“I have the right to do anything I want, but is that always the right thing to do?”
David Woodbury – Arthur Murray Professional
In ballroom dancing, we have a concept on the dance floor called Floorcraft. This is how couples dance Quickstep, Tango, Paso Doble, and Cha Cha on a crowded floor. The rule of dance is that we do not crash into or step on or bump into our fellow dancers on the floor and that we maintain decorum on the floor.
When there is a bump, the correct behavior is to pause, apologize and see if the other couple is OK. When all is determined to be well, the dance continues. We do not elbow anther couple, kick them, step on them, or push them. In fact, when watching a Quickstep competition, is sometimes seems like a runway with the planes positioning before they take off at full speed. It is a fascinating thing to watch!
Are these dance rules always followed? I once saw a Standard couple knock a judge over into the lights. The music stopped, and silence fell over the whole ballroom. The judge was slowly helped up and to my great surprise, she continued to judge the event and finished the evening of judging ahead of her. I will always remember that she had the right to react to what happened, but she responded with grace and poise.
What if the rules of the ballroom dance floor applied to our daily lives? What if we always looked out for the other person, carried ourselves with grace and poise, stopped to see if the other person is OK if we knock into them? Perhaps in some ways we already do this, just like walk through Grand Central Terminal in NYC. We all manage hopefully to make it peacefully to our destinations.
In relationships, I do have the right to say or do anything I want at any time. Does that mean that is the right thing to do? The answer is often no and if I exhibit destructive behavior, this is a withdrawal from the relationship, friendship, from those around me and even though I have done what I had the right to do, I have done the wrong thing. Once the withdrawals are made from the other person, sometimes it’s too late to make a deposit and there remains emptiness.
Every day, I am free to do what I want, say what I want and be what I want to be. It is my right as a person. I have now learned at 62 that does not mean that I am doing the right thing, and my incorrect behavior can be very destructive to others.
What is the solution? The answer in my life always comes back to service. Am I doing, saying, and acting the right way to make others uplifted around me? Am I giving the best daily that I can to others. During the periods of my life when it was just about me all the time, I was very empty and unfulfilled. I “got my way” and “did what I wanted” but I was not happy, I was not free, I was miserable.
Now, perhaps I sacrifice tiny moments of my life and let others be right instead of just me. Rather than defensively standing up just for myself, I allow others to feel right and listen to their viewpoint and I try to listen more than I speak. Instead of thinking of my own reply while someone else is speaking, I will listen and wait and respond rather than react.
Giving service and striving to be a good mentor in life requires practice, patience, perseverance, but not perfection. Do I always now say and do the right thing? I can only say that now I do take a moment, pause before speaking, and listen from the heart to what others are saying.
Thanks for reading!
David Earl Woodbury
Keep on Dancing!
FB: David Earl Woodbury