Under the spotlight

My own life feels like I'm on a stage where there are critics similar to when I worked in the theatre. It's the opening night and the critics are in, we wait nervously in the wings for overture and beginners. The show will be scrutinised tonight 

In my life, it seems there are many critics in my audience. In fact, it's a full house! I must confess there were many times where the critics got the upper hand over my positive thoughts and living. It's only years later from my own life experience and stretching myself even further to achieve the unachievable, that I now realise that actually it was the critics that lost me my confidence and knocked me off my focus. They ate into my self-confidence, whereas now I would tell the critics to stand under their own spotlight.

Those who sit on the fence doing very little but perhaps not making a decision one way or the other, arguably one could say are they really living? Being too scared to go for your dreams seems to me that one is held back by fear, by the what ifs...., by negative comments from perhaps your partner or family or close work colleagues.

Perhaps this was about their inability to go for it? Again a question that one needs to reflect on? The very people who we may have turned to when we had opportunities or we made decisions that included a shift in our lives, met us with negativity, our front seat critics. Looking back I realise now that this was never really about me, it was about them and their own insecurities.

I was only 24 years old when I got on a plane to South America to work as a professional dancer and I have to add, a fully dressed dancer was met with the most negative comments at the time from friends back home. "Gosh that's really a precarious profession", "What will you do when the contract is over?", "Are you sure you know what you are doing?"...as I stepped on the plane I could hear the echos of negativity and it was difficult at times to brush away their comments from my mind.

I looked out of the plane window as we taxied down the runway and can't help think that I had so wished they had been excited for me, their negative comments seemed so loud at that moment replaying in my head.

Over the years, there have been bumps in the road but I always thought that to really live, nothing runs perfectly or smoothly. One of my favourite quotes by Stephen Hawking is:

One of the basic rules of the universe is that nothing is perfect. Perfection simply doesn't exist without imperfection, neither you nor I would exist.

I think living and successfully working within the theatre made me confident in my own ability to find work between contracts and it goes hand in hand with working in this industry. Many of us girls were used to this way of living and I was trained in healthy competition and should one not get an audition we would all then pile onto the tube carrying a bag of ballet shoes, tap and sneakers under our arm.  

I feel fortunate to be able to reflect and see that training at stage school in London naturally made me disciplined and motivated and I feel gave me an advantage in life. I have never been afraid to reach out to my dreams and I was lucky to travel to see and visit so many places in the world. Of course, this comes with uncertainty. The critics loved this of course! 

I feel to really achieve one's goals one must live and let the critics do their very best. One needs to focus on their own capabilities and skills. In my practice, I hope that I assist my young clients to grow in confidence and for some, their only shortfall was listening to the critics. The other was perhaps just looking in the wrong place in terms of work. Everyone is unique and it's just matching their ability to the job.

Illustration of man sitting on handRelationships and negativity 

Relationships come with a new set of issues especially if the partner is the critic. How easy it was in my own life to dim my lights. In fact, once my lights were almost turned off and the world was a dark place. A really day place. This of course from the person that's meant to love us!

I feel like I want to shout out now to say to everyone to not undermine your own worth by comparing your life to others. We can not know what goes on behind closed doors and I feel I wasted many good years doing exactly this. I made up stories about others' lives. All this does is lowering our shine and our own aura will be surrounded by low and negative vibes. It seems so clear to me now as I sit and as I reflect.

You owe it to yourself to achieve your goals and not let those critics take your spotlight.

I always believed as I do today that one day the full picture will come to us and unanswered questions will be answered if we can just be patient. We will get the answer. Closure, I had so just wanted the truth, but it may take years and one day when one learns the truth it once again shocks us and we wonder why we find the truth so shocking. There's always a reason, but not necessarily the one you had imagined you would hear. Our critics did their job so well over the years that we didn't focus on them. We were all too busy correcting our own shortfalls.

Only recently did I receive the full picture of a friend's life. It was not planned but life events happened and my fantasy of how this person lived and the show which was presented to the outside world was just this.  A show. "I'm a good actor," they told me!

I'm struggling even now to understand why for many many years this wonderful life they presented to me was not real. I'm left trying to come to terms with this, I asked why the truth was hidden and a display of being a happy family living in their beautiful home and lifestyle was presented. The reply was about fear from the critics and the judgement on them had the truth be told. It left me realising that the critics are always there for everyone and it appears they are powerful. Maybe these critics should stand under their own spotlight?

How counselling can help release negativity 

In summary, I feel certain we have all experienced the critics in our lives and the negative impact it has had on us. Basically, criticism can stop us in our tracks and we can so easily lose focus on achieving our goals and our dreams.

If we allow the critics to overpower us then they win! We need to try to push away negativity and sometimes we need support. As counsellors, we can help support you and through talking therapy you can move past these hurdles that are blocking your path forward. You owe it to yourself to achieve your goals and not let those critics take your spotlight.

Counselling Directory is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.

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Written by Jill Mitev-Will, Experienced Counsellor and Coach - MBACP and BA (Hons)

During Covid I am offering on line and telephone counselling.
I am also offering appointments during the outbreak at reduced costs please text me on 07800 639141V or email me on aislinghousepractice@gmail.com
You will find me non judgemental and empathic. I aim to support you on journey .Jill Mitev will… Read more

Written by Jill Mitev-Will, Experienced Counsellor and Coach - MBACP and BA (Hons)

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