In our "Dear Katie" series, Miami City Ballet soloist Kathryn Morgan answers your pressing dance questions. Have something you want to ask Katie? Email email@example.com for a chance to be featured!
I have a huge problem with self-confidence, partly because I studied for too long with a teacher who was emotionally abusive. Now I'm at a great studio with supportive teachers, but I still feel discouraged all the time. How can I get my old instructor's voice out of my head?
Oh, how I wish I could tell you there were an easy answer here. To heal, you need time. That said, there are some ways to spur the healing process.
Start by sitting down and writing out a list of your strengths. It sounds silly, right? But it can really help. Put down everything you do well or like about yourself. Do you have nice port de bras? Are you a good jumper? Is your arabesque line gorgeous?
Once you have your list, use it to help yourself reprogram your brain. Every time the doubt creeps in, think of one of your strengths. Remind yourself of what you do well. Over time, replacing negative thoughts with positive ones will help you slowly start to build your confidence.
Most importantly, don't be hesitant to talk to your current teachers about this. Tell them what happened with your old teacher, and explain that you still struggle with self-doubt. It sounds like your new instructors truly care about your health and well-being. They can be valuable allies during this process. Don't be afraid to consult a mental health professional, either. A therapist can help you talk through your feelings and figure out constructive ways to move forward.
For more of Katie's helpful tips and advice, click here.