Monday, September 3, 2012

Respect yourself

Respect is something inherently built in to most of our taiko experience.  Even groups that aren't steeped in the Japanese or Japanese-American tradition seem to have different aspects of respect as part of their core philosophy.

There's a lot of ways to show respect.  The most common is by respecting the people that are teaching you, as well as those who have come before you/paved the way to make what you do possible.  There's respecting your equipment, respecting the art form, respecting your group...but the one often overlooked is respecting yourself.

One might argue that respecting yourself is the most important kind of respect, because if you can't do that then how can you have respect for anything else?  It's like a house built without a foundation then trying to add more floors.

There's a very practical reason to respect yourself, if speaking in metaphors doesn't do much for you.  If you don't respect yourself, your art cannot come from a good place.

That means that anything you produce is going to be missing something, something vital.  Whether it's a composition, a form, a solo, a movement, etc., how can that work have a foundation when the person that created it doesn't respect themselves?

It's not like this is a black-or-white situation.  Having a lack of respect in yourself can come in many forms.  To a degree, most of us are somewhat self-deprecating, but when it becomes negative inner dialogue, that's when you aren't respecting yourself.  Good examples of this are telling yourself "I'll never get it," or "I'm not any good."  With that sort of mindset, how can you be genuine and put joy into what you do?

Just having people telling you the opposite doesn't really help.  So think of it this way: treat yourself the way you would look after others who you might be teaching.  You have to give yourself patience and keep working at it.

We often think of respect as a thing people have to earn to get, or as something we give to our instruments to make sure they last a long time.  Like I said in one of my earliest posts, you are just as much an instrument as the drums are.  Empowerment starts from within!

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