We’ve committed to tango. We’ve pushed ourselves to dance better, and we’ve become regulars at classes, prácticas, and milongas. Our skills are improving! Yet we either feel just as insecure as we did when we first started, or we encounter brand new insecurities.
Believe it or not, becoming more experienced with tango can actually make us more insecure. How can that be? Oddly enough, the more we learn, the more we realize that there’s so much we still don’t know. There’s literally a lifetime of knowledge we can glean from this dance, so it’s easy to get stuck feeling like a perpetual beginner even when our skills prove otherwise.
Another source of insecurity materializes when we start gaining more acceptance in a tango community. Before, we worried that we wouldn’t be good enough to fit in. But now that we do fit in, we worry about where we fit in. As a result, we catch ourselves playing the comparison game, where we “rank” ourselves in a mentally constructed hierarchy. Going down this rabbit hole only leads to a twisted perspective, quickly followed by misery.
Although increasing our technical skills is beneficial in many ways, that alone won’t resolve our tango insecurities. We need to work on tackling them while off the dance floor as well. To get us on the right mental track, let’s start by asking ourselves these questions:
– What are we able to do now that we weren’t able to do a week, month, or year ago?
– Why does tango make us happy?
– What tango goals, both small and large, have we achieved? How did we celebrate?
– What are some things about tango that we were afraid of before, but aren’t afraid of now?
– What are some big fears we had that never came true?
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