Bonnieby Bonnie Katz, MA

TAKE A FEW MINUTES TO INVEST IN YOURSELF

Sometimes it feels like life isn’t fair. You work hard, invest time and effort into acting classes, keep your body in shape with daily workouts, hire the best photographer for headshots, show up for every audition your agent sends your way, and… nothing. You are still not in the place you thought you would be, in your career. Glancing at Facebook, reading about everyone else’s wins seems to push you even further down the rabbit hole. How can you keep moving forward and not end up feeling defeated? What can you do to stay focused and remain in it for the long haul? If you don’t have a plan, you won’t last. It’s not enough to strive to be the best at what you do, you must also work hard to be the best that you can be. If you’re not careful, you may end up a “human doing” instead of a “human being.”

Success requires external and internal focus. As actors, you are familiar with using your internal world in your work. You develop the ability to use your feelings, emotions, and views in order to breathe life into your characters. Without this skill, your characters remain as flat as a page of dialogue. The internal world, in your personal life, also requires work. When you put effort into handling your difficult feelings, you become stronger and more resilient by building mental muscle. In other words, you don’t distract, repress, run away or cement over your disagreeable feelings, you hang in there and learn how to deal, like a warrior. The ability to do this life work takes precedence over your career. The life of your character ends when the show closes, but your life continues on. Invest time, effort and discipline in nurturing your inner life, and it will bless you with the greatest gifts money can’t buy – self-acceptance, self-respect and self-love. These three attributes are key to your resilience, strength and happiness.

Here’s how to jump in right now and get started:

  • Be aware of your view

Are you aware that how you choose to feel in any given moment is entirely in your hands? When you wait for external circumstances to change before allowing yourself to be happy, you are imprisoning yourself; wasting precious moments. It doesn’t make sense to put limiting restrictions on yourself when you have the freedom, right now, to choose a different view. The ability to turn a negative view into a positive one is where your power lies, even in the most difficult situations. In Viktor E. Frankl’s book, Man’s Search For Meaning, he describes how the Nazi’s took everything away from him, his home, his family, his career, but they couldn’t take away how he chose to perceive his situation, that was entirely up to him. “The one thing you can’t take away from me is the way I choose to respond to what you do to me. The last of one’s freedoms is to choose one’s attitude in any given circumstance.”

  • Be aware of your thoughts

Are you aware of your internal dialogue? How you feel depends on what you are thinking. Internal negative thoughts are self-defeating and work against your positive effort. Why are you investing your money, time and energy into improving yourself only to dismantle it with negative self-talk? Before you enter a situation, are you a criticizer or a cheerleader? Invest some time choosing your thoughts, the way you choose your outfit in the morning. Take the time to set your day on the right course with the right thoughts. If you spend most of the time feeling sorry for yourself, you will end up being a victim. Talk to yourself as if you were your own best friend, with kindness. Highlight all of your attributes and accomplishments, not your mistakes and disappointments. Everything that happens to you can be used to foster growth and wisdom, especially mistakes. Watch a powerful video about how your life can change from being aware of your thoughts.

  • Change your attitude with gratitude

Stop focusing on what’s missing and start appreciating what you have. Take the time to note the things that are good in your life. Researchers have found that people who actively become more grateful are happier and healthier! Keep a gratitude journal to help keep your happiness at the forefront of your mind. Use it as a place to keep track of things you’re grateful for. Have fun and experiment with the idea that you are in training to learn how to appreciate the everyday joy and beauty that already exists in your life.
Remember, where you find struggle, you’ll find strength. When you get hurt, tend to your wounds and move through them, don’t make them your life story. You’re much more than your wounds. If you want to go through life happy, quiet all the chatter in your mind long enough to deeply listen to what truly matters to you. You might discover that you need to abandon your course and find a new map. Change is frightening, but where there is fear there is also power. There are many things you have no control over in your life, especially during childhood. You didn’t get to write the beginning of your story, but as adults, you get to write the ending. So, what’s it going to be? Do you want to curse the darkness or invest in lighting a candle?

“Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn,
a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter.
If your mind isn’t clouded by unnecessary things,
this is the best season of your life.”
-Wu Men


Bonnie Katz is a licensed psychotherapist in private practice. One of her specialties is working with artists in the Entertainment Industry. Her skills and training as a psychotherapist and mindful meditator enable her to work with clients in an atmosphere of warmth and understanding. For more information on Bonnie’s psychotherapy practice, visit her website. Follow her on Twitterand Facebook. Click here for a free brochure on mindful meditation.

Conscious Actor articles are not a substitution for professional psychotherapy.

 


Bonnie Katz is a licensed psychotherapist in private practice. One of her specialties is working with artists in the Entertainment Industry. Her skills and training as a psychotherapist and mindful meditator enable her to work with clients in an atmosphere of warmth and understanding. For more information on Bonnie’s psychotherapy practice,visit her website.Follow her on Twitter and Facebook

Conscious Actor articles are not a substitution for professional psychotherapy.

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