Digging Deep for Courage

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Maybe you have a big decision looming over your head.  Maybe you feel in your gut like something isn’t right but if you admit that or go ahead and make this change, it feels like it will impact others, like it will cause upset, confusion, or judgement.  This is often what difficult decisions feel like and 90% of the time, when you come out on the other side, it wasn’t actually as bad as you had anticipated.  In the end it turns out that those around you are far more understanding and supportive than you expected.  I don’t know if there’s a way to make difficult decisions less difficult but what I do know is that your mind can either be the inner supporter or inner sabotager during the process.  Digging deep for courage is a skill of the mind tied with the heart.  I feel so fortunate to have had my friend willing to share her big courage moment on the blog today.  Pay attention to her expectations vs. the end result.

Thank you to my friend who was brave enough to share her story:

“Since the age of 8 I loved to dance. I began by bustin’ a move to the Spice Girls (no joke) in my neighbours’ backyard and soon after, I joined a studio. I became a competitive dancer and my love for movement grew. At the young age of 14, I also figured out that I wanted to be an elementary school teacher. After meeting with a guidance counselor, she told me about this amazing program at York University where I could do my undergraduate degree in Dance and then complete the Concurrent Education Program (where I would become a school teacher) and finish in five short, amazing years. What could be better?!

When I started in the dance program I was so excited. This excitement quickly faded when I felt constantly judged, compared and evaluated on my dancing everyday. Instead of gracefully twirling and leaping across the floor because I loved it and it was my passion, I was doing everything I could do to get an “A” on my mid term report. It was no longer fun as I had mixed my passion with my education and it wasn’t working for me like I had expected. I remember a few instances where I felt humiliated and very anxious in the program. Teachers, my peers, and of course myself were all contributing to my negative self talk and in turn making me unhappy. I was afraid to admit that I felt this way, but I was noticing a trend. Throughout the first two years of this program I was dealing with my fair share of mental health struggles, and this toxic environment was not helping.

Something had to change.

I clearly remember the day I phoned my mom while bawling my eyes out and telling her I was unhappy, wasn’t feeling right and that this dance program was toxic for me. My mom helped me decide on counseling and the potential of changing programs. I took this courageous leap, went into counseling, and switched to the Children Studies undergrad program. This program would help me reach my final goal of becoming a schoolteacher and put me in a healthier environment. I was very anxious to make the switch from dance to children’s studies. I feared judgement from my roommates and family. I feared judgement from my roommates, as I was worried they would think less of me and I worried about being “left out” as all four of them were in the dance program too. I needed to get over some serious FOMO and accept my new path! The judgement I feared from my family/parents was because they had helped pay for my education and I thought I would lose time, money and credits by making the switch. I also thought that they would simply be disappointed in me.

How wrong was I?  All of my fear was created in my own mind and I couldn’t have been more wrong. Both my friends and family were incredibly supportive and told me how brave and courageous I was for being honest with myself, realizing I wasn’t happy and making the switch! And to my luck, most of my credits that I had completed in the dance program transferred over as electives in my new program and I only needed to do summer school over one summer to catch myself up. This allowed me to graduate on time and relieved many of my worries.

Luckily I heard about all the dance program drama and gossip through my roommates, I had other stories to share with them about my new program, was fortunate to be able to see them perform, and guess what…. I was happy! A strong dose of yoga, therapy, an undergrad program change, and a whole lot of love from my friends and family helped me through this tough time. I was honest, compassionate and put my happiness first. I highly recommend it!”

Hope this leaves you feeling like you can conquer your next tricky decision.  Dig deep!



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