It’s Monday!!! Which means, Carly is taking the stage to end this week with a bang! She’s become one of my favorite bloggers, and I’m sure you’ll know why by the end of this post. I hope you all had a great weekend, and when I return, be prepared to see some photos of my little ladies…and to hear about how despite having lots of important company, I got my booty out for my training runs.
Hi! I’m Carly, I blog over at Life in Training about fitness and living a healthy lifestyle.
I’m a personal trainer, a proud mama and committed to living a healthy lifestyle and inspiring others. I’m so excited to be guest posting while Melissa is having fun with her best friend visiting!
“I’m not really a runner.” I’ve heard this so many times, often even from someone who is running while the words are coming out of their mouth.
“I’m really slow.” (You’re a runner, I think to myself.)
“I only go out for a run once a week if I’m lucky.” (Sounds like you’re a runner.)
“I can only run a mile.”(And, yup! That makes you a runner.)
What’s the story here? Why do so many of us feel like we have to downplay our achievements, or discount something we do that many, many others could only dream about accomplishing? This isn’t limited to running either. I’ve had clients who start with me by telling me that they are really weak. Months later, when their strength has increased exponentially, they still claim to not have the strength I know as their trainer they possess. I can even prove it to them by showing them the increases in weight they are able to lift or pull. It’s a tough phenomenon to explain. I think there are a lot of different factors behind the self-deprecating words we use to try to brush off what we (deep down) know we can do. I think a lot of it comes down to two ideas: fear and the pursuit of perfection.
It can be difficult to verbalize self-confidence without fear. Maybe it’s fear of seeming arrogant; fear of appearing boastful; or fear of being questioned or challenged. But there’s a huge difference between being confident enough to state your own abilities clearly and simply and being boastful. It is freeing to let go of the fear and allow yourself to enjoy your hard-earned accomplishment.
And what are we really, truly afraid of when we’re talking about our progress? For so many people, I believe it is a fear of not being perfect. It’s the little voice in your ear, whispering, “Yes, but…” every time you state how far you’ve come. As a personal trainer, the number one issue I see this happening with is weight loss. A client may have lost 15 pounds, or taken inches off their body measurements, but the celebration is short lived. It’s too often cut short by their belief that even though they’ve come this far, they have so much further to go. For a long time, I thought this was mainly about reaching goals – some sort of human nature response to always needing a goal to strive towards. But more and more, I think it’s actually the damaging effect of having unrealistic, unachievable standards of “perfection”.
What is “perfection” anyway? How can we possibly quantify perfect? For someone trying to lose weight, regardless of their motivation, there is always a goal they are working towards. Let’s say someone is striving for a certain number on the scale. They believe that weight, that number, is the perfect one for them. It would make sense that when they achieve that when they look down between their toes and see that magic number holding steady, they should be able to shout from the rooftops, “I did it! I am now perfect!” It never happens. You may reach that number, but be unhappy with the way you look. You may reach that number solely through changes to your diet and find yourself winded from walking up one flight of stairs. Is that perfection?
Or, let’s look at the running example. If you’re still saying, “I’m not really a runner,” then let me ask you, when can you claim to be a runner? Is it when you can run a mile? A half mile? A 14 minute mile? A 7 minute mile? Is it when you have run a race? A marathon? Do you have to be a professional runner to be able to claim the status of “runner”? Or do you have to win? I hope you’re starting to see the absurdity of not wanting to admit out loud that YES! I can run! I go outside, or on the treadmill and I RUN – I am a RUNNER.
Let’s get rid of the idea of ‘perfection’. We’re human. We will never be perfect, which is just as well, because it would be unbelievably boring to never have something to work towards. It helps us if we allow ourselves to fail, dust ourselves off and try again. It makes us better people (not perfect!). Enjoy the trying. Feel proud of yourself for trying every day. And please, don’t be afraid to celebrate your achievements along the way.
***Melissa’s Two Cents? AMEN. Hee hee.***