🤔 How comfortable are you communicating discomfort? How comfortable are you receiving that feedback?

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We all have moments where things don’t go as planned. Where we try something and fail. Or worse, where we try something and someone else gets hurt. Sometimes, it’s obvious where the mistake was and who was responsible. But sometimes it’s not that clear.

Taking Responsibility

When that clarity doesn’t exist it’s important for us to take a step back and reflect before pointing fingers. If our mentality is that the mistakes couldn’t possibly be our fault, then there will always be a limit to what we can achieve, how much we can grow, and how much we can contribute to any relationship.

Communicating Discomfort
Photo: Sloat Media

Communicating Discomfort

In a social improvised partner dance, too often we find ourselves in uncomfortable and painful situations. Maybe the lead was too strong. Or maybe the follower over rotated on her own. Maybe the fear of doing a new movement resulted in both partners tensing up. In most cases, roughness, pain and discomfort aren’t intentional. They happen because we aren’t paying attention, because we don’t have the proper technique, because there isn’t a high level of trust between us and our partners. This is why it’s important for us to get comfortable communicating discomfort to our partners to not only prevent injury, but also to help each other grow and have fun.

communicating discomfort
Photo: Visuals by Marc

Processing Feedback

On the flip side of communicating discomfort is receiving that feedback and learning how to process it constructively. If any criticism of our movements is immediately received as an attack then we will end up spending more time unnecessarily mounting a defense instead of trying to correct the error and improving ourselves. The only way to go directly to the second course of action of reflection and action is to not look at criticism as a permanent stamp on who we are. If we are told that we are doing something with too much force, that doesn’t mean we are forceful and aggressive. It just means that we need to reduce that force in the future or at least with that person. It’s not easy to hear that you might have done something to hurt or cause discomfort to someone else but the goal in hearing that is not to linger on the words, not to make it personal and defend yourself, but to act, improve, and provide a more comfortable experience.

Questions to ask yourself:

🔹Has anyone ever verbally communicated pain or discomfort to you?
🔹Have they communicated it through non-verbal actions?
🔹Did you notice?
🔹How did you react?
🔹If you reacted defensively, do you think you would react better next time?

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