A had an epiphany whilst at the gym… The lesson came to me when I found myself struggling on bench press.
Do you ever get the feeling that whatever you do and no matter how hard you try, nothing seems to work?
You’re not alone.
I am a creature of learned behaviours when it comes to negative self talk and self-sabotaging behaviours. I have battled with depression, anxiety, and plummeting self-esteem for 15 years. I am in constant company of the “You can’t do it” voice in my head.
It’s this voice that likes to catch me at the most inopportune times – like when I’m trying to lift extreme amount of weight and almost dropping a loaded Olympic bar on my chest.
I gripped the loaded bar with what would have been a personal best, and as soon as I pushed it up I heard, “Uh oh” from somewhere in my brain. Not a good start. This immediately got me thinking, “Oh shit, I can’t lift this. It’s half my body weight. I’m going to drop it on me and break my teeth. I hope no one is filming this, I’ll end up as part of a gym fail video…” et cetera, et cetera, et cetera…
However, by gritting my teeth and busting my little ring out, all while my workout buddy, best mate, personal arse-kicker and boyfriend, harping on me to keep breathing, dig my heels in and push the damn thing, I managed to lift that olympic bar off my chest, 12 times in a row no less, rack it, sit up and wipe the tears away.
And it got me thinking – Why is it so easy for me to push myself to the maximum physically and so much harder to do in my personal life? Why can I face up to a cold hunk of metal and show it who’s boss with minimal sooking, but I can’t stand up for myself in my own life?
Answer: The stakes are higher. You drop a weight plate on your toe, you get a bruise. (Or, periodically, lose a toenail) You drop the proverbial weight plate in your personal life? You could potentially lose a friend, one of your teeth, your job or the love of your life. When the stakes are higher, the fear to jump is greater, with crippling effect.
How to combat this fear of losing everything, the fear of failure and the fear of leaping?
I think we all need a personal arse-kicker, someone who (and I’m quoting Elizabeth Gilbert of Eat, Pray, Love fame here) exposes the parts of ourselves we despise the most, so we have no other choice but to combat them. These may not necessarily be your best friend – it could be a work colleague, family friend, brother, cousin, counsellor, or house mate, but they will be an important person in your life nonetheless.
That’s what my training buddy/best mate/boyfriend is to me – a person that points out the parts of myself I want to better and cultivate. A person that will tell me how it is when they have to, knowing that it’s for my benefit, but also does it in a kind way, only wanting me to succeed, because if I succeed, WE’RE better.
All you have to do is dig your heels in, take a big breath, and be willing to shed a few tears and struggle a bit. It might be uncomfortable at the time, but the end results are worth it.