We’ve been examining the Positive Psychology construct of well-being, comprised of Positive emotion, Engagement, Relationship, Meaning, and Accomplishment, denoted by the acronym, PERMA. This week, it’s the R for Relationship that comes into our focus.
It’s easy to understand how the intimacy of partner dancing, almost irrespective of style, can create long-lasting, intimate relationships. In the city of Toronto alone, there are many “dance babies” that have resulted from a relationship that found its start on the social dance floor. I, myself, had maintained for a long time that were I to want to enter a new, intimate relationship, I would only do so with a person with whom I had “great dance connection” as a prerequisite. (Spoiler alert: I did, the great dance connection translated to great connection off the dance floor as well, and our daughter is now in junior kindergarten!)
What contributes to creating a great relationship? Clearly, a fundamental element is great communication, which means listening not only as simple perception, but listening with your heart as well. Add to this mutual respect and regard for who the other person is (apart from what they might be able to do). A mutual ability to deal respectfully and positively with problems and “stuff” that comes up from time to time has to figure into a great relationship. Equally, an ability to support the other person in what they are doing individually so that they shine, and providing that support joyously. An important and complementary aspect is feeling sufficiently secure in yourself so that your partner’s successes do not feel like they diminish you.
So, does the previous paragraph describe the components of a great personal relationship, or of a great dance relationship?
The answer is, Yes!
When we are in relationship, we experience sense of place, and of belonging. We feel trust and comfort, and having a basis to achieve all that we strive for. As human beings, we have an innate need for connection. When circumstance breaks connection with others, or if one’s life situation causes a person to deliberately eschew such connections, that isolation strikes at the heart of one’s well-being.
In a wonderful way, dance is a means to create connection, belonging, and a sense of place. Many people have experienced dance as a natural antidepressant. Granted, the physical aspects of dance boost the feel-good neurochemicals. But it is certainly the fact that partner dancing in a social environment creates the sense of relationship whose positive effects naturally improve one’s sense of well-being. So, if you want more of feeling good in your life…
See you on the dance floor!