A couple of months ago, my partner Neil and I went to a salsa bootcamp to learn how to dance, connect on a deeper level, and have some fun. Like all life experiences, it was a perfect opportunity to practice mindfulness, especially non-judging.
While salsa looks smooth, sexy, and intuitive, (kind of like ice dancing) it was actually not any of those things, at least at first. We repeated steps and counts and mantras and repeated steps and counts and mantras and all the while, I these common judgmental thoughts kept replaying in my head:
Everyone else is better than me… Why is this so hard for me? I’m not doing it right… This isn’t working for me… This is taking too long… There must be something wrong with me… I’ll never be a good dancer…
Do any of these judgments sound familiar? To judge is to form an opinion or conclusion about something, often prematurely. Our brains are constantly labeling, categorizing, and deciding if something or someone is good or bad, right or wrong, liked or disliked.
Judging statements about ourselves or others do not serve us in any way, in fact they limit us. Judging keeps us small and our heart tight and closed so we do not fully experience the moment.
- Make good eye contact
- Be the water and flow with your partner
- Don’t take the lead or correct when you partner makes a mistake
- Have fun
Non-judging keeps us open and receptive instead of defensive and closed to something we are not familiar with or accustomed to. It also supports us to try new things, (like salsa) even if we aren’t very good at them. So stop judging and start dancing in any area of your life!