(image from Chrono Trigger. I don’t know why it came to mind)
In Richard Powers’ dance classes (Social 1), there’s a strong emphasis on his dance (and life) philosophy of adaptation. Adapting to your partner, welcoming chance intrusions, and being happy with the way that things are. He talks to us about stress, and about how one of the major sources of stress is people being upset when things don’t go the way that they want. He relates this to dancing as sort of a dig on people who insist that there’s only one right way to do a dance. Which is actually not a bad way of thinking, although sometimes it probably leads to dancing that is a little too heavily weighted on the “unstructured” side. And I say that while thinking of my own dancing and how i need to clean it up a little more to feel happy with it.
But when he gave one of these talks in social 1 last year (i’m pretty sure it was 1), I actually started getting depressed. Even visibly so, such that Yun gently asked if I was okay. Because you see, that kind of advice is exactly what I -don’t- need. I guess I do need it in some cases, but for my life…hearing that advice just made me sad. Because I’m already the sort of person who just lets everything be–the kind of person who says that everything is okay. And I’ve gotten into almost insurmountable trouble because of it.
I briefly mentioned this near the end of my dance essay, but I didn’t want to press it too hard because of two reasons. The first, just because I wanted to respect his viewpoint and not go against it (a living example of exactly what I’m writing about), and secondly, just because I feel like most people need that advice anyways…just not me, because I’m at the wrong end of the spectrum.
Ironically enough, more than one person has told me that what they want of me is to start doing the things that I want myself…
It’s weird though. I feel like sometimes the only way I can do that is to adopt a bitter and selfish mindset. “feh, I’m not going to care about them. screw whatever they think; i’m going to do what I want right now and i should be entitled to it because i’m never like this usually”.
On the one hand, it does end up making me more “selfish”, but on the other hand…it worries me.
What exactly am I supposed to do here?
I guess the enneagram analysis tells me to take care of myself first and not be so “doing” for others. I have mixed feelings about that, but i think the more sensical advice for myself is that whenever I want something, I should tell someone. When I’m unhappy, I should show it. That’s probably the best advice.
But it’s so hard…
unfortunately the only way to get better is through slow, gradual practice. There are other fun tricks and gimmicks that are possible though, that might make the process seem a little less arduous. Things like making thoughtstream posts…or making posts that are solely concentrated on my desires, or minddump posts. or posts that are written to unnamed people, because it might be easier to form requests of people without actually making requests to them.
On the plus side, I have gotten away from doing things for people all of the time. But…I think that’s more a result of business than anything else. In fact, I don’t even know if I can say that’s a good thing, or one that I want to last at all.