Dealing With Self-Consciousness and Self-Doubt in Dance
Do you feel self-conscious when you dance? If you do, then what do you worry about when you dance? If you’re like most of us, then you have some level of self-doubt that comes that comes from worrying that others are watching us intently as we dance. You probably worry that every step that you make is noticed by another person. You think that they are looking at you to see if you make any mistake so that they can judge you. Worse, you then also think that when you do something wrong everyone notices and talks about it to each other. That’s sometimes not actually the worse thing either. You probably worry even more about what your dance partner thinks. Are they going to walk away after they dance with you and talk about how poorly you stayed in time, how poorly you placed your feet or how poorly you led/followed? It is pretty easy for these thoughts to cause self-doubt, which causes you to become more self-conscious. This then makes you imagine even more things that you might be doing wrong so that you then worry more about the others and what they think when they watch you dance. This is clearly a vicious circle and it will make couples dancing close to impossible to enjoy. In this article I will talk about the danger of this to your partner dancing how you can deal with it.
The biggest issue with worrying about what you might do wrong is that it makes you more likely to do what it is you worry about. You’ve probably been introduced to the concept when someone says to you ‘Don’t think of a pink elephant.’ You can’t help but think of it. Whatever is put into your head stays there. The word ‘don’t’ doesn’t stop it from happening. If you become self-conscious of something that you worry others will notice you do, then you will think about that and focus upon it. This focus will then occupy much of your mind. As you think about it more and more, it is only a matter of time until you actually do it. Your brain, so the theory goes, doesn’t distinguish between positive and negative thoughts. It simply implements what you’re thinking about so self-doubt can lead, through self-consciousness, to you actually doing what you worry you will do and do not want to do. This is the major reason for wanting to crack self-doubt and self-consciousness in dance.
One of the best ways to deal with this problem in coupes dancing is to understand how common it is. The paradox is that because it is so common, it’s actually not worth worrying about. Certainly there are times when others are watching you and judging. These are competitions and gradings. Interestingly enough, we do no worry so much about the value judgement. This is because we are not expecting them to make value judgements. They give expert opinion and feedback. We worry about others. Just the other people about, maybe even our friends. But here’s the part that is completely true, but not really appreciated. Everyone else is more worried about what you think of them and their dance ability than they think about you. While you’re worrying about what each person thinks of you, they are thinking what everyone else (including you) thinks of them. In a sense, self-consciousness can be incredibly arrogant. We actually think others care about our dance. In truth, they are far too self-absorbed. So when you do dance, if you start to feel self-doubt and self-consciousness creep in, then just remember that no-one really cares.