Ep. 58: Watching Yourself on Video

Watching yourself dance on video can be excruciating! But it’s a skill I think you should develop. In this podcast, I offer the reasons I think we hate it so much, why you should do it anyway, and how to approach the process to make it easier on yourself.

Reasons we don’t like watching ourselves dance on video:

1. Our negatively biased brain makes is a negative experience

Your brain is great at pointing out what is wrong, where the flaws and imperfections are, and it does it in a disproportionate amount compared to the positive things you might see. This makes the experience feel terrible. Nobody wants to have a negative experience watching themselves. Plus, we see what we look for. If we think we are awkward or inadequate, or at least hope that we are not, THAT is what we will be looking for in the video and so we shall surely find it.

2. Video doesn’t match perception

The video simply does not look like it felt. A 2-dimensional representation on a device is nothing like a living, breathing, 3-dimensional real world experience. Plus, you never really see yourself from the outside. This is an uncomfortable experience for the brain, if for no other reason that it is unfamiliar. It’s weird when the video doesn’t look like what you experienced.

3. You aren’t used to it

Going along with the previous point, you aren’t used to watching yourself or seeing yourself in this way. And you make efforts to avoid it, so you never let yourself get desensitized to it. You watch your videos with critical or judgemental eyes, get uncomfortable, stop and then avoid in the future. So when you watch it again, you have to start all over. When you do it regularly or frequently, it doesn’t feel so traumatizing every time.

4. Comparing yourself to more skilled dancers

If you are like me, the videos that you watch on the regular are the ones that come through a social media feed or I find on Youtube. Those dancers are usually pros or dancers who are much further along than me. So I get this idea of how a video should look. Then I see my own videos. OOF! Yikes! If you are comparing yourself to them, you are going to come up short for sure! For this reason you have unrealistic expectations of how you should look. You may also be comparing yourself to your future self that you wish you were or think you should be already.

While it is an uncomfortable experience for you right now, I want to encourage you to do it anyway. Here are some reasons why:

1. Can’t fix what you don’t see. Video gives you a concrete picture of what is working and what is not.

2. Increases the rate at which you improve. Because you can see what needs work, you can get to work on it. Turning a blind eye certainly slows down your progress.

3. You can track your progress over time. This can serve as great motivation when you can look back at old videos and see all your improvement.

4. Having videos makes it easier to recall for practicing. See point 2! You don’t have to remember what you needed to work on and you have videos that you can reference and learn from.

5. You get more comfortable watching yourself dance. Simply watching yourself dance on video desensitizes you and you settle in. You become more objective and aren’t as derailed if you have things you see you want to fix. It also means that you are more comfortable with other people watching you.

6. You learn to have a more realistic and balanced view of yourself and your dancing. You learn to look at the positive things as well as what needs work. You settle down emotionally and are able to get to work on what is next.

So how can you approach it so it is more tolerable?

–Watch with someone who is more objective than you

–Remind yourself that something is just lost in translation when it comes to video

–You are not alone. Most people don’t like it. Let that be okay.

–Give yourself some distance. Don’t watch the videos immediately after a performance. Let yourself settle down emotionally first.

–Do it more frequently to get used to it.

–Watch your videos several times. First to get your cringing out of the way, second to watch overall, third to look for what is working, and lastly to find 1-2 things to work on in the coming weeks.

–Approach your videos with purpose and intention. Use them as a tool and be prepared to have an action plan when you are done watching.

–Allow equal air time for the positive and negative aspects

–Get neutral. This is math. There are skills and tasks you are developing. Leave your ego out of it.

–A video is one snapshot of a moment in time. You are already different. Don’t get stuck on that moment in the past.

This is such good work to do. It’s worth it.

Join Joyful Ballroom Facebook Group HERE

Book a Dance Strategy Call HERE



It’s time to

Level Up!

Isn’t it time you took your dancing to the next level? Your head is what’s in the way and I can help. The fastest way to overcome your head drama is to schedule a strategy call. It’s free, it’s fun, and we can skip right to addressing the specific obstacles to YOUR ballroom success. You’ve got nothing to lose!

Share this post

Hi there,

I'm Amber haider

As an amateur ballroom dancer myself, I understand the issues that come up for dancers, the pressures of competing, and the desire to make the most of my ballroom experience. I also really like to WIN! As a Life Coach by vocation, I have the tools to cut through the mental garbage that is holding you back so that you can maximize your potential. Using my own tools, I have been able to skyrocket my own skills, learn faster, lessen the pressure, win more and have tons more fun. I can show you the way. Here’s a couple tools to get you started:

You’re almost there...

Just enter your information below.

I am excited to help you bounce back!
By signing up for this, you give us permission to email you about our products and services - don't worry, we make it very easy to unsubscribe if it gets too much.