“I’m Too Un-Co”, “I Have Two Left Feet” and other unhelpful things we tell ourselves to get out of trying new things (which could turn out to be quite fun!)
Of course the context I hear this type of thing is mostly in relation to joining a belly dance class, but in general trying new things can be confronting and a little bit scary sometimes! As adults we have had a bit of experience doing the things we do each day such as working, playing sport and driving etc so we feel in control, effective and efficient much of the time.
When a new activity or challenge is proposed either consciously or sub-consciously we may be thinking What if I can’t do it? What if I look silly? What if the people are weirdos? What if they think I’m a weirdo?
Well let me reassure you – if you try something for the first time you probably won’t be able to do all of it straight away! But how boring would life be if we could do everything straight away & had nothing to strive for, nothing to achieve? You may well look a little silly sometimes, but likely no one is looking, and if they are they probably feel like they can relate from just a little while ago when they looked silly trying it for the first time themselves. As for the people being weirdos I guess that’s more subjective but if you are too then you’ll fit right in!
We recently had the pleasure of hosting Kristine Adams of FatChanceBellyDance® in San Francisco for a weekend of workshops and she shared with us an idea that I think is worth passing on: when we are learning new things as babies & small children initially we fail many, many times before finally mastering the new skill, but no one ever says to the baby “you suck at crawling/talking etc so why not give it up now? And don’t even bother thinking about walking, you’re clearly not cut out for it!”, but for some reason as adults that’s exactly what many of us tell ourselves! So when learning something new why not go easy on yourself, just as if you were a baby.
One of the many things I think is awesome about my partner (Imaginary Derek to you) is that he has no hesitation trying new things. He took up surfing at 40, and for quite a long time he mostly just fell off. When speaking to my former employer about Derek’s surf adventures he said that he’s always wanted to try surfing himself but wouldn’t try it now as he didn’t want to be ‘that old guy sucking at something’. They are pretty much the same age by the way, but now two years later Derek’s favourite activity (even in the winter!) is surfing – actual surfing, not just falling off, while my former employer is probably safely ensconced on his couch watching TV.
Trying new things is good for the brain, it keeps you from getting stuck in a rut and you may just make some great friends and find your new favourite activity, so in the spirit of encouraging everyone to do just that here is a video of me and my two left feet looking very un-co (but having a lot of fun!) following along behind my awesome hip hop teacher: