Be Gentle with Yourself

Nov 2, 2009 by     No Comments    Posted under: Attitude, Thousands of Stories

The most common advice I give to anyone is to

Be gentle with yourself.

I believe that phrase was inspired by poet David Whyte (buy his CDs…now. They will change your life…especially Poetry of Self Compassion), and I find it particularly apropos for artists. (Full disclosure: I wrote about how Whyte’s poetry changed my life in an  successful application to the Presidents Leadership Class so I am particularly grateful for his awesomeness.)

I’m not sure if it’s the glorified “starving artist” mythology out there. Or perhaps it’s the fact that artists are putting their core being up for approval and possible (read: inevitable) rejection…daily. Maybe it’s that artists tend to be a more sensitive and feeling sort. Whatever the case, I am constantly talking to actors who beat themselves up. Constantly. My advice to you:

Okay, if that brilliant video didn’t do it for you then my initial advice remains. Be gentle with yourself. It takes a long time to make it in this business. Be. Gentle. With. Yourself. Take your time.

More than that, the things we beat ourselves up over at truly preposterous. Truly. You think you screwed up an audition (emphasis on think)? So what! Showed up late to an audition? Big deal. Missed a line in your play. Get over it. Stop striving for perfection and be gentle with yourself. It’s silly to give these things such importance. Your career takes years to develop and you really think missing one line is going to sink you? R-e-a-l-l-y-??? Even if you completely pissed off some casting director and they never want to see you again, there are 650 other CDs in Los Angeles. 650!

No one died. No one got cancer. Take a long term view. Forgive. Be gentle with yourself.

Ben Whitehair is the Los Angeles contingent of this blog. Find out more information and view his materials on his website, or read the rest of his blog posts.