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Luis, I am so sorry. I know it feels like the rug has been pulled out from under you. I know it doesn’t feel like it now, but time will heal you. If there is truly nothing you can do to prevent it, then let it go with a blessing knowing that something better is in store for you. While you are grieving and dealing with this now, I hope you reach out for support with family and friends.

  7. Hi Barrie, it is a very valuable post and I am going to read it very often, because it contains many good thoughts which are able to blossom my motivation in connection with learning English. I am a Hungarian girl and I have been boosting my language skills for months because I would like to take the Cambridge Advanced exam next spring. I am aware of the fact that it will be very hard, but I try to focus my attention entirely to this goal, because I think that persistent endeavor is a must in connection with that process. Sometimes I feel a deep desperation about my current knowledge, but I know that it is not a fact, it just an opinion in my mind which has to be changed, because I have received an excellent feedback from my teacher who was teaching me in the intensive advanced course in November and she said that I am very smart but a little bit shy, so my main task is to reinforce my confidence and my internal basis – the last is the name of my own blog where I try to practice my language skills. With this sentences I just tried to highlight that obstacles in our life are usually made by us because we underestimate ourselves in many situations and that is the reason why we don’t want to step out of our comfort zone and cope with new challenges. It was a big realization for me, so nowadays I try to control my internal dialogue (that is always dealing with pros and contras) and make me secure with the fact that if I would like to gain something, I have to believe, make actions and persevere properly in spite of the harsh circumstances.
    Thank you for your post! 🙂

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Hi Tittina,
      I would never have known that English wasn’t your first language. You write beautifully! Congratulations on all of your academic success.You are so right, most of our limitations are just the negative thoughts we have about ourselves. Keep taking those actions Tittina. You will amaze yourself!

      • Thank you for your reply and your positive feedback. It is true that I am better in writing, but speaking in English is my weakness what has to be improved, but at present my job is very stressful and I am not able to deal with English properly because I try to relax all on my spare time. Sometimes I take the question: “Why doesn’t my life work? Why doesn’t my life change in spite of my persistent actions?” and I don’t know the answers. I feel that I have been walking in the same meter in my own life path for ages and I am not able to step further. I have been working in an international bank for 6 years and the circumstances have become harsher and more stressful and as the years passes I feel in my skin that my own values differ from the company’s goals. I have been seeking a new job for more than a year but there wasn’t much possibilities where I was invited to an interview, and this is a very sad result. Next year, I will be 29 and I haven’t got a couple for ages and my financial conditions also bad, not mentioned my positive cytology result last month…My goals are to find a liable man who loves me; to learn English at a high conversational level; to go and live in London next spring; to avoid from an operation and recover from my illness; to have a positive and calm soul condition; to have great and reliable friends, enjoy my family and last but not least to have a little flatlet and not so much. But in fact, I feel that these goals have become unobtainable due to my present work, because I don’t have any time and energy to focus on my goals – and the advanced English exam will be on the 17th of March and I feel that I am not so prepared and afraid to fail it with my present knowledge. And due to the lack of possibilities in connection with jobs, I feel that I am in a trap and I don’t know what to do. What do you think of these conditions as an outsider of my life? Do you think I spoil my life in an unconscious way? But with what?

  8. Hi Barrie,
    Believe and keep stepping…..thank you
    be good to yourself
    David
    …..and have a very merry Festive season

  9. Beautiful I love your posts
    Thanks and good luck

  10. Hello Barrie,
    Thank you for this post. In my study room I have a poster that reads; ‘Believe in Yourself and Others will Too.’ Anytime I feel down and think it would be much easier to throw-in the towel, I look at the poster and and remind myself that nothing was ever established by giving up. Asking myself how I can do it differently with my eyes still on my target usually gets me going again. It’s better to change tact than give up.
    Good day.
    Murigi

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      I love that Murigi –“it is better to change tact than to give up.” That is so true. If you hit a wall, just turn in a different direction. Such simple but profound wisdom.

  11. Hi Barrie,

    Excellent piece of inspiration.
    I recall a saying when I read your this post. ” Faith moves mountains. Doubts create them”.

    Keep inspiring us and have a great day.

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Thank you Naveen. I love that quote. Doubts create huge invisible mountains, but just a shift in perspective is enough to evaporate them.

  12. Hi Barrie,

    How do you do it? How does one have the wisdom and the words to reach out to another in way the latter wants to be reached. I have been feeling miserable all of today. A feeling of dread since morning hanging around my neck like that dead albatross. To be honest, though I have subscribed to this blog, I am not a regular reader. I am usually up and about my things and and I just drop in, skim and nod in appreciation. But today was different. I needed this lift. These words of encouragement. Such simple and strong words. It was like drinking some hot soup. And knowing that this runny nose will dry up and I can breathe in the positivity that I so much need. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Dear Seena,
      I am so glad the words reached you at just the right time. It’s wonderful when something finds its way to you exactly when you need it! I think it speaks to the commonality of the human experience. I draw from my own life and feelings, experiences all of us share at some time or another. Wishing you a season full of hot and comforting soup!

  13. Tess The Bold Life says:

    Hi Barrie,
    This is my favorite post of yours. I find it very personal, filled with meaning and from the heart…a window into your world.

  14. Hi Barrie,
    Another great post which needs to be heard by many. We do always have wonderful blessings in us and around us regardless of how bleak the day or the future looks. I believe if you give your attention and focus on your blessings—more come your way.
    If you think about it, life is a miracle, we are miracles and are here to contribute to life by being your creative and authentic self. So never stop believing in life—in your dreams. You were meant to be here and share yourself.

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Thank you Cris. I totally agree about focusing on our blessings and creating new ones. Our thoughts create our realities!

  15. Thank you so much for this post. I always enjoy your articles, but this was the right thing on this day when I have felt so down and sad. Not sure why, but the season does that to me lately. Anyway, this was just what I needed. I know I have a good life, but sometimes I just need to be reminded that I am in control. Thanks and have a happy holiday.

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Hi Gigibeth,
      I’m so glad this post came to you at the right time. I think most of us experience some sadness or melancholy during the holidays. It’s a mixed bag of expectations, stress, excitement, and memories. I try to accept it all as part of the strange beauty of our lives! 🙂

  16. Thank you for the right post at the right time.
    Happy Holidays!

    Beverley

  17. McSwain Fowler says:

    Barrie,

    Another wonderful article! You always inspire me to be a “better” me and I thank you so very much from the bottom of my heart!

    I can tell you are very proud of your daughter; and well you should be!

    Keep up the good work.

  18. Hi Barrie
    I loved this post. I’m a ballet teacher and i found this a great message for everyone (love the photo to, lovely your daughter !).
    Have a great 2012 and thank you for your wonderful blog.

  19. priyanka says:

    i stop believing in dreams… bcz i get hurt.. .. in m life all dreams r just a dreams.. its easy to say .. don’t giv up..
    but vn u r positive.. n all things were not good vd u.. dey all r wrong… den….?????
    u cnt do nything…
    believing in dreams hurts me alot
    so just stop believing in dreams nn god..

    nw i just believe in ma work, i stay busy.. bcz vnn i stay alone.. all memories covered me.. n i hate it
    u knw v r our own creator..