WHOLEHEARTED LIVING is the teaching of Brené Brown. It helped me realized I have a limiting belief that laughter, songs and dance are for slackers.
This belief goes all the way back to my early teen years when I was learning about fables and their hidden moralistic message.
I remember one vividly. It was La Fontaine’s The Cicada and the Ant. Although there are different interpretations, the morals I was taught involved the virtues of hard work and the perils of improvidence.
They were portrayed by the ant spending time storing his food during the summer, while the cicada spent time singing and playing music.
When winter came, the cicada was famished without any food and had to beg the ant for a few grains to survive. I still remember my teacher’s words: “The moral of this fable is: work hard and save up for rainy days.”
Somewhere along the line, my understanding transmuted that into “singing and dancing are for slackers. Serious people work hard and don’t squander.”
No wonder I struggled when I first started out writing about songs, dance and laughter as good things for our mental health! That went against my limiting belief.
That being said, did you know that research shows that shame resilience requires laughter? Do you also realize that laughter is a spiritual form of communing and song/music can move us emotionally?
As an example, have you ever watched a movie on mute (no sound - neither talking nor music)? How flat was it?
In addition, did you know that dance – the kind that involves rhythm and movement – not coolness or hip popularity – is the equivalent of full-body vulnerability?
No wonder many of us are afraid of dancing.
We don’t laugh, sing or dance because of shame triggers. We’re afraid of being perceived as awkward, goofy, silly, spastic, uncool, immature, stupid, foolish, and out of control.
From her research, Brené Brown stated “Laughter, song, and dance create emotional and spiritual connection; they remind us of the one thing that truly matters when we are searching for comfort, celebration, inspiration, or healing: We are not alone. We are innately social beings, impelled almost instinctively to share our joy.”
Surprisingly, research data points out that the desire to be perceived as ‘cool’ and ‘in control’ comes down to worthiness. We want to control what other people think about us so we can feel good enough about ourselves.
After I realized my limiting beliefs around singing and dancing, I did a few EFT rounds (Emotional Freedom Techniques) to free myself from those outdated limiting beliefs and to reconsider my view on these activities.
THE NEW REALITY
Before I knew it, I had music playing while I was cooking and my body was mimicking dance moves. I have uttered some notes that sound like I attempted to sing along, but I wouldn’t qualify that as singing. I had some good laughs at myself somewhere in there – no judgement.
That was when I remember a quote from Mark Twain “Dance like no one is watching. Sing like no one is listening. Love like you’ve never been hurt and live like it is heaven on Earth.”
I sure was living up to the first two verses in my kitchen. It was fun.
As for the beliefs that I must work hard and laughter, song and dance are for slackers, they are replaced by new ones: I simply work – neither hard nor not hard – just work. And, it’s perfectly okay to laugh, sing and dance even when I look ridiculous. Having fun is the real goal.
Onto you, when was the last time you laughed heartily, sang and danced? Are you aware of your limiting beliefs?
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