“Dance for yourself” is a Truthbomb I got from Danielle LaPorte recently and, as usual, it seemed uncannily perfectly timed and, of course, it got me thinking …
I’m a person who generally struggles with doing things just for myself. I think this has mostly been the case since I’ve become a mother, and since I’ve been a mother for nearly 9 years, I can’t actually remember much about what the nuances of life, like ‘doing things for yourself’, felt like before I was a mother. Sometimes though, it’s not that we can’t remember, it’s just that we’re thinking of things in the wrong way. Like asking the wrong questions - of course the answers are probably going to be a bit off the mark.
So two things came up when I started to unravel this;
1. I am not a person who struggles to do things for myself. I have always done things for myself and for no one else but myself. They are things like reading and writing and running. Reading and writing are things I have always done for myself, even as a little girl. These are things that represent, therefore, my true soul. Things that come naturally and, which I recognised at even a very young age, nourish me. Running came later, but it’s reading and writing’s triplet.
2. I have learnt for whatever reasons and, in who-knows-what ways, over time, that these things are idle and non-productive luxuries that detract from the ‘real’ work of life. In other words, I have learnt to associate guilt with doing these things, and I think this feeing has been exacerbated by motherhood. Naturally.
I would think this would be quite a common feeling for women, both mothers and not, because we’re taught so relentlessly to value the things we can see. We can see money, or at least the things it can buy, and so what we value is heavily weighted toward that which can produce or create money and that which it can buy.
But women and mothers (not saying men don’t, I know they do too, but I’m just talking as a woman to women), have more to bring to the table. It’s the innate, the instinctive, the feeling from inside, the quiet voice of the soul that we’re usually conditioned to ignore, but who whispers relentlessly. It knows our truest nature, what nourishes us and who we really are. Listen.
I know the things that matter to me, I know the things that make my heart sing and my eyes go bright. I know the things that make my daughter’s heart sing and what makes her eyes go bright. She loves music and just can’t help moving her gorgeous little body around when she hears it. Why should she ever, ever feel guilt or shame or shyness about doing something so harmless and which comes so innately to her? It’s ridiculous, and yet, here I am recognising the fact that I have learnt to associate guilt with the things I love.
So Danielle’s Truthbomb said, “Dance for yourself”, and I know what that means to me. It means honouring the things that nourish me, that always have nourished me, and therefore lead me back to my soul, by retraining myself, rewiring my brain to associate these things with their true meaning and purpose - to nurture my soul, to make me full, to make me me.
This won’t just happen all by itself. I know it will take commitment and ‘doing’, rather than just thinking. I mean today I needed to rest, I’m tired and I’m apprehensive about a very busy upcoming few days. So good on me, I read and drank tea and now I’m writing. This is good, but it’s only the start. What’s the good of doing that if I then feel guilty about not doing all the things I could have done instead? Absolutely nothing, no good in it at all.
And there you have it. Once again, it’s not only the ‘doing’ - that can often be the easy bit. The step up comes from how I feel about what I do, the thoughts I associate with the thing I did. I can choose to feel as if it nourished me and was therefore probably the very best thing I could do with my time, or I could feel guilty and think about all the other stuff I ‘should’ have done instead.
Today I choose to feel the way my special things naturally make me feel instead of overlaying them with useless feelings like guilt. That’s what dancing for myself means to me.
Rewire that brain! Choose nourishment. Choose contentment. Choose soul. Then practise, practise, practise.