The past few months have been an unexpected whirlwind of activity. In addition to the typical hectic nature of the school counseling profession, I have been happily overwhelmed with three community theatre productions this season. The second show, I Hate Hamlet, just closed, which is both calming and sad.
I Hate Hamlet is about a television actor who moves to New York City to perform Shakespeare...in particular, Hamlet. I played the wildly romantic (and incredibly bubbly) girlfriend who wants nothing more than to see her boyfriend achieve theatrical glory in, as she puts it, "the most beautiful play ever written."
This role (and this show, for that matter) was a wonderful, intentionally over-the-top opportunity. I loved every minute of the rehearsal process, because I was able to push myself past my comfort zone and enter the world of comedy. Typically, I am cast in more serious roles, so this was a welcome departure and learning experience for me.
I have to say, theatre is an incredibly intimidating art form. You put yourself out there day after day, just waiting to be judged. When I began to act, I struggled with an embarrassing amount of self-doubt and anxiety - I was never comfortable with my performance and constantly wondered what everyone else thought about me as an actor. I was worried that I didn't fit in. Over the years, I have been able to let a lot of those negative thoughts go, which is why I was so surprised and angry with myself when they came screaming back.
In a way, I am grateful that I stumbled upon that review. It reminds me that I can't have such little self-respect that I let random (and often times, unfounded) feedback get to me. Have you ever had a parent claim that you have "done nothing" to help their child, when, in fact, you have gone above and beyond to do so? Have you ever found yourself defending every facet of your school counseling program because one individual is looking for someone to blame? You can't let the 1% (negative feedback) taint the 99% (positive feedback). Easier said than done, of course.
School counselors are sensitive, empathic individuals who want to make others happy. It's hard to hear a complaint and not instantly think: Of course! They're right!
As Julia Roberts says in Pretty Woman (right), "the bad stuff is easier to believe." But...we have to start listening and absorbing the positive stuff too.
So, my challenge for all of my lovely readers is this: Do your best and give yourself a break. You can't be in 10 places at once, despite every attempt to do so. Know that you are doing the best you can for your students - everything else will fall into place.