"The more you know yourself, the more patience you have for what you see in others."
~ Erik Erikson
Have you ever met someone who just can’t seem to get out of their own way? What can you do to help someone who is their own worst enemy? Why do some people always seem to sabotage themselves?
One of the skills we humans are known for is our ability to recognize patterns. We naturally notice when something happens a certain way over and over again. Unfortunately, through some odd quirk of nature, it’s easier for us to recognize them outside of ourselves than it is to look within.
You may be one of the lucky people who’ve never had to deal with a troublesome personality. Perhaps you’ve only ever been surrounded by positive and functional self-actualized people. Or perhaps lives like that only exist in the movies.
It’s more likely that you live in the real world, and have encountered any number of problematic people and the circumstances they create around themselves. Dysfunction doesn’t discriminate, it’s an equal opportunity destroyer that arrives in many forms.
Have you ever known a person with a story that goes like this? They make a new best friend. The level of engagement and excitement zooms from 0 to 60 in no time at all. New best friend balks and there is a tiny perceived slight. The slight instantly escalates into total drama. Drama turns to blame and recriminations. Last months new best friend becomes this months new worst enemy. Wash, rinse, repeat.
Sadly, the unwitting person caught up in this mess is left reeling and wondering what hit them. Hopefully they got through it unscathed and learned some life lessons about people that will prove valuable along the way. I was that person more than once in my early years, I’m older and wiser now!
Much of life is a dance between the desire for connection and the need for healthy boundaries. The thing to remember is that good friendships are based on showing up 100%. It takes some patience to spot unhealthy patterns but learning how will save you a lot of grief in the long run.
I had a remarkably deep conversation with my daughter yesterday. There’s a girl in her 5th grade class who almost achieved friend status who is now squarely on the ‘mean girl’ list. My daughter was describing her pattern of cycling through friends and explaining how she makes a point of having a new hair color every month, complete with a verbal tally of her Instagram likes.
We were talking about the difference between superficial acquaintances and deep friendships. About how some people manage to embroil themselves in turmoil like a magnet. And how a life of strife can lead to drama, dis-ease, or disaster.
I shared that learning how to spot patterns is a valuable life skill. And how sometimes it’s better to go slow and be patient when getting to know someone new, since some people are better left as acquaintances only. At the very least, be observant and perceptive and learn to trust your internal radar.
She wisely pointed out that this person probably has low self-esteem and is seeking superficial attention to bolster her ego. She said she sort of feels sorry for her. My advice was rather than judge her or make her a bad person, the safer route is to simply be kind and don’t get wrapped up in her drama. One never knows what’s going on in someone else’s life behind the scenes.
We talked more about self-esteem, and how to cultivate it. Everyone has moments of self-doubt when our mental warts and cosmic wrinkles cloud our consciousness. The healthy choice is to learn how to accept ourselves as we are and get on with life.
Great relationships are like “mutual appreciation societies.” You know what it feels like when a real friend spontaneously praises your outfit or complements your work. Looking for opportunities to do the same for people you care about is an important way to strengthen and maintain the connection. Honest and unsolicited praise is like oxygen for the soul, whether you’re the giver or receiver.
Self-esteem bolstered this way is deep and lasting, unlike superficial comments or ‘likes’ on a post. Having a strong sense of self and a positive outlook on life is one of the main ways to avoid being that drama-magnet of a person who is always shooting themselves in the foot. If you find yourself possibly dealing with a problematic pattern in the making, patience and prudence are your allies.
Be like Teflon to troublemakers, and they will find other things to cling to. And if you can do it with loving kindness up your sleeve, you’re doing them a service by modeling a way of being that could serve them better down the road. That’s the dance of patience and patterns — may you find balance between your boundaries and connections along the way!
Much love, (and heaps of appreciation!) ’til next week 😉
Dance First New Member Spotlight :: UK's 5Rhythms Ambassador Emma Leech & her BodyJazz workshop and Barefoot Love Letters retreat in Rome!
This week’s Dance First Member Spotlight shines on Emma Leech, (aka Emma Dance), our newest member of the Dance First family. Emma is an energetic and enthusiastic facilitator of the 5Rhythms based in the East Sussex region of the UK. We’re excited to introduce her to you and tell you about some of the outstanding events she has coming up!
“I am from South East London, and have been a student to the practice of the 5Rhythms for 29 years. I aim to bring passion and warmth with a sense of humour! ” Since she became certified as a 5Rhythms facilitator 19 years ago, she has led and inspired diverse groups ranging from the conscious dance workshop and retreat circuit to people in recovery, prisoners, at-risk teens, hospital patients and more.
“I feel privileged and humbled to be able to observe humanity it all its rich complexity heal and transform within this amazing healing art.” She’s certified as both a Waves Level and Heartbeat Level facilitator and travels the globe “teaching wherever the calling invites me.”
Coming soon on April 6th at the Horsebridge Arts Centre in Whitstable, UK, you’ve got an opportunity to join in BodyJazz, “a three-hour investigation of immersive movement that focuses on the language of each body part, opening up instinctive and creative expression, unlocking your unique dances.” Unfold into your body’s wisdom, dance deep into your spontaneous and freestyle dance, and move from ‘doing’ to ‘being’.
Then make your travel plans to Rome right away for Barefoot Love Letters, a 5-day Heartbeat Retreat at the epic Borgo Paola at Bracciano’s Lake in Rome, Italy. Borgo Paola is a beautiful healing arts centre with refined accommodation, pool and outdoor theatre, surrounded by spectacular nature, where you will walk amongst the trees, and be held by the wisdom, healing and nurturing that nature offers.
“ The whole body is an expression of the hearts‘ dance, when we move with surrendered grace and listen to whispers of the Souls’ voice sweeping us away deep into the mystery of who we are. The beat seduces our feet caressing the ground, earth’s tongue, plugging us into intuitive and inspired choreography. Barefoot Love Letters writing their poems, etched onto the empty space all around. Five days of surrendered exploration, allowing more time to go deeper within. A journey of dancing bodies, soul’s and heart’s coming together, in unity we can go further into our hearts dreams. We draw from the strength of the circle that will become a backbone of support.”
Emma says “Italy has become like a second home ” and she is the perfect guide for this all-inclusive retreat that will be led in both English and Italian.
Check out the Transitio-n website and prepare for your jaw to drop!
Learn more about Emma and reserve your spot at one of her events now at www.EmmaDance.co
Welcome to the Dance First Association Emma! We’re delighted to have you in the Conscious Dancer community!