Don't Take It To Heart

 

Have you ever been dancing out in public, maybe you're performing, maybe you're at a party, and you're really enjoying yourself when suddenly you happen to over hear something like, "Well, she obviously didn't spend much time on her costume!" BOOM, immediately all of your self-confidence vanishes. You're taken so off guard that you feel almost physically attacked.

This nightmarish scene happened recently to a close friend of mine, a beautiful dancer who is still building her performing self-confidence. Similar situations have happened to me over the years. The first time I danced for a large gathering at a country club dinner-dance I was extremely nervous, as you can imagine. It was a formal Valentine ball and everyone was dressed in suits or beautiful evening gowns. Not the sort of situation in which you'd expect blatant rudeness. I was just starting my last dance and was dancing for a table which had been rowdy all night, when one of the young men looked at me in disgust and said, "Aw, come on, I've seen better table dancing." I was shocked and very hurt. Now please don't get me wrong, I think stripping can be an incredible art form, as valid as any other dance. So it wasn't that reference which upset me. It was the fact that a total stranger, to whom I was giving my all, felt compelled to respond with brutality, intentionally trying to hurt me. And he succeeded!

It took me weeks to come to terms with his little piece of nastiness. I felt that I needed to understand why someone would be so cruel, or else I would begin to germinate the negative program in which I'm at fault for other peoples bad behavior. My self confidence would become completely undermined because I would begin to believe that what he said was true; I was a terrible dancer. Other people's admonishment that I should not take it to heart did little good when it had already been taken to heart. Every one, at some point in their dancing life, must figure out for themselves how they feel about other people's bad behavior. I believe that if you wish to experience a happy and healthy life you must learn to "not take it to heart". You can either be hurt or you can rationalize their behavior away. A lucky few can even set their minds to just ignore any petty negative comments.

These comments often have nothing to do with you, but everything to do with that person's own insecurity and fears. In some way you may never understand , they have felt threatened by you. Being less evolved primates they attack any perceived threat. This type of behavior can be experienced anywhere. I'm sure all of us at some point in our lives have been the perpetrators of our own little pieces of nastiness. It is a basic primitive primate response to threat. Necessary in the wild and painful in modern society. It may present itself in a jealous teacher who withholds positive reinforcement, so necessary to a budding ego, because she's afraid that student's abilities will surpass her own. It might be a nasty comment over-heard in the audience from some one who wished they too could dance as well , or were thinner, younger, prettier. As my father so often says "When looking for an excuse, any will do!" It might surface in rumor, but I believe the most undermining is when the source is other dancers.

The Belly dance community in many areas is very small, which makes us all very vulnerable to each other. It is a sub-set of society as a whole and as such it has the possibility to encompass a some what different reality. Imagine it, we could actually create a small community in which everyone was friendly towards everyone else, maybe even supportive of each other! If every single person involved in a Belly dance community would decide to become personally responsible for their attitude and behavior towards others we could create our own little Nirvana .

It wouldn't take much effort. Just some thought and a little restraint. The next time someone says something painful to you or about you, don't "take it to heart". Remember that jealousy is a form of complement. Take it as such and try to have compassion for someone who was miserable while you were happy. There's enough love and support to go round and then some. If that's what we all send out, that's what we'll get back in some form or another. So keep your head up, your sense of humor handy, and your heart open.

 

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This page last modified: April 14, 2008