Wednesday, April 13, 2016
It Takes One to Tango
It takes one person to tango--at least to tango well.
Too much reliance on another person in any relationship can spoil that relationship. Over-reliance on one's partner can create a great burden on the person you "need" and that can, in turn, spoil the relationship. Many people know this truism in love relationships, but then leave this wisdom at home, only to go off to a milonga expecting that someone else might bring them to dance Nirvana. In reality, we need to start with ourselves. Ours respective roles. Our balance. Do that and watch what happens.
It takes one person to tango. You. You are the one and only person you can bring to the dance. Sure, the goal is to dance in tandem with another. But how much do we need to take responsibility for our own dance enjoyment? Never let it dip below 50/50 on responsibility; 90/10 is the ideal. Practice by yourself and it's 100%. Solo practice will help you be realistic about your partner's smaller part. It takes on YOU to also NOT to dance or partner with anyone. Taking responsibility to say yes or no is the currency of self-worth. There are two sides to the same worthless coin: Entirely blaming others when things go bad, and the flip side is fully giving credit to your partner for a great dance. This counterfeit lead coin is worthless in life and in tango.
The phrase "it takes two to tango" is the most famous tango phrase used by the general public. I often hear it being used to talk about a fight! What is the solution here? Isn't it going back to self-responsibility? If given the chance, tango can teach the opposite of over-dependency on a partner. The first major change in my life that tango inspired was that I was no longer so hopelessly dependent on a love relationship to feel happily fulfilled. After finding tango's power of social connection, love relationships were of better quality, and I brought more to my relationships.
Tango found me late in 2006, I was mobilized as an Army Reservist thousands of miles from home. I was away from my young children and divorcing a wife of eleven years. Miraculously, I was more centered and happier in many ways than anytime in my life. What was this new thing, called tango? Sure, the value of social touch and communication helped my resilience, along with other things that also had helped me--such as participating in triathlons. But something was different when I started dancing tango. I was learning to let a woman who was off balance not throw me off balance. I was learning to listen to my own body and then be aware of where my partner was--not only on which foot she was standing but her mood and self-respect. Also, I spent more time practicing dancing by myself than with any partner. I still do.
I was learning that it takes one to tango.
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Tango of course is about the beauty of tandem dancing; so please do not take one of the above paragraphs out of context. The truism of what makes one truly ready for a relationship or for tango's Tandem-Nirvana will always start with self-respect, self-reliance and self-esteem.