When was the last time you went dancing? I’m not talking about taking a ballroom dancing class, or the “bump-and-grind”, or heaven help us, anything remotely close to the Macarena. I’m asking when you lost all inhibitions, you let loose and danced like no one was watching. There’s an incredible feeling to losing yourself and becoming the person you were intended to be; someone who is free, someone who is full of joy, and someone who has no concept of self-doubt or of feeling judged: you just dance and laugh and all over again learn to love the person you are and who you’ve become.
As Americans, we are a society who has seriously forgotten how to love ourselves and because we are so driven by images of air-brushed “perfection” and the movie star six-pack abs we seem to willingly step into the sinkhole of self-degradation.
This last weekend I was in my friend’s wedding and besides all the amazing food and drinks, and catching up with old friends, I’ve found that my favorite part of weddings is when the dancing begins. Though some dances at weddings can be almost painful because of how awkwardly people stand in the middle of the dance floor without so much as a toe-tap, I am constantly amazed at the beauty and inspiration I find in people truly dancing like there’s no tomorrow.
I’m sure we’ve all had our moments on the dance floor constantly thinking about who’s watching and wondering how stupid we may look trying to moon-walk down memory lane during the customary playing of “Thriller”, I’ve had more than a few myself. Some of my favorite moments to be a part of include when I get to witness a young child bouncing up and down on the dance floor, eyes closed and wearing the biggest smile you’ve ever seen. They’re not dancing with their eyes closed because they want to avoid the condescending eyes of others; they dance with their eyes closed because nothing else matters but their joy and complete contentment with who they are and the moment they’re in.
And it’s not just the child that’s mesmerized, but you can look at every nearby face and see that there is a fascination and longing to be just as that child is: complete. Slowly, this dance floor comes to life as people learn from this child and start to truly let loose. With flailing arms and kicking legs they forgot about the eyes watching around them and truly enjoy being themselves. For a moment, however brief, they get to be kids again and feel the joy flowing as they authentically remember what it’s like to be comfortable in their own skin.
However, the dance and wedding inevitably come to a close and everyone goes home. There’s always some form of brokenness in our lives that keeps us from loving ourselves. Whether we come from a good home or not we are products of our past and of the company we keep. Our brokenness and whatever name we give it inhibits us from experiencing true joy and from loving ourselves…or allowing ourselves to be loved by others. Although there is no “three-step program” to loving ourselves we can take wild steps of passion towards the freedom and joy of being content with who we are and towards truly loving ourselves. Sometimes this takes a night of losing yourself in the moment and truly dancing like there is no tomorrow and if there truly is no tomorrow, there’s no better time or place to learn how to love yourself than in the center of the dance floor.
Nick Anderson is a Guest Writer for The Authenticity Project, you can contact Nick at TheAuthenticityProject@gmail.com