foto: Wendy van Slooten | Beeldsmaak

My sexy tango dress

Years ago, when I started dancing tango, I wanted a sexy dress. I found a very nice dress that swirled around me when I danced and which had a very nice low back. For years I have worn that dress with great pleasure and I looked super sexy and elegant in that dress. It draped beautifully and the fabric felt like a second skin. 

Over the years I added other tango dresses to my wardrobe and the dashing tango dress ended up somewhere in the back of the closet.

A while ago I was looking for my things to pack for the big move to Spain. We would be living in an holiday home there for the time being until the dream spot was found. It seemed smart to travel light and give a big part of my closet to charity.

And in the back of the closet lay that beautiful tango dress folded up. The deep colors smiled at me, still as seductive as then. I felt it tingling in my stomach again. I let the soft fabric slide through my hands… ‘Mmmhh I can still try it on, you never know.’  Over the years an ounce here and an ounce there had come in and out. Anyway, my shape now did not seem to dance with the dress, at least not in size. I was no longer the 30-year-old I was then, although with some willpower and effort I might well be able to regain that shape. Still, the dress would not be the same. I am a different person than the woman who once bought the dress. I have traveled a long way, new experiences, other experiences that have shaped me, that have also made me think and feel differently in my life.

That brings me to today’s theme:

What do we do with the beliefs we have? One could compare the beliefs to the tango dress.  We create the most beliefs when we are very small; our core beliefs. And at that point, they fit us perfectly in how they help us make meaning of the world and protect it. Many people carry their beliefs throughout their lives, despite having all kinds of wonderful experiences over the years that also teach and tell them other things. And that’s a shame because these early beliefs are a kind of thought warps created out of emotional experiences and learned patterns and frames of thought. They are like limiting filters on reality and they leave out a lot or distort and generalize unique new experiences, encounters, views that help us grow as human beings.

What would it be like if we occasionally ‘put on’ such an old belief very consciously, as I tried on my tango dress years later because it looked so beautiful? Would that belief still fit?  Or do we now have to try very hard to fit into it?  I noticed that I had old limiting beliefs that I could only continue to “fit” if I made myself smaller or less. And for quite a few years I kept faithfully adjusting myself to those limiting beliefs of ‘Not being good enough” and whatnot.  I could have done that with my tango dress: I could have gone on a diet, I could have worked out to get a different body. However, I chose to distance myself from the dress. It was good, that tango dress belonged to a certain time and to this time a different dress fits.

A few years ago, together with my tango dress, I put a number of limiting beliefs in charity’s ‘bag’. Beliefs also have an expiration date, for beliefs, just like the tango dress, don’t change. And we are always in motion, in an evolving state. There will irrevocably come a time when we want to live differently when we want to be full of life and be who we are deep inside. No more crash diets for body and mind. And then it’s time to do what I did with the tango dress.

I lovingly gave it to charity. Who knows, maybe someone else will be very happy with it now and the dress will be swaying across the dance floor with a different body.  You can do the same with your limiting beliefs. You CAN let them go lovingly.

Which “tango dress” are you giving up?