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Learning Again and Again

by

[[Duplicate intro] I really wanted to post a new workout last week before it got too close to the weekend (I think posts at the start or mid-week tend to be seen by more people), so I ended up doing something I probably shouldn’t have done: I did 2 workouts in one day **GASP** … And yet, I didn’t manage to organise myself to write and edit! *sigh* But in the meantime I got time to reflect on some stuff that I’d quite like to share.]

However, if you just want to skip to the workout (or you are wondering which workout I am referring to), you can find it here.

The lesson is the same but never gets old.

 

During my workout I became quite fatigued and I kept adapting the workout to account for that. I also wasn’t thrilled with my form on some of the exercises. I just don’t have the mobility I used to and I have this chronic adductor pain, which knocks off my technique on some exercises.  Anyone who follows my blogs regularly will know that I generally do include some of my “failures” and “oops moments” even though it would be easy for me to edit my videos to give the impression of utter perfection.  While mostly I feel ok about showing these mishaps, this time I felt ashamed and I realised how easy it is to allow the myth of perfection to haunt everything you do. Even though I have good reasons not to be performing as well as I used to, and I certainly was never near perfection even then, it made me stop and think about this haunting force pushing me to feel bad about where *I am*. It’s not even about the idea of self-growth (that is a good force), but it’s more about the “never being satisfied” or the “I have to avoid criticism”, which drives me to want to cover up my weaknesses and failures in shame.  But all that does is create a world of masks and fake perfection, and then nobody feels free to just be themselves.  I would love a world where we actually lived in attitude and action the idea that, actually, mistakes and imperfections help us, not just as individuals, but as a community.

You see, fake perfection only elevates me on a brittle pedestal and it leaves a “residue” on the world that makes others feel the need to try harder to attain this ideal. It breeds this comparison culture and it creates an environment for shame to flourish, making us feel alone where we’re at. I know that some of this residue has rubbed off on me, because no matter how much I intellectually know that perfection doesn’t exist (in this reality, anyway), I can still feel bad about myself for not being better, funnier, leaner etc. You see, I can easily feel inferior and insecure in the next hour even after writing this. In fact, I guarantee that you can look back right now at one or two things that you have had victory over and are already re-worrying about. But these “thought cycles” don’t need to continue to have the same power over me each time they “attack”. I can see them for what they are (often after at least a little reaction to them) and I can speak truth to myself about the situation and then reflect and write about it 😀 It has its uses, really!

We are all capable of growth, and thoughts can change, but sometimes the one thing that doesn’t change is the “theme of thinking”. So in one way I can give up feeling guilty for not looking perfect, but I take up a new obsession about being the perfect wife, or the perfect writer, or mother, or or or… The common theme here is that my thinking is self-obsessed (I’m thinking about what I need to do to have my needs met) and it needs to be turned outward to recognise the needs of others, rather than focused on my own needs.  It’s like the proverbs that talk about becoming rich (in character) by being generous (giving). Messages teaching that to receive love, you must give love. To be released from resentment (often feeling you are owed a sorry), you should instead forgive. You don’t wait for yourself to be perfectly loveable, you release all that you have to give.

So by revealing my “imperfections” to you (and admitting them to myself in the process), I not only show that it doesn’t make me less of a person, or a laughing stock, but it can remove the fear of making mistakes. In the process of being and just showing my humanity in it’s natural, I become freer of the fear that stopped me just talking plainly to you about things that I *know* you have struggled with too. Nobody is exempt from feeling the pressure to be better or for feeling less of a person for not being better at something. Doesn’t it feel so much better to just sit with someone without having to prove anything or try to impress them?

I don’t need to be super-woman; I just need to be a beautiful “mess”. What I took away from this snippet of shame (the snippet that broke the camels back) is to, once and for all, stop caring so much about what others think of me. You see, what I really want from life is to start caring *for* others through my attitude, my words, and my actions.  Not wasting time trying to appear perfect, or become overly concerned with being perceived as anything but what I actually am.  Doing so will only block love (the most beautiful kind) in both directions.

Don’t worry about being accepted; be accepting of others. Quit worrying about getting encouragement; be encouraging.  Stop waiting [to be perfect enough] for the world to love you before you love the world.

And remember don’t worry about being perfect at not being perfect. We slip up all the time and it’s ok to show it because through our “ashes” there is Beauty. We are in this together <3

 

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12 Responses

  1. Jennifer says:

    Thank you so much for this honest and inspirational post. I am a trainer (a kettlebell trainer, in fact) and have struggled with weight and body image issues. At this moment, I’m not physically where I want to be. I, too, struggle with “a haunting force pushing me to feel bad about where I am.” It’s a relief to know that there are other women that are “supposed to be perfect” who often feel far from it.

    I have visited your website in the past and am amazed at how beautiful, strong and creative you are. Thank you for sharing your own struggles with your body and body image. Thank you for revealing your vunerabilites on the inter-web, which as we all know can be a very cruel and unusual place. You got balls, girl!

    I hope to read more of your posts and see more of your workouts in the future!

  2. Sabrina says:

    Awesome musings; this has altered my state of mind. Thank you so much! ❤️

  3. Becky says:

    We all love you, Marianne, and please post more workouts and encouragement. This post really hits home for me because I was thin until about three years ago….worked out a lot and watched my diet. Then I hit perimenopause, the effects of which brought about other shortcomings on my part…and now I’m at least 30 pounds heavier than I have ever been in my life. My feelings of shame have caused me to withdraw from my life, my friends, even taking care of my own health. I’m embarrassed and horrified and ashamed of how I look, and I can’t seem to break that cycle. I keep telling myself to stop being so self-focused (a trait I abhor) and focus more on others. I haven’t gotten to where I need to be yet but I find your posts to be inspirational and would love to see more posts and workouts!!!

  4. Kirsten says:

    Thanks for sharing, Marianne! I always enjoy reading your thoughts. I also enjoyed your workout, even if I don’t exercise very much myself these days. But perhaps that will change! Anyway, glad to see you back!

    Kind regards from Kirsten

  5. Edel says:

    You were and continue to be my inspiration to start and continue strength training but I don’t have any wild expectations of you as a person or as a trainer. My P/T has hip problems and arthiritis but that doesn’t make him less of a professional his knowledge of sport and mobility is unbounded. Like you he works around his problem and does the training that suits him. You’ve been put through the ringer in the last year. People in my family have been through various problems at various points that have required them to go and talk to a counselor myself included. I’m not saying don’t talk about it on your blog, please continue it is helpful, reading about the mental health of sports people is very instructive for example Niall Breslin former rugby player is a great advocate for mental health. I can’t help but think you need time for you personally to resolve these thoughts with someone outside your family and the morass of internet commentators. Respect.

  6. Amber says:

    You rock!! I stumbled upon your website tonight and am happy I did. I don’t usually leave comments for people on their blogs… but I can really relate to this one and just wanted you to know that you aren’t alone & by the sounds of it, you are doing an amazing job at self growth!! Looking forward to reading more of your blogs and watching your youtube channel! Take care 🙂

  7. Mother dear says:

    Great post! Well written and honest to the core, and so very true of all of us! well said x

  8. lynda says:

    Beautiful to read and totally relatable. A kind boss once told me that perfection is the enemy of good and I continually have to remind myself of those wise words.

  9. Rosie says:

    Excellent blog post – I really needed this. 🙂

  10. Tracey says:

    It’s funny because I always thought you were perfect 🙂

  11. Miranda says:

    I love your honesty Marianne. I also struggle with these issues. I find that I have to daily receive the FREEDOM that Jesus offers us from these issues. Keep being you, and you will continue to have lots of loyal fans:)

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