“It’s not your job to make yourself fit into anyone else’s ideal. It’s your job to start believing in who you are and what you’re capable of.” Rachel Hollis, from Girl, Stop Apologizing.
Back in October I wrote about the inner critic we all have and how difficult it is to ignore it. I find I’m not very good at following my own advice.
I have recently started going to the gym in the morning before work because I find I hate going out in the evenings. Probably a result from no longer being in my twenties (or thirties or forties for that matter). Any way, I found a team training class I really like that begins at 5:30 a.m. This gives me time to work out early and still get to work on time. I’ve been doing this class twice a week for several months. It’s a High Intensity Interval Training (HITT) circuit class.
During a recent workout I was struggling with one of the stations. I wasn’t doing it like the instructor had shown us and counted the seconds (forty to be exact) to when I could stop. As I moved to the next station (thankfully!) I noticed the next gal on in the circuit was doing it perfectly. Of course she was! I immediately began putting myself down. Wat was I doing here amongst these fit people? I was so sure they were all looking at me, judging my inability to do the exercise correctly, figuratively shaking their heads at my lack of athletic prowess. I allowed my thoughts to spiral into this negative territory before I finally became aware of what I was doing. I knew no one was watching me or judging me. Each person in that class had their own struggles and they could have cared less how I tackled the workout. What really brought me back to my reality was when at the end of the session one of the other participants said to me, “Hey, have you lost weight? You look like you have.”
It made me feel so good. I have no idea if I’ve lost weight, I honestly don’t believe in weighing myself. But the thought that someone noticed something positive when I had been mired in negativity about myself, in that moment I was brought back to the awareness at just how mean I can be to myself. In that moment I felt good about myself, about coming to class regularly, making an effort, showing up to something that is not inately easy for me. In that moment I let myself believe in me.
It happens – we are all guilty of judging ourselves more harshly than anyone else could. For me, it is a defense mechanism I have cultivated since childhood. If I dislike me first, I’ve beaten everyone else to it. If I just admit I’m not that good at (fill in the blank here), then I don’t have to wait until someone else doesn’t like it. I don’t have to wait for someone else to tell me I have failed, because I have already told myself.
The good news is, I know I do this. Being aware of this behavior will help me overcome it. Just like anything else, we have to practice something to get better at it, but you can’t practice what you don’t start. How can I expect others to believe in me if I don’t believe in myself? I highly recommend the book I just finished by Rachel Hollis, Girl, Stop Apologizing. It helped me refocus on where I’ve been and where I’m going. And the only person who can get me there is me.
Whatever your dream, your goal, your next adventure, remember that it doesn’t matter if others believe in your path, it matters that you believe in it. What others think, or what they believe, or how they feel, isn’t going to get you there. This is your path – it is yours to achieve, yours to dream, yours to follow. I plan to keep reminding myself of this every day…and I hope you will too.