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Getting Over Myself

Monday, April 22, 2013

I have to say I've been working out for about two months and I still can't really say I like it. I like that I'm doing it, but I don't really love the experience. One of the things that gets in the way of my joy of exercise is self-consciousness.

Self-consciousness can be an excuse for me to avoid pretty much any kind of exercise, if I let it. It's a mix of irrational fears and a few bad experiences that lead to a lot of negative thinking for me when I am exercising... one "nice running, Jello" as I sweat past someone on the sidewalk or even the occasional "I have a way you can burn off some calories baby" makes me imagine that everyone is thinking horrible things about me while I work out... the deepest darkest thoughts I have is that they think I'm going to break the equipment I'm using, that I am disgusting and sweaty, that I should do exercise that involves less jiggling, or even just thinking that I have a really long road ahead of me. And so, I vastly prefer to be alone while I'm working out. Unfortunately, that isn't the best option for my motivation and accountability!

The fact is that my fears don't reflect the reality of what is going on in peoples' minds. They are my own negative thoughts, blamed on other people. Of course, as we all witness from time to time, some people do think awful things about others (and even say it out loud), but allowing those few people to control the way we think about ourselves is not productive. It is also not accurate. I am not giving any weight to the kind thoughts and encouragement that are all around me as I stay on my healthy path. They are here, online, they are in my fitness classes from teachers and participants, from my coworkers, from my family, and, likely, from strangers that will never say anything to me at all.

After all, when I see someone working hard in the gym or on a run, am I thinking about how gross they look, or how they have no business in stretch pants? No! I feel so proud and happy for them, and so impressed that they're out and active. (Often I'm also wondering where they got their awesome run jacket or workout tee, too!) I'm sending them only positive thoughts. It is HARD to get up and out and do this. So thank you for getting up and out and showing me how it's done.
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