I had wanted to take an improv class for quite a while but always talked myself out of it. It's a really intimidating thing to do! I kind of ran out of excuses though, so this past fall I actually signed up for one through the ACC and ended up enjoying it so much I took another two classes at a local improv theater. I'm now 50 classroom hours and 2 on stage performances deep into learning this wacky world and guys...improv is hard.
It's not hard the way you'd likely expect, though. All the basic principles of improv go directly against the behaviors we've established to be members of society. We deflect compliments with modesty and criticism with defiance, our default answer is "no", and we ask questions in conversations to show our interest. Guess what? Improv requires rewiring all of those impulses, and I don't think it will surprise you to hear that that is not an easy feat. Simply recognizing you need to do it and knowing what to look for isn't enough. These are reactionary responses, things you don't even think twice about. I'll bet you don't even notice doing it.
I was vaguely aware of my tendencies before starting the first class, but there's a big ole spotlight on them now. The funny part is that some of these things, while accepted and expected behaviors out in every day life, should be trained out of me anyway. My biggest one: I'm never willing to accept a compliment. Even in fake improv world, if someone says something positive about my character, I still want to say "oh no it's nothing" or downplay it by returning the compliment. Accepting and integrating these things is proving to be a bigger hurdle than I expected. I'm getting better, both on and off stage, but boy was this a twist to what I thought was going to be difficult about getting up and doing this.
Oddly enough, if someone says something negative about my character I'm pretty easily able to lean into it. I'm not entirely sure what that says about me, but playing the asshole in a scene is kind of fun.
Anywho, I wanted to share that observation and try to encourage you to start accepting compliments from people without adding your own caveats or distractions to them. It shouldn't take an improv class for you to recognize your worth That said, absolutely take an improv class. Even just one of the free single session drop ins. It's an enlightening experience!