Everyone needs a pat on the back, right? It’s weird how topics for the blog emerge and evolve throughout the day. Today started with a long conversation with my greatest friend, Charlotte. We talked about how, as humans, we wait for validation. We know we shouldn’t be driven by or expect it but it’s nevertheless lovely when people tell you you’re funny, like your vlog on Facebook or say they enjoyed your performance.
I’ve wanted to introduce you to my little pink book for a while now. I always have one running as a place to write down thoughts and lessons learnt from practice sessions, auditions or performances. Over the years, in my collection of LPBs, are countless notes to self on how to deal with receiving/not receiving praise and acclaim.
I have to remind myself that what I do is quite transactional. I’m a professional and I provide a service – people pay to hear a performance of something they like or hope that they’ll like and I deliver it. I have no right to expect laud beyond recognition that I’ve done my job.
I’ve also thought of it from the other side of the stage. If someone does something that they love or are good at, who am I to tell them whether or not they’ve done it well. If I met Joyce Didonato after one of her countless world-class performances, would I dare to say: “Well sung, Joyce”? Almost certainly not.
But, today, I’m musing on whether we should be more generous and honest with our admiration.
Charlotte is probably the wittiest person I know. I can’t always think of suitable comeback and, even with hundreds of emojis at my disposal, I can’t convey the mirth her messages bring me on a daily basis. Maybe I need to tell her exactly that.
Just as I was planning this blog, my oldest friend, Natalie called to catch me up on her news. Someone had made her feel particularly valued today. They’ll never know how much it lifted her, but I do, and it’s in my power to do the same for others.
So, know that you are brilliant.
I also use my LPB to jot down my favourite quotes and this one from “A gentleman in Moscow” by Amor Towles is hugely apt:
“What matters in life is not whether we receive a round of applause; what matters is whether we have the courage to venture forth despite the uncertainty of acclaim.”
Every day that you get up and carry on, you’re being more courageous, gaining more experience and enriching more lives than you did the day before. And if you’re reading this, you’ve made my day too!
Stay cheered, stay healthy and, as we say in opera, “coraggio”! Lots of love xx
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