On Halloween morning this year, I considered whether or not I should wear a costume to my Zumba class.
At first, it seemed like an inconsequential decision.
Wear one, don't wear one, who really cares, right??!!
But as the day transpired, I realized there were a couple of things that did feel important about my eventual decision to don a little devil outfit and head to class.
In a previous post, I talked about how fear of others’ judgement can get in the way of enjoying the present moment.
That piece also touched on how judging others can be a protective strategy, an attempt to keep ourselves from looking at things that feel scary or shameful. Judgement can also be a way of trying to make ourselves less vulnerable so that, theoretically, we can't be let down or rejected.
When we judge others, we create a barrier which makes it difficult to experience the connection we so desperately crave.
Very often we turn that judgement around to ourselves.
At times, self-judgment can be another kind of protective strategy: if I criticize myself before others do, I can’t be hurt.*
*Note: This does not actually work.
After working with people for many years, certain universal truths began to reveal themselves.
We all long for connection.
We all long to be seen, understood, loved and accepted.
And: We are terrified these things won't ever happen.
We feel ashamed. We feel lonely. We feel afraid.
We compare ourselves and our lives to others and we rarely measure up.
When welcoming new people to class, my Zumba teacher often tells them not to worry about what other people are thinking.
"No one is watching you. I promise."
fara tucker, lcsw
therapist~consultant~teacher in Portland, Oregon