Whenever I get the chance (which is pretty rare with 2 small children) I head over to my neighbourhood Yoga Studio for my favourite Kundalini yoga class. It’s the one exercise class I never have to talk myself in to going to and this is why: It’s basically a full-on dance party in the dark.
Picture it: 100 + men and women in stretchy pants dancing completely sober on their yoga mats. And the best part of it all is because it’s a late evening class and all the lights are turned out you can only see shadows and outlines of the people around you.
So if you like to dance to blaring pop music on a week night, and do it like no one’s watching this is the place for it, AND because even if someone is watching, they can’t really see you, so who cares.
Because I just had a baby a couple of months ago I haven’t been to one of said classes in a little while, but just this past week I was given the opportunity to go so I literally jumped at it and went.
But a funny thing happened mid-class when it came time for the teacher to put on a loud and bouncy beat and tell everyone to start moving to the music.
I guess I’d never attended a class in the late spring before, so at about 8:00 pm when the dancing part of the class began I suddenly realized that although all the studio lights were turned off, because it was the month of May and the sun was still shining outside I could literally see the actual faces of the other yogi’s in the room, and they, mine. So much for my anonymity.
It was in that moment I found myself in a bit of a pickle.
I had come to the class to go into my own little world and have my own little anonymous dance party, but now that everyone could see one another I would not have the protection and comfort of the darkness I had come to rely on to allow me to literally go for it and dance my face off.
I could have just walked out right then and there, but that would have felt like such a waste of money and very coveted self-care time.
So I decided to tough it out, and just dance. Lit face and all.
For the first few seconds I took it easy and just kind of stepped side to side on my mat. But then it occurred to me – what am I so worried about? Why am I being so silly and thinking that other people might have nothing better to do than stand around and judge me for enjoying myself for doing the exact same thing they are doing? Absolutely ridiculous Julia.
So this is what happened next – I danced. Let me tell you, I danced. No shame and no second thoughts.
And you know what? Nothing bad happened. I actually had the best time, and although I probably looked pretty ridiculous at times to anyone who cared to notice, what did it matter?
The worst possible thing that could have actually happened is someone could have thought to themselves “Wow, she sure is a terrible dancer.” But a). I would never know because I can’t read their mind, and b). what would it matter anyway if some person didn’t like my groovy moves?
If the people around you have nothing better to do than sit around and criticize or judge you for living your life and being yourself, that says something embarrassing about their character, not yours.
Every day we are faced with choices about whether we are going to let things like the fear of embarrassment, shame, or judgment get in the way doing things that bring us happiness, joy, and fulfillment.
Feeling good about who we are just naturally happens on its own when we chose to do the things that fear may try to prevent us from doing. And the more we stand up to fear, the more we learn to trust, believe in, and feel good about ourselves.
Being confident is not about waiting until we become something or someone else before we can feel good. In fact, it’s the opposite.
Being self-confident is about allowing ourselves to just be exactly who we are. Right now. Imperfections, ridiculous dance moves, and all.
And the more opportunities we take to allow ourselves to just be who we are, the more we realize that who we are is not so bad after all – and dare I say we’ll start to see that we might actually be pretty great?
I’d say that’s worth dancing around like a nut in a room full of strangers for.