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 . . .
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!