I witnessed two things at the Y this morning that made my day.
The first was Sonya teaching her first class.
She said she wanted to become a fitness instructor, she did the training and now she’s teaching. Scratch another goal off the list. Well done.
The second thing happened at the end of the class. Sonya told us to do planks. The prescribed time was two minutes. Two minutes passed. Several people were still standing (or in this case, planking). Three minutes passed, then four. More and more of us collapsed to the floor. Five minutes passed and three women were still holding steady. The twenty something started rotating into side planks. Doesn’t count. You’re out. Sweat was running down the faces of the two remaining women, their entire bodies were vibrating, their expressions intense. Neither one was about to quit. Finally, Sonya stopped the contest at six minutes.
One of those women was my friend (and fellow fitness instructor) Deb. When I was congratulating her she said, “I just wanted to represent the 50+ crowd.” You. Go. Woman. I hear you roar. I see your pride and I love it. You should be proud.
Driving home I was pondering all of this, wondering why more of us (women especially) aren’t more positive about ourselves. Just a few weeks ago one of my regular attendees was bashing her appearance. “Stop it,” I told her, “no negative self-talk allowed!” Here’s the thing, though. She was complaining about her arms and saying she wished they looked like mine and in my head I was negative self-talking, “Are you kidding me?!?! I’d kill to have your perfect slender legs instead of my thunder thighs!”
I’m not saying this is a gender-specific thing. However, I hear women (myself included) bashing themselves every day. I rarely hear a man saying, “Dude, my gut is disgusting,” and the guy next to him replying, “Whatever, man… at least you’re not losing your hair.”
Some of this is thanks to our society and the unrealistic expectations most women place upon themselves, some of it has to do with upbringing or childhood experiences.
When I was in junior high this horrible mean girl moved to town. She made it her mission to ostracize me and make me miserable. One of the many ways she tortured me was by picking on my physical flaws – one of which is my nose. It has this weird bump at the bottom. I spent hours and hours and hours as a kid pushing on that cartilage, praying that I could flatten it out and have a “normal” nose.
Crazy, right? But to this day I still don’t like my profile.
Here’s my challenge to all of you (women and men) … the next time you start negative self-talk, stop yourself. Make yourself list the attributes you love, instead. And instead of considering them based only on appearance, think about what you’re able to do. Run fast? Pick up the gigantic bag of dog food or cat litter without asking for help? Twist yourself into a crazy yoga position?… whatever it may be…thank your body for it. And finally, consider the things about yourself that are the most important. You are kind, you are smart, you are a great parent and friend, you are funny, you are generous, you are hardworking… fill in the blank and love yourself.
Just. Do. You.
Have a wonderful weekend.