[9.2.19 draft] swing dancing & my parents

dancing has helped me understand so much more about myself and life, in the gentlest way possible.

in the wordless “conversation” I’ve shared with many people during my dance lessons, I’ve learned so much about myself: how hard I pushed myself to be amazing and impress people (and for what reason?) and how self-interested I am in the way I live my life.

I’ve been told this about myself and perhaps have come to this conclusion due to other previous life events, but only just now remembered this about myself and understood more of why I am like this.

I can be so hard on myself. I would tell myself that the reason I was so selfish and attention-seeking is because I’m not doing x, y, and z when perhaps… I was in actuality doing too many things and just not completely understanding why I was the way I was.

I realise now that a lot of it has to do with my relationship with my parents. I tend to put them on a pedestal, which blinds me to a lot of the seemingly harmless but actual flaws in the way they conduct themselves. They are very industrious people, but they can sometimes be prone to doing too much for my sisters and me because… acts of service is probably the best, practical way they can think of to show love.

In my very early childhood, it seemed that I earned most of my mom’s affection when I made good grades and received recognition from my teacher. I craved this affection so much so that one time I was willing to lie about receiving recognition from my teacher in order to receive acknowledgment from my mom (I was also perhaps testing the omniscience of my mom too – could she actually tell when I’m lying)? I actually got away with the benign lie I told my mom, but this success only made me feel so terrible that I decided that I would never lie to her again. The affectionate headpat I received from my mom was undeserved, and I had manipulated her trust in me by planting a false notion in her head.

But this (seemingly) sometimes conditional, sometimes unconditional love confused me. Did I need to do something in order to merit this affection from my parents (or other people for that matter)? Thus, began my sense of entitlement in my dealings with others – if I did x for person y, then they’ll do z (something that I really want) for me. The problem with this value is that it doesn’t even consider the other person’s needs or desires, and it completely forgets that their sole purpose in life isn’t to serve me!

Looking back, I know that my parents want me to do well in life by demonstrating value to society. Indeed, by acquiring the habit of studying (or perhaps more accurately, cramming) my butt off, I received respect and admiration that was often independent of my appearance. This was a stable, positive source of attention that helped my self-image. But then there’s the danger of accidentally identifying too much with my successes…

Anyway, dancing is cool. Would highly recommend!

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

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