"For Beginners" (reprinted
from ZAGHAREET! Mar/Apr. 2003)
by Anthea Kawakib Poole
"The road of life is rocky,
and you will stumble too; so while you point your
finger, someone else is judging you"*
Joining belly dance class opens up a whole new world, doesn't it? Of course, along with the fun, you find the 'not-so-fun' too. Being from the D.C. area, I'd call it 'politics', but it just boils down to insecurity in action. How else to explain the clans and cliques? Sometimes it seems that EVERYONE belongs to one or the other group: freestyle dancers vs. choreographers; tribal dancers vs. cabaret; authentic vs. fantasy dancers; and on and on.
I hope you find your classmates enjoyable and stimulating. But there may be some you don't like. Maybe you disapprove of their lifestyle or beliefs. Maybe they've offended you by their attitude or remarks. Or did they? Maybe these are just excuses to mask your own insecurities and doubts!
Two things can keep people from getting along: REAL affronts, and IMAGINED ones.
"That's silly" you say, "IMAGINED slights aren't important!" Of course they're not - but who IMAGINED them? YOU DID! So in YOUR mind, they are just as upsetting as real ones. Conversely, if you MIND is so powerful, you can change the way you feel about other people's actions - or the way you perceive them - and be happier.
Sooner or later you'll need an effective (and charitable) way of resolving slights, insults, and personal affronts. It doesn't matter if YOU are the only one who thinks something's wrong - if you think it, then it is.
See how much power your
thoughts have? If you "change your mind" about being offended,
the anxiety dissolves and you regain your even keel.
I have a story to share about how I changed my own attitude about someone and made myself much happier (and nicer to be around).
Years ago there was a dancer who, just by being the way she was, really got under my skin. Not only were her costumes tacky (I thought), but she was a total show-off - bold and gutsy onstage, and offstage, always "blowing her own horn" about her latest exciting activities and accomplishments. Of course she was also gorgeous and a great dancer. Anyway, I couldn't stand her, tried to avoid her, and was less than gracious when I did have to converse with her. Honestly, I don't think she even noticed, or if she did, she never let on - that either shows how self-centered she was, or else how gracious she was to ignore my bad attitude.
After several years of this, I was getting ready to go to a dance event where I knew I'd see her, and I just decided to change my attitude! I decided that I would accept her the way she was, and be - and feel - friendly to her. Do you think something so simple would work? It did! I was actually amazed that I could, just by deciding to, ENJOY her company Instead of shunning it. Can you believe that now I actually seek her out to chat? SHE didn't change, I did.
You might say that was no big deal
because she didn't really insult or affront me personally -
well, actually, I considered her character an affront in itself!
The point is, I accepted the fact that she and I were different,
and I became more tolerant of people's idiosyncrasies and even
mistakes. A strong sense of self-worth not only routs
intolerance, but helps one develop compassion. With our stress
level so high these days because of the international situation
we all need to eliminate as many "negatives" as we can.
If there's someone in your life who "just bugs you" by being the way they are, then just for fun, take this little step toward self-mastery and see if you can simply CHANGE your attitude toward them. You'll enjoy the results!* "Could You Be Loved?" - Bob Marley