No More Self Doubt: Just Bloom

Courtesy of Kelsey


Several weeks ago now, I attended a yoga class at Denton Yoga Center, and our guru, Becky, was teaching us and talking with us about a topic that really resonated with me. This is something that I imagine lots of you have experienced, and I am currently being faced with on a nearly daily basis as a part of the musical I’m working on.


Let me back up a bit and talk about where I was coming from on the day that I went to class, and heard Becky speak to us.

When I auditioned for this show, I just hoped to be a part of the chorus. That’s it… That would have been enough. I would have been honored and proud. As it turned out, I was chosen for a much larger role than I could have EVER expected. You’d think I would have been overjoyed, but I wasn’t (at the time)… All that kept replaying in my head were things like:


  • You haven’t done a show before.
  • They clearly don’t know how weak your voice is.
  • You don’t deserve a role of this size right out of the gate.
  • The other cast members will never accept you.
  • The other people you work with are better than you.
  • Dozens of people could have done a better job with this role than you will.
  • You were only cast because of a technicality… not based on your own merits or talents.


So, to review… I was surprised, and scared, and full of self doubt.

Needs a Shave

I wanted to be proud! I wanted to celebrate… but as I got into the script and went to rehearsals, I found myself leaving at night comparing my performance to EVERYONE else’s and generally remembering only the measure in which I missed a rhythm, or the one step I forgot the first two times we danced it.

Out of several rehearsals… I only left 1 or 2 feeling good about myself. The rest, I just left feeling like a crock. I felt like I’d snuck into this club, and I was only moments from being kicked out.  OR WORSE.

Just being left to SUCK on stage, no one telling me how to make it better, disappointing my cast/crew mates, and being blacklisted from community theatre for ever (A fate worse than death, I know.)

Several weeks ago, I went on a business trip to Austin, and  my travel mates and I were hanging in the hotel room one night, and these girls both told me that they were surprised at how self-deprecating I was.  What? Self-deprecating? But I love myself. Right? I post Operation Beautiful notes. Right? I tell all of my friends how amazing they are DAILY. Right?  I like myself, and think I’m a good person. Right?

But the truth was out.

I am cruel to myself on the inside. Really. I have a really crazy way of managing to seem collected (sometimes), chipper (most of the time), and positive/upbeat (nearly all of the time), but in truth, I am exceptionally hard on myself.  I NEVER give myself a break. I never take it easy on myself, and I am critical of myself in almost EVERY facet of my life.  While this musical theatre story gets the point accross, it is certainly not the only way that I am mean to myself in my life.

I criticize my worth as a singer, a teacher, a friend, a WIFE, and it isn’t even about words.

It’s just, setting that bar, unreasonably high… or being derailed by slight setbacks. But mostly its that ache for perfection. I want to be spot on, in what I do. And if I miss even by a little… I just feel crushed by sadness and disappointment.  I don’t know WHERE or WHEN these feelings started, or WHY this self inflicted pressure is applied… but it is.


So… back to the yoga class… Becky is a phenomenal teacher, and mentor. I learn from her during every session, and she is one of my favorite people on this planet.  She was talking about spring, and about all of the varied and beautiful shades of green that began to flood our landscapes.  She began to speak of flowers, and the amazing way in which they exist.

Flowers just bloom.

They don’t compare themselves to other blossoms.

They don’t want for more or less petals.

They don’t wish they were another color.

They don’t feel insecure if they open more quickly or slowly than another.

They don’t feel guilty if they’re more symmetrical or tall than another bud.

Flowers just bloom.


They open, and blossom. They REACH for the sun! They spread their petals, and root into the earth, and they strive only to be the most full, complete, and beautiful flower that they can be.

I just want to blossom. I just want to bloom, and feel beautiful in my own patch of earth.  I don’t want to worry about what the other flowers are wearing, or what size they are, or how high they can sing without straining, or how fit they are, or how thoughtful they are.  So, I’m working on it. Just trying to bloom…

I hope this insight is as impactful for you, as it was for me.  And I hope those of you who feel this way too (I know you’re out there) will join with me… let’s not be so hard on ourselves.  Let’s just bloom.


This post originally appeared on Kelsey Toney.

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

MM April 29, 2010 at 8:23 pm

I think you will enjoy one of my favorite quotes: “If someone in your life talked to you the way you talk to yourself, you would have left them long ago.”

Take care 🙂


Amanda (Amanda"runs") April 29, 2010 at 8:41 pm

OMG, my new quote is going to be “Be a Flower. Bloom. Just Bloom.” and I am soo linking to this page!


Voldomyr July 4, 2010 at 6:18 pm

That was really amazing and inspirational. I mmust admit I teared up a little bit…. Thank you for sharing that with us


Robyn July 9, 2010 at 4:06 pm

Excellent post. I really enjoyed the Flowers Just Bloom idea.


Jessica July 11, 2010 at 10:54 pm

I am like that all the time! I am soo hard on my self so much! this inspired me alot thank you!


Christina September 4, 2010 at 12:06 pm

All I can say is..this was right on time. Thank you.


Mary September 18, 2010 at 10:29 am

I found this website today on SixBillionSecrets. It’s already made a difference.
Thank you.

“It’s time to start living the life
you’ve imagined”
– Henry James


Debra September 20, 2010 at 3:21 pm

What a beautiful post! My heart opened as I read it and I think I will come back to this often, the words are so true!

I’ve been thinking about getting a tattoo about blossoming, this has given me more urge to get it done lol 🙂


nicole September 24, 2010 at 5:13 am

ok.. soo this helped me because i do put alot of pressure on myself.. but sometimes its not me whos dissapointed when i make the tiniest mistake or dont do something as well as someone else. what if its my parents. and i even though ive tried to tell them i dont mind sometimes that i make mistakes, they still go crazy when i do.


sam :) October 7, 2010 at 10:28 pm

be your own best friend first! when you start to think a negative comment think, would I say this to my best friend? No chances are you wouldn’t! So don’t ever think negatively about yourself, your amazing, JUST THE WAY YOU ARE!! 🙂


PSD November 23, 2010 at 3:56 pm

I am this person as well:
“I have a really crazy way of managing to seem collected (sometimes), chipper (most of the time), and positive/upbeat (nearly all of the time), but in truth, I am exceptionally hard on myself. I NEVER give myself a break”

life has thrown two very challenging moments at me right now, and while it could be worse, it has knocked me off my somtimes collected, most of the time chipper and upeat horse. I feel terrible. Then I read this poem. I too, just want to bloom – and I only want my flower to look like my flower and not what other people think it should look like.

thank you.


norma December 6, 2010 at 1:07 pm

I just came across Operation Beautiful yesterday. I believe it to be a major tool God has sent my way. I will use this to walk through this. Today I have come across this article. It also happens to be the very first day I will be posting notes. I am going to start first posting a note to myself and then to others. I am going to use a variation from this article. Blossom, Bloom, and feel Beautiful in your own patch of earth. Thanks Operation Beautiful and Kelsey


acs August 30, 2011 at 5:19 am

I found this post today through Peter Hollens’ website. Reading your note made my stomach tighten in sympathy, and recognition. I too go through life waiting for everyone around me to realize that under the veneer of expertise and confidence is a fraud held together with bailing wire and duct tape. I anticipate the contempt, revulsion, rejection.

But I’ve had an epiphany recently though, and am making progress on a few small goals that have eluded me for some time. If I can run a 5k for the first time in my life at 40, perhaps Blooming is within reach too.


Emmaaa September 8, 2011 at 9:00 am

This moves me, cos i am that person who is so so hard on myself. Im horrible and negative. It’ll take time, but i hope to change my negative view on myself, and the flowers that just bloom theory is beautiful. I hope i can use it and become so much happier in myself.


Anonymous December 4, 2011 at 11:58 am

im only 12 but i have felt this way for a long time………..


Sarah April 29, 2012 at 10:21 am

every day i go onto and read a blog, well today i read yours and i loved your insight it was just what i was looking for today; inspiration it makes everything worth while and i’m so glad that i read this thank you! 🙂


Cassie January 9, 2013 at 1:29 am

I’m this person, and I’ve felt this way forever, but I don’t think it will ever stop


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