Congratulating Yourself

My whole life I have been terrified of looking conceited, self centered, too engaged in my own behavior, but in doing so, I’ve become my fear.

My whole life I have been terrified of looking conceited, self centered, too engaged in my own behavior, but in doing so, I’ve become my fear. I’ve allowed my self-proclaimed humbleness to inhibit my talent and dreams. Finally, as a 26 year old actor, I’m beginning to let that go.

From a young age, accepting compliments has always been something I’ve struggled with. I decided that the attitudes of kids I surrounded myself with in our theatre community were not attitudes I wanted to see be reflected in myself. And so I buried myself in the work of it all. That is something I’ve been doing pretty much ever since. Except the difference between myself and those self centered attitudes of the fellow twelve year olds I knew back in the day, was the fact that I continued to learn and grow, and pursued theatre as a career for myself. Many of those kids I thought were conceited were simply confident, and were not afraid to let people know. Now I understand that the fear of looking self centered as an artist has taught me to keep my talents behind a wall, to not use them or flash them, or try harder than everyone else around me, and that is a problem.

Fear has turned me into a timid actor (even though it may not always seem that way), and I’m working on changing that.

I’m going to the auditions, doing the best I can, even if I fail.

Not too long ago, I went to an audition that I was really excited about. I went in, sang, and they asked me to stay to dance. I’ve always been confident in my singing, and it’s something I still work really hard at. Anyway, I stayed for the dance call, and all I did the whole dance call was tell myself that I wasn’t good enough. That’s all I could think about.

I got out of the audition and called my friend Sarah. She said something really important that I am so thankful for. She told me “You should be congratulating yourself.”

I put myself out there, I did everything I could, and I walked away with my head down. All it takes to change that attitude is to move my chin 2 inches to the clouds.

I can firmly say I am good at what I do. I work hard, I try hard, I sound good, I go to the auditions. So, good job Val, you’re doing great.

I’m doing great.

Of course there will always be things to work on, and as an actor I’ve got to be working as hard as I can, but it feels great to recognize my own worth as a person and an actor.

Author: Valerie Berger Dorn

actor, writer, art-er, fan of spaghetti

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