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Learning to Dance Fearlessly, Part Three

As we discussed in the last article, our belief system originates from past experience, which then appears in our thinking patterns. These thought patterns colour everything that happens to us in life. So, if we have been rejected or made fun of for trying something new, or sticking our neck out, then similar situations in the future will be viewed through the same lens of fear. It’s up to you to change your thought patterns, and reframe the prospect of dancing in a more positive light. Fortunately, there are tools to help you.

Where do you want to go?

Nobody dances just for the sake of dancing alone; there’s always something that dancing gives us to make it worthwhile, even if it’s just the ability to turn off our minds for awhile. If you haven’t decided what you want dancing to give you, grab a pen and paper, find yourself half an hour of distraction-free time, and DECIDE. Your destination should be something that drives you, that excites you, that is worth time and energy to push towards. After all, if dancing is just a trivial thing, why are you fighting against your fears to improve in it?

Here’s a few common reasons why people dance:

  1. To build confidence in themselves.
  2. To meet new and interesting people.
  3. To gain better control and body awareness.
  4. To feel better about their body.
  5. To spend romantic time with a partner.

Once you’ve decided on your destination, picture yourself already there. Imagine how it will feel, how you will look. Fill in your vision with as much detail as you can. And especially, especially, recall your vision when you are preparing to do that dancing thing that scares you. Let it replace your fear with excitement, or at least determination, and a reminder that it’s worth it.

Weigh the Advantages

Some of you are no doubt shaking your heads at this point. Perhaps you wanted something more concrete, some tangible way of taking your fears apart piece by piece. To do this, we must understand that the reason fear has so much power over us is because on some level, we actually want to be afraid. After all, giving in to fear means staying safe in our existing habits, never exposing ourselves to the potential ridicule of others, and so on.

By understanding why we cling to fear, and weighing them against the advantages of releasing that fear, we often realize that our fears are based on an outdated model for survival, something we needed as children, but no longer require.

Draw 4 columns on a sheet of paper:

  1. On the first column, write down the benefits of not dancing fearlessly.
  2. On the fourth column, write down the benefits of dancing fearlessly – more confidence for example, or a chance to share a part of yourself with others.
  3. Score each benefit from 1-10 on the second column for not facing your fears, and on the third column for facing them.
  4. Compare the scores and add them up to get the final result.

I strongly believe that we only fear things we don’t fully understand. Understand why it scares you to dance without reservation, and you will put that fear under conscious control. You can then choose to act, despite your fear. Because it’s worth it.

About the Author

Ian Crewe has been dancing ballroom for over 18 years, and has a Licentiate in American smooth and rhythm. His passion for dance and his endless seeking for ways to reach new audiences eventually led him to blogging and the World Wide Web. Ian currently teaches at the Joy of Dance Centre, Toronto, ON, Canada.

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