Overcoming Self-Consciousness at the School Dance

(Photo courtesy of tweenparenting.about.com)

Overcoming Self-Consciousness at the School Dance

By Samantha Dammann

For some, school dances are a time to have fun. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case for everybody. Public dancing, while an enormous stress reliever for some, is a great source of stress and anxiety for others. Simply put, school dances can make people feel really awkward.

Have you ever felt self–conscious? Self-conscious feelings sometimes stem from the fear that everybody is watching you. This paralyzing fear can make people uncomfortable in fancy clothes, or move people to spend the evening standing up against a wall.

In Harper Lee’s book Go Set a Watchman Scout goes to a school dance. Scout is uncomfortable with her body, and in order to deal with her discomfort she pads her dress to gain a womanlier shape.

After a few minutes of dancing, Scout’s date tells her that her padding has moved! Horrified, Scout runs out of the building. Henry convinces Scout to not put the silly pads back in her dress, but he has trouble convincing her to go back inside – she is convinced that everybody will notice the difference.

Scout eventually does go back inside, and sure enough, nobody bats an eye. Lee writes, “No one seemed to notice the change in her appearance, which proved, Henry said, that she was vain as a peacock, thinking everybody was looking at her all the time,” (Lee 215).

A lady’s self-consciousness doesn’t necessarily prove that she has a vanity issue, but that could definitely be part of the problem. A person can only be self-conscious when she is thinking about herself.

A healthy exercise for the chronically self-conscious person is to simply try thinking about yourself less. Of course, you will be working backwards if you consume your mind with thoughts of “don’t think about myself.”

A more effective approach to this exercise is to fill your mind with something else. Try meditating on a scripture passage, or spending some time in prayer. Slowly but surely, and with practice, this act will become a habit.

Now, praying in the middle of a school dance might not be the most helpful thing to do in the face of awkward self-consciousness, but the concept remains the same: less people are watching you than you think. So relax and enjoy the dance!