Confidence: The feeling or belief that one can have faith in or rely on someone or something.
Self-belief: Confidence in your own abilities or judgment.
Get a notebook or piece of paper/pen and interact with the questions. Write down your answers and reflect on them at the end.
Why is confidence so important in dance?
Confidence is a huge part of dance and it effects how good we become as well as how quickly we learn. Let me ask you something.
– Do you believe you are a good dancer?
– Do you believe you learn quickly and effectively?
– Is it possible to achieve something if you don’t believe it?
In short, if you do not believe in yourself, you will not be able to achieve what you want. You cannot go against your own self beliefs. In order to be good at whatever you want, you need to develop that confidence and self belief. The faster you develop this, the faster you will see results. Of course, I am not saying this is the only factor, but it’s a major factor. Another question for you:
The areas in which you are insecure in dance… are they similar to other areas in your life?
For example when I started, I had no confidence expressing my sensuality in Bachata. Especially having come from a salsa scene which was a completely different energy. I did not feel attractive or worthy of receiving that kind of attention in dance. The problem is, that showed in my life and also in my relationships. I allowed men to not treat me well because I had no sense of self worth. Through dance I have slowly developed this self worth which is now reflected in my life and my relationships with everyone. So ask yourself, where are your limitations in dance and how is this reflected in your life? Because as you grow positively in one, you will grow in the other.
What does confidence look like to you?
Don’t just jump past this question. Try and define this. It is actually different for a lot of people. This is your own personal goal. Where would you like to be? What parts of your life and yourself would you like to be more confident in? Where do you want to feel like you are rocking at life? Define this and write it down! Writing something down on paper commits you to it, and you are much more likely to actually follow up on it and do something about. So do it now.
Do you compare yourself to others or do you use them for inspiration?
This is a great indicator of your confidence levels. When you look at others who have what you want, do you look at them with envy and feel horrible inside, comparing yourself to them and feeling like you are not good enough? Or do you look at them and appreciate their skills/ abilities/ attributes and use them as inspiration to work towards achieving the same? I definitely used to be one of those people who would look at models and feel insecure, or look at dancers that were at a higher level than me and it would make me feel tiny and insignificant. I felt like that was something I would never ever achieve and that I was simply not good enough, not talented enough, not liked enough and that I was a nobody. Well, guess what? Your life is in your hands and if you want something, you’ve got to go after it, no matter how small or big that is. I have posted a video below of Ataca Y La Alemana whose style I adore. Feel free to look at any other video of whomever you admire or whatever your triggers are, and be honest with yourself about how you feel and write it down.
– On a scale of 0- 10, with 0 feeling fine and 10 being the worst case scenario, what is the first number that comes to your mind? Be honest and do not think. Write down the first number that comes to you and trust that. Make a note of this somewhere for your self reference and do this as often as you like. It will show you how your emotions to a particular issue are changing.
– Write down any emotions that come to you as you watch that video or any words that come to your mind. If you aren’t brave enough to write these down, how will you find the courage to change?
How can we start to change this?
There are many things we can do to start to shift these feelings and beliefs. Firstly, it is good for you to ask yourself: Where are these beliefs/ feelings coming from? For some, there will be an answer and for others there won’t be. That’s ok! If something does come to you, then you know that is something you need to address, whether that is by yourself or through therapy. If nothing comes to you, it could just mean it’s a generalised thing for you, or that there is a deep rooted issue you are afraid of facing. I was definitely one with a deep rooted issue that I was in denial about and refused to face for a very long time, but of course at the time I didn’t realise that because I was in denial, and it took me a long time to get past it 🙂
Affirmations are a great way to release negative thinking patterns and are found to be incredibly powerful despite their simplicity. The trick is to be consistent with them though and keep it up every day. There are so many guides out there on affirmations. I personally adore Jack Canfield and his positive outlook on life, who I discovered through The Secret by Rhonda Byrne, which is a great book on gratitude and attracting positivity. If you want more information on affirmations have a look here and give them a try. You may be very surprised with yourself but stick to it! Another great resource for affirmations is a book called Heal Your Mind by Louise Hay, however this book is very different to normal affirmations. It looks at finding the mental causes for physical issues and provides you with affirmations which help you challenge that. I use this in my practice all the time and a lot of my clients have found it a great resource.
– Have a read about how affirmations and set yourself some to practise every day.
– Update your affirmations as and when they become less relevant to you.
Recognize that you are doing everything you can and accept that you are moving at your own pace and that this is ok. If you are not very good at recognising your rate of progression I would highly encourage you to do a video of yourself, or keep some other kind of record of your progress in whatever you choose to focus on, and look back at this. You can even upload your videos to Youtube privately so you can go back a year later and check your progression. When I started recording myself dancing, I started seeing my progress and stopped being so hard on myself. It is so important to recognize the hard work we are putting in, because this then feeds our confidence levels. Self praise is a good thing. Of course, you don’t want to be getting a big head and floating off into neverland to the point that someone gives you a compliment and your reaction in your head is, ‘I know I’m that good’. Then there is a danger of not noticing the areas where you could advance to the next level because you may think you are above that.
– Keep a journal of your progression or videos of yourself – even if this is just practicing at home.
– Make an effort to self-praise when you have done something well on a REGULAR basis. This will require conscious effort.
– Keep putting in everything you’ve got and recognize that this is enough! Nobody can ask any more of you, so cut yourself some slack and have fun. It’s about the journey, not the destination.
I was very lucky to have trained as a Hypnotherapist and Reiki Practitioner so that I have the skills to dramatically reduce my limiting beliefs around this when I choose. I can now hypnotise myself or use Reiki to challenge any limiting beliefs. I can anchor a personality into my performance costume; I can imagine being my idol and developing their skills and taking that confidence with me to real life; I can release any experiences that would have created that limiting belief and I can help others do the same, which is incredibly empowering. I once did a self hypnosis session and did my whole Bachatero10 performance routine in my mind as Judith (Korke & Judith). Let me tell you something, the next time I did that routine in real life I felt on fire! The unconscious mind is a very powerful thing and it learns unhelpful habits through our experiences. Through Hypnotherapy and Reiki we can challenge these and change them in a much quicker way than if we were working with the conscious mind.
As any teacher will tell you practice makes perfect. If you practise the move and get good at it, it will make you start to feel better about yourself therefore increasing your confidence. Just don’t go crazy and start doing 100 things at once. You cannot become a master if your attention is scattered between many things at once, you need to isolate your focus to one thing, and once that is at a level you are happy with, move onto the next. If you do too much at once, you will not get much better, and reinforce your negative beliefs because you will most likely feel overwhelmed. Be kind to yourself, set realistic goals and achieve one before moving onto the next. What you do will reinforce what you believe, so ensure that what you are doing is reinforcing the positive beliefs rather than the negative ones.
There are other things we learn through dance like connection, trust in ourselves and our partner, expression of our own energy and creativity. But I will talk about those another time. I hope you’ve enjoyed your read and please feel free to get in touch or comment below. Have a fabulous day and be kind to yourself. You have achieved so many things in life already, so just keep going and stay focused.