After sprinting up and down a stair stepper, I was elated to have received a break before having to go to the next instructed exercise. Panting, breathing heavily, and heart beating fast, I took a minute to look around to see if I was the only one who looked & felt as if they were dying. “Geez, I can’t be the only one out of shape.” I thought to myself. My mind racing with the thought of quitting, I could see myself formulating my exit strategy. I mean my heart was hurting. Maybe I was sick. Yea, I would play as though I had come down with something and needed to leave. While my mind was racing with strategies, I was relieved to see a few people also breathing heavily and bent over trying to catch their breath. There were others that were eager to move on to the next thing in the workout. By time my mind had processed everything and everyone in the room, while trying to flee for the door or encourage myself to keep moving, it was time to move to the next exercise and I was still tired. How would I make it through the next set of exercises barely able to catch my breath. I recalled why I decided to come workout anyway. I had a goal to meet and I had fell off this wagon several times before. This time I was going to push myself harder than ever before. So I lifted my leg, which felt like a ton of bricks and pushed through the rest of the workout. I had made it through the hour workout still alive, but I couldn’t help but recognize how this moment was very similar to situations presented by people that I often come in contact with, whether as clients, friends, or family members who have shared that life didn’t seem fair. I can’t tell you how many people I come in contact with that question the place they are in life.
By nature we are competitive beings, especially men, It’s natures way of ensuring that things advance and progress. While I was nearly dying and trying to catch my breathe, I was also too busy trying to make sure I wasn’t alone in my despair to prepare for what was ahead. I mean it feels better to face your fears when your not alone right? Well of course! If we feel that we are not the only ones going through a negative experience then it must be normal and “normality” is our base point of what is healthy.
NOT! That’s what society wants you to believe. We spend most of our time trying make sure that we are keeping up with those around us that we often believe that what others are doing is what we too should do. We create our lives based on age, friend groups, and the desire to meet the expectations of society, often increasingly pressured by social media. Had I been more focused on regulating my breathing, and motivating myself, I would have been fully prepared for the next instructed exercise, instead of having to carry the baggage from the previous exercise into the next. I call it baggage because instead of unpacking our own bag (ie. feelings of helplessness, lost of a love one, lack of love, loneliness and the list goes on), we attempt to find fulfillment and comfort from being surrounded by those that are doing the same. Medocrice is comfortable. It feels like a soft bed with nice, crisp, and clean sheets. But if you lay in that bed for too long, it no longer feels the same. So we go searching for fulfillment elsewhere instead of dealing with our own stuff. Of course instead of unpacking our own baggage , we tell ourselves that I’ll just put it away and find fulfillment in others, staying busy with work , tending to the needs of loved ones and/or your children or for some, focusing on what society deems as normal.
If you waste your time trying to accommodate your fears you will never reach your full potential. You will spend much of your life masking what is real and living life through others. Even more disheartening is that you often will re-experience the same obstacles over and over again. Life has its way of making sure that you overcome one obstacle or learn one lesson before having the ability to move to the next. Unless you unpack your baggage, face your fears, stare those demons from your past in the face you will never truly experience what is created for you. Unpacking that baggage is not easy and that is why often in counseling, we warn people that the process may be difficult and things may get worse before they get better. But eventually you get through it and you reach the other side renewed and toting usable baggage (effective coping skills) to prepare your for the next obstacle. Had I focused on my breathing and motivating myself to keep moving instead of focusing on others I would have had usable baggage to move through to the next exercise with ease.
Therefore, I encourage you to do the following:
1. Stay focused on your journey. Its about you and only you. Its not your boyfriend/husband’s, girlfriend/wife’s, children’s, or your parent’s journey. It was designed with you in mind.
2. What looks appetizing on someone else’s plate isn’t what it always seems. People who are overly vocal about what they have, are also often masking and hiding behind their own fears.
3. The ultimate tool to overcome obstacles is vulnerability. You haven’t experienced peace of mind until you become comfortable with your flaws, shortcomings, and inabilities. Own YOUR story! No one can attack or define what you have already overcome and come to terms with yourself. They only attack you when your unsure and uncertain about who you are.
Stay focus and keep your eyes on the prize or you will be unprepared for what is ahead. Also stop taking detours just to avoid what seems uncomfortable. Greatness lives on the edge of destruction – Will Smith
Nevertheless, I did get through that workout, but focusing on others, instead of myself and the experience made it 10x times harder to finish. I learned during the next set of exercises that finishing was easier when I released my own baggage (i.e. doubts). Your the only person standing in your way.
I challenge you to identify your baggage.