Wednesday, January 10, 2024

Maybe tango is not Changing. You Are.


Is tango changing in ways you don't like? 

In my practice as a therapist, I have a new way to help people be "resilient."  The easy way to say this word is simply, "willing to change."  And the motto is, "Change more than the world around you changes."  The person who does this adapts and is resilient. 

How does this apply to maintaining your love for tango?  Simply "change more than the world around you changes."

So many people give up something because their loved activity changes.  "I don't dance anymore because __________.  Does tango need to change, or is it more about us?  Or does one really think that that the world won't change?  Either way, tango and dance are so precious, being able to adapt becomes a very important skill for any growing and vibrant human soul.

Here's an example. 

Outward change (or perception):  Let's say I say, "DJ's just don't know what they are doing anymore."
Reality:  I have gotten better at knowing the orchestras, and have danced at milongas that have had great DJ's.  I have developed and changed; not tango. But more knowledge is the easy change. My attitude and grumpiness are growing toxic, perhaps?  If so, change is needed.
Needed change in oneself:  Leaning tolerance. People are learning to be better.  Avoid being a snob.  Find the best in the music. Connect better to your partner. Be kind. Be social.  Being more of a connoisseur is the easier change. 

I can identify many things that I can change.  Why not work on them instead of worrying about the things I cannot change?

Let me introduce to you a powerful change theory that many therapists use: It's called Motivational Interviewing (MI).  MI helps change harmful behaviors, whereas advice, education, and knowledge are mostly ineffective. That is the paradox of being human:  We know something is not good for us, but cannot find it in us to stop this self-harm. We often find it worthless to castigate ourselves.  When others nag us to change our self-harm behavior may become worse.  MI helps people stop alcohol, drugs, tobacco, toxic relationships, and of course, harmful habits that are paired with dance.

Here are a few things that I need to change or in the past needed to change in my tango life:

  • Complaining mentally about others whom I perceive as being rude on the dance floor.
  • Mentally complaining about DJs who are not skilled.
  • Dancing without drinking enough water or resting enough.

    Two things have changed completely:  
  • Staying out late to dance during the week and suffering sleep deprivation the next day. 
  • Eating unhealthy things at the milonga or drinking alcohol.
I am NOT suggesting you change anything.  :-)  Asking someone to change generally does not work for therapists, parents, teachers, and between spouses!  But nearly all of us can work on something that we want to change. Think of what you would like to change.  In my next post, I will add more info about Motivational Interviewing and how effective parents, teachers, and spouses help others to change.   You will be able to apply it to all aspects of your life.

Add comments, if you like, to identify how you changed in a way that helped you stay active as a dancing being.


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