Today I was in a local gym going through my “basic” workout and I began to scan the room to see what everyone else was doing. I saw women stretching, “Gluting” (Glute activation exercises), I saw a woman being taught to squat, I saw several women in the free weights area doing impressive stuff (I got a great birds-eye view from the Stair-Master) and I began to notice a slight tension bubbling within me.
On one hand I felt an urge to abandon my workout and join in with the “proper stuff” and do all the things I used to do, but I noticed it was coming from a need to compete and prove myself a gym bad-ass and I really don’t like this version of me anymore. Why would I want to show off and undo my own progress while undercutting the hard work of others all because of my own ego?
On the other hand (in thought land, where thoughts can be hands, clouds, or anything really) I was letting in positive thoughts of gratitude for my present successes in my pain treatment (if you didn’t read my last post about visualisation and my Brain-House, please do, because it has been one of the biggest break-throughs for me). I began to notice how well I was moving and then something even better happened: I began feeling happy for the other women there! I felt impressed by them, rather than jealous of them.
When I reflect back over my years training, I feel like there has been a very important journey happening inside. In many ways, I can look back at myself and cringe at my own hypocrisy. For example: I spent so much time encouraging women to strength train because I wanted them to experience what I had, but so long as they weren’t better than me! My identity was so tied up in what I was able to do, who I was able to “impress”, and how I looked, that when this identity was under threat such a negative energy resided in me and I gave it power by allowing those thoughts and feelings to lead me astray and bind me up in a negative thinking pattern. I needed to be “the best” at something and, looking back, I am now glad that I have been forced to reassess and let go of that.
It was so freeing to finally sit there and let my thoughts and feelings just happen (come and go) and for me not to be pulled off course by them. They just floated by like balloons and I sat in awe as it struck me how restricted my life has been each time I have grabbed one by the string and by doing that made an idol out of something so secondary to who I really am. What does it really matter if I am not the strongest, hottest, most awesome woman there? Why the need to set myself up against anyone else?
While I believe there is always a potential lesson for everyone in this, I don’t actually mean for you to feel bad about where you are at. I’m simply making an observation of myself and hoping that it will help a select few. People who are perhaps like me in their tendency to be insecure or talk negatively to themselves about things or even having a tendency to be unsatisfied with your current circumstances. Basically, I want to point out (which may be obvious to everyone else already haha) that I can now see that I gave way too much authority to what I believed to be my true thoughts and feelings. I never practiced taking a step back and just observing things happening at the time. I was always very good at reflecting through hindsight, but did you know that we each have the authority to resist reacting and just reflect (or consider things) through present-sight? Mediation helps with this, but also visualisation and gratitude practices because these techniques all help you become more present and mindful.
It’s like slowing time down inside your mind and allowing yourself to notice different options that are available to you. You don’t have to grab hold of the first thing that comes to you. You are in control of what you “run with” and you can always change your choice afterward. After the the last few months of only accepting the worst thoughts in my head and feeling full of hopelessness about ever changing my outlook, I am so grateful to be out of that place. It actually took very little to begin to change. I started singing a new song.
It kind of reminds me of Psalm 40: “…He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay, And He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God…”
Don’t be so quick to jump to the tune of what your thoughts and feelings are telling you, because often they can lead you down the wrong road and you can become completely defined by your what, rather than your who.
If this post resonated with you today, join my email list so that we can connect more personally. As a gift for signing up and trusting me with your email address, I have put together a special full-length workout (train along with me) and a PDF download which has within it a Taking Stock Exercise that helps you bring awareness to your inner dialogue: