The irony is not lost on me that I seem to have a talent for building others up at the same time I excel at tearing myself down. With Showcase a week away, I believe it is time to try to build myself up. If I go in thinking that no progress has been made and all the dancing will be “meh”, then it probably will. I’m not good at the whole “fake it till you make it” style but words can be uplifting or destructive and maybe a week of uplifting ones about myself will help. Look at it this way, it sure can’t hurt.
One of the reasons I love the personality thing so much is that each of us have certain gifts but each of us come with certain limitations. It is not to say that you can’t ever rise above your limits but it is recognizing what they may be and understanding what you have to continue to work on. It also gives you an opportunity to appreciate the gifts that you do have.
I found a great description of the INFP type. It is a bit old so I won’t link to it just yet. But one of the lines that hit home was that we do tend to be a bit insecure. Now, insecurities with respect to dancing are not unique to me as I know many of you struggle with the same things. It is hard to internalize that I am a dancer even though I’ve been doing this for many years. It still seems outside the circle of things that I should be doing even though it clearly is not. So it always makes me question myself.
The second thing in this post spoke of is humility and something that holds INFP’s back from ever feeling too confident. If we boast or brag, it is usually done as a joke and we quickly back pedal. Self-deprecating humor is a tool I use all the time. I’m the boss but I rarely use the “boss card” if you know what I mean and I poke fun at my shortcomings all the time. But even writing the words “I’m a good dancer” makes me a little bit twitchy. Don’t boast – it is not a good thing. There is a quote that says something like it isn’t bragging if you can back it up. Or if you are just stating facts, then you aren’t boasting. Can’t find the exact one but you get the point. However, even just stating facts starts to feel like I’m getting over confident and some filters slide in place to keep the ego in check.
The biggest problem is that dancing is a sport judged like an art so the measures of progress are rarely objective and measurable. Well, if you focused on your posture and videoed every lesson and quantified the time you spent in a slouch vs the time you spent in good posture, you could measure and see progress, but, really, who has time for that. Which leaves me with just a vague goal of being “good” and not really understanding how I’m doing to that goal. Dancing is such a roller coaster as you have good days and bad days but the bad days seem to count more. Have a lesson that doesn’t go quite right or mess up a routine and all the nasty little demons come out to tell you that you are wasting your time and should slink off the floor never to return.
But I also realize that I’m relying on what has to be the least reliable indicator of progress and that is how things “feel”. Again, this is a vague concept which can be bent and shaped as I see fit and it is impossible to effectively communicate to anyone. So, if I want to get down on myself, I just whine about something doesn’t “feel” right. And then the problem isn’t fixable and the demons in my head start high-fiving each other and then they throw a huge celebration and let me tell you that those demons can seriously party.
Dance is a team sport. This is undeniably true. How a dance feels is determined by a multitude of factors and both people can influence it. Take a very experience pro and a brand new dancer and see what happens. The pro might be able to force the newbie to do a step but it isn’t going to be smooth as silk. And, even with a well established partnership, one of you could be having a bad day which is going to change how things feel. I have tended to take on all mistakes and assumed they were my fault. And it is true that leading is a skill and it could be a sign that I have more work to do. But, following is also a skill that has to be practiced and a poor follower who insists on doing their own thing no matter what you try to lead is going to make something feel crappy no matter how good you are. In other words, stuff happens and to assume that everything is my fault and that every mistake reflects on how bad my dancing skill is plain wrong. As hard as it is, I can’t use that for validation because it isn’t always a reliable signal and it is very hard to sort out all the noise.
Does it matter that people like to watch you? I’ve tended to discount this because they “weren’t pros” but that’s also a little silly. Dancing is all about the visuals and the story that you create on the floor. If people like to watch, it is a sign that you are doing something right. If people notice you, then you’ve done something to stand out from the crowd and that is a good thing. I need to stop minimizing the feedback I get because it all means something.
How about the fact that people want to dance with you? I don’t know why this one is so hard for me to get. I know this will make me sound awful but there are ladies I just don’t enjoy dancing with. It really has nothing to do with talent or level but it is more when you get with someone who is really overthinking and not really feeling what you are doing. But if I can tell the difference between a good follower and a not so good follower, then doesn’t it stand to reason that you ladies can tell the difference between a good leader and a not so good leader? Last night, I was with Hilde again and the lady I didn’t get to dance with made sure to remind me that I owed her a Waltz. Would she seek me out if I totally sucked as a lead? Not real likely.
So despite my insecurities and my demons and my other assorted issues, I do have some talent here and it is OK to say that and it is OK to acknowledge that. Most importantly, it is OK to feel good about what I’ve accomplished. Well, parts of that were painful to write if you want me to be honest. But lets see what happens if we take a week and just focus on the good stuff.