Confidence

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Do something that scares you every day. Be brave. Own it.

All of these statements boil down to believing in yourself. Knowing that you are capable to take that step into unknown waters. That you are strong enough to make it through whatever might be on the other side.

I take tap dancing classes and have been doing so for a little over a year. I love my tap classes. I love the people in my class. About 6 months into our "Beginning Tap" series (I just kept registering for the same 6-week session), our teacher pulled a few of us aside and let us know that she wanted to make a new class just for us. An "Advanced Beginning Tap." Not Advanced Tap, Advanced Beginning. This was perfect for those of us who were starting to outgrown the beginning class, but not quite ready to dance with the "big kids." And it was comfortable.

Recently, our instructor moved to Kentucky and a new instructor was hired. And our Advanced Beginning class was canceled. Before our instructor left, she let us all know that we belonged in the Advanced class and made sure that we knew NOT to register for the beginning class again.

Fast forward to last week's first Advanced Tap class. The room was visibly divided: there were the people from the Advanced class and then those of us from "That Other Class." We certainly didn't feel welcome by the more advanced students. But, there's power in numbers, and I gave my former classmates a little pep talk as we walked into class. "Don't worry. We belong here as much as they do. Emily wouldn't have told us to take this class if she didn't think we were ready." But it was hard; we were all nervous.

An interesting thing happened once class started. While the more advanced students knew more steps than we did, they weren't necessarily better dancers. We were still pretty mixed-level students. Some of the folks from my old class actually danced better than some of the people from the more advanced class. Not that it was a competition or anything...And when I asked the instructor to run through a sequence more slowly, the more advanced students nodded in solidarity with me. And an understanding formed that we are all at different levels and we're all trying to learn something new and be our own personal best. I'm not concerned if someone is a better dancer than I am. I'm concerned if I am not giving my all to be the best dancer that I can be.

But then, insecurity is a bitch.  And it can be debilitating, even paralyzing at times. I've come to realize that insecurity and lack of confidence seem to be the primary things holding people back from living the lives they want and having the happiness they seek. Making a drastic life change is scary and, without the confidence that things will work out for the better, it almost seems like you're walking into failure. I trust myself to make the best decisions for myself. I have the confidence in my decisions to know that what I decide is right. But, I have to constantly fight the voice in my head that says, "What if things don't get better? What if you're wrong? What if what everyone else has been saying you should do this whole time is really what you should do?"

I answer back to those doubts and say, "It's okay if it doesn't work out. Because even if it doesn't, I stood up for myself and demanded better. And, that's an improvement right there. It's okay if I'm wrong, because at least I would have learned lessons in the process of being wrong. And I would have gained strength of character that will make things easier for myself on the next go-round."

And I've come to realize that the scary things are okay. And should be sought out. And the experiences cherished. Because, really, if you're not crashing, you're not trying.

Photo credit: .Dianna.