Okay, you finally got up the courage to go to your first dance class. Good job! Here’s the real challenge, though: You feel like an idiot doing this thing called “dancing.”
You can criticize yourself into a coma if you try hard enough…
But I have a better idea. Let’s not pay so much attention to those nasty thoughts. You know the ones: “I suck at this,” or “I feel totally stupid,” or “I look like an asshat.”
If you want to get over feeling stupid and make it through class, here’s what to do. Replace those thoughts with this mantra:
Lemme break that down:
“We’re all in the same boat.”
Look around you. Sure, some students will seem more confident than others. It’s a facade.
Most other people are wondering whether they look like fools, too. Just watch for a moment. You’ll see hesitant movements, confused looks. Even the supposed “confident people” are praying they don’t get asked to learn something out of their comfort zones.
Every good dancer I know has felt stupid in a dance class at one time or another. Every. Single. One. Why? Because if you never feel stupid, then you certainly aren’t trying anything new, which means you can’t get good at dancing.
You’re not alone.
“The teacher is on my side.”
Your dance instructor wants you to succeed. They want you to succeed even more than YOU want you to succeed. They dream at night of having students like you; you are exactly the type of student they are looking for.
If your teacher corrects you, it’s not because they don’t like you or think you are bad at dancing. It’s because they want you to experience that surge of excitement when you persevere and get it right. We love telling our friends about our students. In fact, the story of the underdog who wouldn’t quit is one of my personal favorites.
Remember the teacher is on your side.
“It won’t be like this forever.”
The brain is really melodramatic. When you feel some strong emotion, it tends to come with this foreboding sense of “forever-ness.” Or at least you imagine you’ll feel bad for a really long time.
Obviously you’re not going to feel silly dancing forever. But you have to remind yourself of that over and over again.
Feeling stupid is very short-lived. It will disappear once you leave the dance class. And next class, you’ll feel only half as stupid as you did the first time. In just a month or two, the feeling will be trivial.
Try dancing for just two months, and see for yourself.
“Besides, I’m awesome.”
“I am an awesome person who has a lot going for me. I’m good at other things, even if I’m not comfortable dancing yet.”
I use some variation of this whenever I take a new class of some kind (in which I frequently feel silly and out of my comfort zone). It works wonders to remember that I’m happy with myself and have lots of good things in my life.
If you don’t think that you are awesome, that’s actually the real problem. However, if you stick it out and learn to dance, you will become the awesome person you want to be—with enough work.
But really, you are awesome to begin with.
BONUS: WE HAVE DANCE CLASSES!
Seattle local? Aspiring dancer? (Or at least aspiring not-trip-over-my-own-feet-er?)
Come take swing dance classes with Rebecca (me) and Paul. You can also get on our VIP List for special offers, discounts, and first dibs on limited enrollment classes. I know, I’m screaming in excitement, too. Hope to see you there!
Just kidding. I can’t leave without giving you one final tip: Everything is an experiment.
Class is not a performance. If something doesn’t work one way, try it another. Make a few mistakes on purpose and get over those newbie jitters.
THE REAL END. Just kidding again. This blog never ends. So put your name and email in the box below and get eternal updates.