What Excuse for Happiness?

Why do we make excuses for not pursuing something we love? Or let go of a childhood passion? Some of these reasons are usually:

•  I don’t have time
•  I’m not good enough
•  I feel guilty spending time/money on myself (usually parents)
•  I’m too old

But these are not reasons. They’re excuses and here’s why:
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“I don’t have time”.

I think most of us realise this isn’t completely true. I mean, if something is really important you do find the time. Taking 15 minutes to draw every day, or a weekly dance lesson is not a huge time commitment. The belief here then is not time itself, but actually that it’s “not important enough” to make time.

Perhaps artistic pursuits end up last on our priority list because it doesn’t serve any material purpose. However, when people allow themselves time to learn something artistic, it has a positive impact on most other aspects of their lives. There is overwhelming evidence showing a direct correlation between dance/art/music and happiness. And what could be more important than making time for something that actively contributes to our happiness and mental well-being?

 

“I’m not good enough”.

Well – who is? Learning has no end point. Even the most expert musician or dancer will tell you that they have to keep learning. Starting from zero is better than never starting at all. Be kind to yourself (and find an encouraging teacher!).

Bear

 

“I feel guilty spending time or money on myself”.

I hear this often from friends with kids. These are parents who take their kids to soccer, piano, dance and violin lessons – all very financially and time consuming activities. As I tell those near and dear to me, doing one activity for yourself is not only justified, but equally as important. Kids learn by example, and watching their parents practice and persist with an activity is the best example you can set. Show them that it’s normal to continue a passion at any age. This also returns to my first point about art and happiness, which is why I hope my kids stay on their artistic journeys for a lifetime.

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“I’m too old”.

I have already written about this topic under “Are My Best Years Over?”.

Most people assume that because I own a dance company, I must have been dancing since childhood. They are wrong. I thought I was too old to start learning dance when I was still only 17. That mindset held me back from starting lessons for a long time. I finally joined my first Bharatanatyam dance class at age 32 and have never looked back. Dance classes brought a newfound joy and motivation into my life, which has had a massive flow-on effect. I co-founded Sapphire Dance one year later, and most recently Studio J. Seven years on, I am still attending weekly Bharatanatyam lessons and am so grateful for everything it brings into my life.

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Don’t underestimate the importance of nourishing your creative self. Whether you’re considering returning to a childhood passion or trying a whole new creative activity, just do it. You never know just where it might take you.

Jaya Karan
17 February, 2017

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