When you start belly dance class, your friends and family will want to know “why” so I’m sure you’ve given it some thought, or at least, thought of a good answer! Whatever your reasons, I hope your circle of family and friends will give you support and encouragement - that’s a big element in how successful you’ll be at reaching your goals. One of your relationships though–actually, the most important one--will probably be quite negative and undermining. Will you cave in under the pressure and give up? You’re probably thinking, “Of course not, I’m ‘liberated’; I’m in charge of my life and I can decide what I want to do, and how to spend my time and energy”, right? But this relationship could be dragging you down without you even being aware of it. It affects us most in the classroom–but in fact, it affects all we do!
I’m talking about the relationship we have
with our body image. That relationship is real, with or
without mirrors, and you bring it with you wherever you go.
Body image “issues” can lead to low self-esteem, triggering the automatic Ego-Defense System (let’s call it “EDS”) and causing numerous (even unconscious) glitches (both in and out of the classroom) in reaching your goals. Belly dance can be your road map to discovering and revealing your “Authentic Self” ONLY IF you are ready to deal with it. If you’re not, you’ll do everything you can to avoid the reality of acknowledging your real self, and preserving whatever self-image you already have. Yes, even if it’s negative. Your EDS will twist your negative feelings about yourself into a False Positive, and could launch you into playing a leading role like “top student”, or even belly dance “star” or “expert”.
If that sounds like a stretch, remember that you can’t really deny ANY part of your Self, whether it’s the body, mind, or spirit. There’s no running away–you have to deal with what you see in the mirror, as well as what’s in your head and heart. And by “deal with” I mean accept, and love (which equals, of course, “unconditional love”).
Assess your inner self-image and defensive ego trips; you can overcome negative programming even though it started early in your life and continues now unabated via our “culture”.Your inner creative spirit is responsible for the largely unconscious drive to “better yourself”, even image-wise, and that’s probably why you chose to take belly dance. And what a refreshing discovery it must be to attend a local show or hafla and see women of all ages, shapes, and sizes not only dancing onstage, but looking confident, well-groomed, and attractive.