TRAINING TIPS, TRICKS AND ALL THINGS RJ
Part 2: Practicing self-acceptance and self-honesty during exercise
The fun we have when we exercise doesn’t come from any specific state of mind. It doesn’t come from lifting heavy weights or smashing through workouts. The fun we have when we exercise comes from connecting with others and connecting with ourselves. It comes from being present in the moment and being real with ourselves. Each time we do an exercise or do a workout, we are getting feedback from the coaches, from our peers, and from our bodies about what we’re doing well and what we may need to work on. The key to REALLY enjoying exercise is in developing the ability to sort through the plethora of feedback we receive from the various sources, and using it for further positive development. When we take to heart the feedback we receive, it becomes self-knowledge, and “knowing yourself” is very important.
Self-knowledge isn’t always good news, but it’s always news we need to hear. Sometimes the feedback we receive from our coaches, peers, or bodies can hurt our ego. Sometimes we have a picture in our head about who we are and how we “should” be, and sometimes the feedback we receive doesn’t fit with this picture we have of ourselves. This is when things start to get uncomfortable, but this is when self-honesty AND self-acceptance are very important.
Self-honesty is about identifying the false identity we use to cover up our true selves. Many times, we say we’re “just being honest” with ourselves and with others when really, we’re just using that as an excuse to express the anger or pain that covers our vulnerabilities. This is where the acceptance of self and others is important. If we can accept the current situation for exactly what it is and without positive or negative judgments; if we can let go of any potential rewards that might be gained from success or stop trying to avoid the hurt of failure, then we can become more self-honest. Both seeking rewards and avoiding harm can lead to false identity which leads to a disconnection with the self and ultimately to a lack of self-honesty. To be self-honest, we must let go of the results and stop trying to be perfect.
Next time you’re in the gym doing a workout, try being aware of the feedback you’re receiving from the coaches, from your peers, and from your body. Notice how this feedback makes you feel. Does it fit with how you see yourself? Does it make you feel good? Does it make you feel bad? Then, try to let go of those good or bad feelings, accept yourself and those around you, and use the self-knowledge you’ve gained to move to the next task.