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  • Writer's pictureClare Lopez


Updated: 7 days ago

“I think I’m working to unlearn the belief that I am not enough.  That I am less important and less deserving. I understood that there was something sacred about sacrificing my own need or desire or truth even, to make space for someone else’s journey. I’ve placed so much value on other people’s sense of joy and goodness and safety that I’ve been willing to sacrifice my own sense of joy and goodness and safety. And I don’t regret it. I think it’s not wrong to care about how other people feel and want to do what’s right for other people. I’m just learning to let myself be one of those people. To include myself. I need to be as important as the other people I’m considering. That I deserve that.”

— Kerry Washington 

On Purpose - Jay Shetty Podcast

If you know me, you know that enough-ness is a big core value. Both for my work as an actor and coach - and as well as a human being. As a trauma survivor - enough-ness was not something I ever learned to cultivate. I’ve had to do years of therapy and reflection to undue a lifetime of wrecked self-worth. One of my biggest limiting beliefs was that I thought if I started to love myself- I would be selfish. A bad person. I held a great shame in even the appearance of being prideful. I thought that self-love would lead to arrogance and self-centeredness. In short - I thought it was all or nothing. That I could either show compassion to myself - or show it to others. And being raised with Catholic guilt and a strong sense of empathy meant that when given the choice, I would always choose others over myself. But I LOVE Kerry Washington’s perspective on this subject. She doesn’t reprimand herself for choosing to be generous, and compassionate towards others. She only suggests a shift- that

We can hold the same compassion for ourselves as we do for others.

We don’t have to abandon ourselves in order to serve others with empathy. We can do both. We can lead with compassion for others AND include ourselves in the process. It’s not pie, there is enough kindness for everyone. And I love this. Now it’s easy to understand impact this level of self-love can have on our mental health - but I’d love to dig into the impact this has in our work as actors.

In my recent coaching sessions I’ve seen a recurring theme. Many actors find themselves terrified to be creative and because the are so consumed with the need to ‘do it right’. To give the casting director ‘what they want”. And it is the fear of ‘getting it wrong’ that can be so paralyzing. We silence our own instincts in the scene and become absorbed with the minutia of every moment - walking on egg shells and praying we don’t mess up. And when I see this happening in an actor, I try to offer:

What if: you are exactly right for this role - exactly as you are?

What if: you don’t need to do anything to do your most grounded work?

What if: it is impossible to fail at this audition?

How could these shifts in mindset affect your auditions? How can you cultivate your own enough-ness - and build a practice for enforcing your own self-worth? When I imagine an audition without the possibility of failure - I feel a world of choices open up. I feel that nothing is off the table - and I feel free to act on instinct. While I don’t always show up with 100% confidence in my self worth - I believe that deep down, practicing self-compassion directly helps me be fully creative. So, dear friend I invite you to take up your own practice. To find way to grant yourself grace and compassion. And hopefully bring trust in your own enough-ness to every audition you do.

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