Hey Ms. Jimenez. I just need some advice on a few things. I want to know how you dealt with the competition in dance. Like, for example, there’s a teacher that has a favorite student and always casts her in the lead part. I feel that I am just as capable of doing those roles, but my ability is overlooked. And another thing: there is this huge debate going on, not just in my head, but amongst the other students, as to who is really the better dancer between us two. I am friends with this person and I hope it will stay that way. I am really struggling with all of this. Sincerely, Lost
You have talents that are uniquely yours. Each one of us comes here with our own voice, our own story to tell and our own means of expression, although I know it is hard to remember this when we are swept away in a heated moment by fear and jealousy.
First of all, don’t beat yourself up about having these feelings. They are human and we all experience them. Don’t down play your emotions either. Emotions that are suppressed tend to stew and come out later in aberrant, sometimes violent, ways. Find a safe place, or perhaps a safe person, with whom you can let it all out.
When your emotions are calmed and your mind cleared, try to see the illusion that is at work here. The other dancer is not an obstacle to your success. There is no obstacle, except the one that you are creating. By focusing on the other dancer and comparing yourself to her, you are misplacing valuable energy that would be put to better use by focusing on yourself.
The essence of what you really want, I think, is to dance well and for your teacher to recognize this. You are being given the opportunity to do just that with the roles you have been given. By being grateful for what you do get and bringing that positive energy to your work, you will start to excel. Only by doing this will you win the trust of that teacher; only by excelling in the task at hand will you show that teacher that you are capable of handling more.
If you must ask, “Why didn’t I get that role?” Try to do it from a place of humility and willingness to work on your weaknesses. Use it as a question to move you forward rather than fuel for the ego and its characteristic sense of entitlement. Be humble enough to admit to yourself that even though you think you may be ready for something, perhaps you are not. This is more likely the case, not favoritism. After all, your teachers want you to make them look good! They may see a bigger picture that you do not.
Put your faith in hard work. When you start to really see results, others will too. Also, you will be so proud of your achievement that you will be less swayed by the opinions of others.
Someone once said that comparison is the thief of joy. You will never know in any absolute sense that you are better than another. All you can know is that you are doing your best. So do your best. Nurture your friendship with this other dancer and do not engage in pettiness and gossip. (Those who do are creating obstacles. Don’t get stuck in that web.) Remember that the biggest enemy lies within. And if you forget and that jealous feeling creeps back in, just recognize it for what it is: an inner alarm that’s telling you to refocus your energy on you.
You may email questions for Ms. Jimenez at email@example.com.