The world we live in today is open. Yet most people still have the same conversations with the same people and wonder why nothing changes. It is those who don’t want to be like everyone else who are often misunderstood by a society where conformity is the norm.
I’ll give you an example. I recently went to an event, which was a celebration. We arrived from the rain and the traditional cocktail party was taking place but what was different was that I felt I was with people I adored, friends who shared an amazing life changing experience of being in the heart of the earth in the Amazon Rainforest. There was a shared purpose of a bigger mission around the world we live in to ensure all people and cultures survive.
I felt happy and connected although I only knew 20 percent of the people there. We were ushered into a beautiful and magical ballroom where about 20 tables were set. We headed toward our assigned table and settled in. The MCs for the evening came out to ease us in and let us know when it was our turn to get our dinner from the buffet, which was spread across three corners of the magnificent ballroom. They told us it was an opportunity to connect in conversation yet they had a full agenda for the evening. We were inspired and entertained and afterwards it was time to dance. Many of them needed an outlet to celebrate their hard work.
The second the music started, everyone jumped up and headed to the dance floor. I could tell the people who just wanted to let go and have their bodies take them to the freedom of being one with the music. I wasn’t one of them. I was tired and happy to sit still and watch the passion of the people who loved to dance unfold in front of me like a musical. I sat back for the first time that week and breathed. The music and watching all these amazing people truly let go and have fun was my enough. I was content.
But for some reason, my past returned to haunt me. I have spent so much of my life today allowing myself to be who I am and not be influenced by the right thing to wear, the right thing to say or the right way to be. I no longer care about fitting in. I don’t like to dance in public. It’s not my way of letting go. I am perfectly happy dancing on my own and my favorite place to dance is in water. Some people like to swim 100 laps in their pool, I love to dance and move in the pool. I have been married twice and at both weddings, there was no dancing. And I had two divorce parties where I traveled to reflect and maybe danced one night in beautiful Santorini in the ocean.
For some reason, my choice to enjoy my evening the way I wanted to was an issue for other people who kept trying to drag me on the dance floor. I enjoyed watching them let go and have fun the way they enjoyed it. But they assumed I was not having fun because I was not doing what they were doing. Was I simply transported back in time to school where I was expected to do everything possible to fit in?
My empathy lens came on where I decided to put myself in their dancing shoes. Their intent was pure. They wanted me to enjoy dancing because they were having a great time. They saw me sitting alone at the table and assumed I needed some coercion to get on the dance floor. I did twice when people I hugely respected and loved dragged me on. But as soon as they weren’t looking, I slipped away since I didn’t feel a need to be dancing at that moment in time. I just wasn’t in the mood to dance and that was okay by me.
I was blissfully happy enjoying the evening my own way. I am still processing my trip to the jungle and am at a creation point in my life so I cherish those moments of tranquility where I can let go and show up as me. I am in a million situations where my need to show up is often misunderstood in a world where being like everyone else is the norm. A world where people don’t realize we are wasting our energy being jealous of other people and recognizing that everyone has issues and a story. That story makes us who we are and then we have a choice as we get older to choose who we want to show up as. I will mostly show up as the woman who loves to watch others dance. And maybe just maybe once or twice, you will find me on the dance floor when it is what I want to do.
One of the biggest gifts we have in life, if we have our emotional and physical health, is the power of choice. When we figure out what makes us happy — whatever that may be — it is okay to be different. In a world that tries to make us like everyone else, knowing our enough when it comes to money and adventures helps bring that peacefulness in our lives. And like anything in life, it takes hard work to allow ourselves to show up and simply be. Every one of us has different needs and being clear helps us enjoy our journey. What do you need to be able to dance to your own beat?
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