I never believe that I deserve to be happy. This reaction kicked in big time since I got a steady job. My emotions are a roller coaster: joy at the chance to perform, terror that the people in charge don't like me and resentment at not getting solo roles. I'm driving myself crazy.
—Terry, Philadelphia, PA
Beliefs have a powerful effect on your emotional well-being. Yet this doesn't mean they are true. For example, your fear of being disliked by your superiors isn't backed up by reality: They wouldn't have hired you if they didn't like your dancing. Likewise, expecting to get solo roles right away is unrealistic until you've proven yourself as a performer, artistically and technically. It also helps to be aware that happiness is not an end state; it's a byproduct of engaging in meaningful activities. You've set the stage by getting a job in dance. Now the time has come to counteract irrational thoughts by using facts, logic and reason. A cognitive behavioral therapist can guide you in this quest.
Send your questions to Dr. Linda Hamilton at firstname.lastname@example.org.