5 things I learned from dance class

persons-768597_1920Today marks the final week of waltz classes this month. Overall it’s been a good experience. The first lesson had me overwhelmed and frustrated. Fortunately the following two went much smoother. I’m looking forward to class tonight and I’m already thinking of what dances I want to learn next. Here are a few lessons I’ve learned from dance class.

1. Lower your expectations.
For both you and your instructor. Especially if you’ve never done it before. At my first waltz class I had the unrealistic idea I’d be able to learn each step perfectly with minimal practice. Unreasonable, yes. But welcome to the mind of an introvert and perfectionist. After that first class, I gave myself permission to make mistakes. It became my goal to learn as much as possible each night. As a result, each class was more enjoyable and I had a lot more fun.

2. Embrace the instructor.
While you do this physically when you dance haha, I’m referring more to their style of teaching. My first waltz instructor was very intense. He spoke fast, moved fast, and expected a lot. My current instructor is the exact opposite. He’s laid back, makes lots of jokes, and ensures everyone is comfortable. He spends a lot of time on the little details. Neither way is wrong, simply different, and you can learn from both.

3. Do hard things.
Walking into a dance class full of strangers is terrifying. I still have to psych myself up for a lesson even though I love dancing. Pushing yourself outside your comfort zone helps you grow. Embrace challenge! The confidence, discipline, dedication, and perseverance you develop will help you in all other aspects of life.

4. Take care of yourself.
If you aren’t used to dancing, the new movements can leave you stiff and sore the next day. Fortunately my legs are used to worse abuse than dancing (I’m looking at you dead lifts and squats) so they were okay. But it was a good reminder. I need to be more deliberate and proactive about taking care of myself. I need to get enough sleep, take active rest days, stay hydrated, stretch daily, and practice good nutrition. My mental health also needs to be more of a priority.

5. Enjoy!
Learning is fun, something I’ve rediscovered through dance. But I’m always looking forward to the next step and often miss out on the NOW. I’m learning to stop, breathe, look around, and take note of what I’m feeling. Time goes by fast. I don’t want to miss out on all the wonderful, little details that make life so beautiful.

What’s your favourite hobby or activity?

Musings on motivation

6898615547_e1aeafa154_zThe topic of motivation has been in my thoughts lately. I’ve been thinking about what my own motivations are. I recently came to the realization that a lot of things I do for others comes from a desire to please, something I’ve been working to rectify. But that isn’t the only thing that motivates me.

I originally began this blog after discovering I was a perfectly normal introvert. I wanted to connect with others and share my experiences. There’s also the cathartic aspect, a way to express the emotions I’m experiencing. But the thing that’s kept me writing for more than two years is the incredible community I discovered. I’m so grateful to be able to connect with so many of you. Every comment, like, and view is something I cherish. Whether you’ve been reading since the beginning, or starting today, thank you.

One of the biggest motivations for me, when it comes to personal relationships, is a desire for depth. I want to be able to discuss things like history, science, politics, religion, literature, etc. To dig deep, rather than skim the surface. Social media tells us we need lots of Twitter followers and Facebook friends in order to be successful and happy. I’d rather have a few close friends with whom I can converse about the deeper things of life. That’s far more rewarding to me.

In order to push myself in my workouts, I always need to have an end goal in mind. Last year, it was the Spartan Race that pushed me to train harder, eat healthier, drink more water, and go to bed on time. I knew the harder I worked during the year, the easier the race would be (and it was still far from easy). And once I started feeling the benefits of living a healthier life, I didn’t want to go back to the way things were before.

What motivates you?

Image credit: “Profile112” by Fit Approach is licensed under CC by 2.0


Creating 9 personal boundaries

Fenced boundariesI read a timely article last week titled, 5 ways to stay strong as an INFJ empath. It lead me to a couple of additional posts on creating personal boundaries. To be honest, it was a big wake up call. While I’ve definitely made progress in being less of a people-pleaser, I’ve still been allowing others to do whatever they wanted at times. Often excusing their behaviour by blaming myself for being too uptight.

Creating boundaries for myself and writing them out will help me recognize when someone crosses the line. Writing out steps to take when this happens will help me react more quickly. Creating and enforcing these boundaries will give me more control over my life and increase my own self respect. Here are a few boundaries I am going to start enforcing.

1. I have the right to be heard.

I listen quietly and attentively when others speak and I deserve the same consideration. If you interrupt me (intentionally or without apology), talk over me, or are condescending to me, that’s unacceptable.

If someones does any of the above, I will courteously let them know they’re being rude. If they repeatedly cross this line, and don’t seem to be trying to change, I’ll avoid speaking with them in the future.

2. I have the right to say no.

I don’t have to say yes in order to please other people. I also have the right to ask for more information without committing. It’s a lot easier to change my no to yes, than the other way around.

If someone assumes my participation, I’ll let them know that I haven’t made a decision yet. If I’m given an invitation, I’ll tell them I need to think about it first. If I don’t want to do something, I will say no. I won’t make excuses or apologize either.

3. I have the right to change my mind.

Life is unpredictable. Sometimes I may not have the energy to do something I previously agreed to. Rather than forcing myself to go and struggling the entire time, I’ll politely cancel. It’s far more important to take care of my physical and mental health.

If I don’t feel well, or I’m already overwhelmed, I will bow out of a commitment without feeling guilty. However, I will give as much notice as I can to the other party.

4. I can choose whether to engage in physical contact, or not.

If I’m feeling burned out or overwhelmed, sometimes the touch of another person is too much to handle. Pressuring me into giving you a hug makes me very uncomfortable. You cannot come into my personal space unless I allow it.

If someone initiates physical contact, and I’m already overstimulated, I’ll politely step away and explain how I’m feeling. It’s nothing against them personally, I just need more space at times.

5. My personal belongings deserve respect.

My purse and phone are my own personal property. If you need something from my bag, I’ll grab it for you. If you’d like to see specific pictures on my phone, I’ll show you. That does not entitle you to peruse the contents of my phone yourself or rifle though my bag. No, I’m not hiding anything, those things just doesn’t belong to you.

If you take liberties with my personal items, I won’t trust you alone with them in the future. If you want to see something of mine, you need to ask every time.

6. You will not shame me for being healthy.

I follow a healthy and clean diet due to a number of food sensitivities. I’m a healthy weight and I consume the correct number of calories based on my height, weight, and activity level. Do not make comments about my needing to gain weight, lose weight, my appearance, etc.

If you tell me to ‘eat a cheeseburger’ (which has happened on multiple occasions), I will politely correct you. Do not shame my good food choices because you may feel poorly about your own.

7. You will not shame me for being strong.

Unfortunately, there is still a bias against strong women. We’re told not to lift “too heavy” because we’ll get “too big”. Weightlifting has had an incredibly positive impact on my life. I can now lift heavy boxes and furniture when friends need help moving. I can carry tables and chairs to set up for events. I have increased self confidence and feel better both physically and mentally.

If someone makes a negative or ignorant comment, I will politely explain that it isn’t true and show them how weightlifting has helped me.

8. I have the right to take time before replying to phone calls or voicemail.

Unless its an emergency, I will not instantly reply to your phone call or voicemail. I also have the right to keep my phone on silent. I don’t need to be on call for everyone in my social circle at all times. If you call me, I probably won’t answer unless I’m expecting your call. If you leave a voicemail, I’ll get back to you within the day.

Let me know that you’ll be giving me a call on a certain day around a certain time and I’ll be ready for it. Otherwise, I’ll either send you a text or call you back later.

9. You need to give me notice.

I love having people over to my place. However, I need 24 hours MINIMUM to prepare, preferably longer. There are often clean dishes to be put away or clean laundry that needs to be hung up. I also need time to mentally prepare for the visit.

If you try to invite yourself over, I’ll pretend I didn’t hear you. If you just want to “drop in” for a bit without giving me enough warning, I’ll either decline, or suggest we go to a nearby coffee shop instead.

What are some of your boundaries and how do you enforce them?

Image credit: “White Fence” by Emily Carlin is licensed under CC by 2.0