Skip to content

Performing for Yourself vs. Others

February 16, 2011

I still get nervous every time I go to Bikram Yoga class.

The night before, as I’m falling asleep, my mind starts to worry about whether I’ll be able to make it through the whole class without rest. If I’ll be able to hold the balancing postures the whole time. If I’ll get too hot and lightheaded to push myself to new limits. It’s silly, really, because my yoga practice is my own and no one else cares how well I do in each class. If I can’t hold each posture, so what? The world won’t end. And yoga is good for me no matter how far I can go that day.

Put me in front of a crowd, and I’ll perform my little heart out. But ask me to compete against myself? Not so fast. The same thing used to happen during my years of Irish dance and music playing. For 13 years I was in a constant state of performance and competition. I loved performing because the only goal was to make the crowd happy, but I beat myself up over competitions.

Happy after placing in a music competition. I'm second from the left.

Spectators are entertained by the beauty of movement and sound. They know that everyone makes mistakes but are thrilled to see someone smiling and upbeat. Why can’t we treat ourselves the same way? Why can’t we be more understanding of our rough days and do something purely for the enjoyment and benefit it brings to us?

Irish dance team at Notre Dame. I’m #3, wearing a borrowed blonde wig:)


At the end of class today, my yoga instructor told us her favorite quote: “Worry is just wasting your imagination on things you don’t even want to happen“. What a perfect quote to hear when I was thinking about my pre-class jitters. Sometimes life is so serendipitous.

  • Are you harder on yourself than others?
  • How do you handle performance vs. competition?


I forgot my camera at home, so you get a Droid pic. I just can’t help but wear a skirt and flats when it’s in the sixties today! I don’t know how soon I’ll get another chance…




And breakfast was my usual oatmeal bowl, which I can assure you looked the same as it does every other day. I’ll have to try another Droid pic for lunch.

Happy Wednesday!

18 Comments leave one →
  1. February 16, 2011 10:40 am

    I love this post! I was just thinking about something very similar this morning – except that I’m the opposite. I can’t stand performing in front of others – but I am constantly competing with myself. But I agree about being so hard on myself. I beat myself up if I don’t perform to a personal-set standard, but if I do well, I hardly congratulate myself. What the heck?! I need to work on this 🙂

  2. February 16, 2011 10:47 am

    I’m glad to see your changing approach to worries and I 100% agree with your yoga instructor.

    Also – cute skirt, where did you get that?

    As for your questions:
    – I am hard on myself, but thats becuase I know what I am capable of when I really try.
    – I love both, I am Leo and while my performances are a bit more conference room than stage it can still be a performance. I also tend to push myself harder when I am competing so I usual discover new limits for myself

  3. February 16, 2011 10:50 am

    Cute top! I’m so ready for spring I can’t stand it – it’s supposed to be in the 70s here on Friday. Eeeeeek!!!!

    We’re all our worst critic, in my opinion. We “beat ourselves up” way too much. I always wish I was a “little more flexible” or “had more balance and didn’t look drunk/wobbly at 5am in pilates” but I’m coming to realize no one else is judging me negatively at the gym. Instead, people compliment the fact that I have “awesome arms” (comment from a fellow gym-goer at 5am) and that I’m able to hold a pose “perfectly” (another comment from a fellow pilates-goer). So yea…I think we’re all guilty of it at some time or another. Always remember to compliment yourself. 🙂

  4. February 16, 2011 10:55 am

    I’m so glad you posted this! I was thinking about something very similar this morning, but I’m the opposite from you. I freak out if I had to perform in any way, shape or form in front of people – but I find that I’m constantly competing with myself. I beat myself up if I don’t meet a standard that I set for myself, but if I DO meet it, I hardly give myself any credit. What the heck?! I need to work on this 😉

  5. February 16, 2011 11:10 am

    Yay for warmer weather!!! I am loving being able to run outside this week! I hope it lasts, I think we’ve all seen enough snow and ice to last us until next winter. I loved your “worry” quote…it’s so fitting right now as I come up to STL on Friday for an MRI and a checkup with my oncologist. There is nothing that I concerned about exactly, but just the process of more tests and things that always COULD show something. Say a little prayer for me if you don’t mind;-)

    Oh, and I am MUCH harder on myself than others. But I think that’s how it is with most people, we are our own worst critic.

    And what is this about Albert this morning?!?! Talks ended?? I am so disappointed in the Cardinals management for letting it get to this point. 😦

  6. February 16, 2011 11:48 am

    I get nervous, too. I am trying to teach myself that what others think truly doesn’t matter unless you think it does. For example, I’m very serious. Others think it’s odd, but I’ve decided it doesn’t matter. On the flip side, at the office, sometimes this comes off as unapproachable which DOES matter to me so I’m working to change it.

    Cute outfit, as always!

  7. February 16, 2011 12:33 pm

    AHAHA the Irish dancing wig is priceless! IM SO HARD on myslef.. its frustrating.. but im trying to stop and just stop the worrying!

  8. February 16, 2011 2:06 pm

    Cute outfit! Love the ruffles on the shoulders. Super cute 🙂

  9. February 16, 2011 2:11 pm

    Great post, worrying is such a waste of energy! I read a quote and buddhist philosophy about not having room in our minds for one negative thought. That if we have a negative thought, we must acknowledge it and then move forward from it. This has helped me through a lot of worried, negative self-talk!

  10. Brandi permalink
    February 16, 2011 5:41 pm

    Hola! Looooove the top and skirt!!!! Where did you get them?

    Im such a worrier too. Ive had insomnia since I was 15 and I think worrying/anxiety is a big factor in that. Ive gotten a tiny bit better about being a bit more laid back and only worrying about things that are within my control but…still worrying myself silly! I love little quotes and reminders that help me just calm the heck down.

  11. February 16, 2011 5:54 pm

    I’m definitely harder on myself than others. I really wish I could see myself through other people’s eyes!

  12. squigglefloey permalink
    February 16, 2011 6:49 pm

    Damn, I was hopping the hair in pic 2 wasn’t a wig! haha…
    Btw, who do you want to win on The Bachelor?! Just finished watching this week’s ep…pretty glad Michelle went home! haha

  13. Irene permalink
    February 16, 2011 7:16 pm

    I love this post. It’s very relatable and I love the quote

  14. February 16, 2011 7:25 pm

    whenever i take bikram i get the SAME way! i feel like ohh my god can i get through this class haha. and then after it’s over i’m like okay not so bad!

    loving those 80s sleeves on your top!

  15. February 16, 2011 7:28 pm

    It’s a strange mixture of arrogance and low self-esteem that makes us so hard upon ourselves. We expect to be better than others in things, yet at the same time, condemn ourselves for not being the absolute best. Such a tiring way to live…

  16. February 16, 2011 8:35 pm

    This is SUCH a perfect post for me today. I’ve been thinking lots about this. I definitely compete solely with myself, not others. I LOVE performing, though it isn’t really my personality to be the center of attention. I love making people happy. It may be why I like teaching group fitness classes. I don’t even know where to go to articulate everything I’ve been thinking well. Sorry!

  17. February 17, 2011 6:17 am

    Holy shit, are we in the same yoga class, or is this an amazing coincidence that my yoga teacher said that too?

  18. February 18, 2011 9:32 am

    haha, that blond wig is entertaining! LOL!

    ya know, I don’t take group classes or anything but definitely think that when i’m at the gym…but not when i’m running outside…strange? Def something to think about though and to work on getting better at not beating myself up over!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: