You’ve probably heard that call to joy, “dance like no one is watching.” Though I’m a bit jaded by its overuse, it came across my desk again this morning in an article from The Daily Om.
The article, “Like No One Is Watching: Shake Your Tail Feathers,” talks about how fun it can be to seek out our suppressed idiosyncracies and eccentricities–those delightfully individual and unique qualities and tendencies and traits that we’ve hidden from the world because they make us stand out as too different. Or worse, we worry that people will disapprove of us.
Life as we know it is so short. Making the most of years we are granted is a matter of being ourselves even though we know that we will inevitably encounter people who disapprove of our choices. When you shake your tail feathers like no one is watching, you will discover that there are many others who appreciate you because you are willing to let go of any inhibition. By doing this you help others know it is okay. No one else in the world is precisely like you and, each time you revel in this simple fact, you rededicate yourself to the celebration of individuality.
As a recovering “people pleaser” who used to be (notice the past tense) crushed whenever anyone disapproved of me, I know what it’s like to pretend not to be a certain way, to feel as if I had to tone it down.
But one area where this article rang true for me today was in terms of fitness. I’ve found that as soon as I find something I love, along come all sorts of “rules” about the way it’s supposed to be done, what it’s good for (fat loss? body composition? cardio strength? something else), whether I can do it and still do the other things I enjoy.
Right now I’m facing this in the wake of new (to me) information about the way my endurance training goals might push in the opposite direction from my body composition goals (I do want to get a bit leaner for the summer triathlon season, and, yes, for my fiftieth birthday!). Turns out (according to some sources) that those lean endurance athletes were always genetically disposed to be lean, not that they got that way from their training.
I’m going to post more fully next week about what I’m learning and hearing (blog post on cortisol–good, bad, or indifferent–coming right up!). But today’s Daily Om came at a good time for me. How much do I want to be influenced by what people are saying as opposed to what I love doing?
I think for those of use who pursue our activities because we love them and who let ourselves be guided by that instead of by what we think we should be doing, setting aside the expectations of others and the social pressure to do “this thing in that way” can do a world of good.
That’s what was so great about Rebecca’s story of boxing and powerlifting. We so love to hear about people who broke out of the mold and forged their own path that the Huffington Post picked up her story.
For every person who might judge or disapprove of an individual pursuing her goals unencumbered by social pressure to conform (feminists, anyone?), there’s a host of others who such examples nudge in the direction of going for it themselves (again, feminists!).
It’s really time to stop looking over my shoulder to see who is watching. What would you do differently in your fitness pursuits (and your life) if you felt that no one was watching? If you said nothing would change, congratulations!