Unfortunately, if there is one thing that nearly all of us seem to lack...it's self-acceptance. If you have any doubt...just observe the lengths we go to in order to win the acceptance of others. It doesn't take long to realize that most of our actions are driven out of insecurity...our need for acceptance.
We seek acceptance from others because we do not accept ourselves.
Making friends is so easy. All you have to do is look people in the eye...listen...for real...and genuinely accept them unconditionally. No scrutiny. No judgement. No liking or disliking. Just kind acceptance. Care for them for a minute or two. Try it and you see just how starved for acceptance we are. It costs nothing.
Many of you already know this.
When it comes to fitness...most knowledgeable folks will tell you it's best to have some sort of a plan. However...before you can set out on your path...it's very helpful to know where you are...now. More than knowing where you are going...you need to know where you are starting. A fitness program only makes sense if it takes you from where you are now.
Self-acceptance also requires that you understand yourself. Bobby Scott is doing a three part series of "Finding Your Essence" as it relates to fitness, because he recognizes how vital it is that we understand exactly who we are...and proceed accordingly. All good fitness programming is based on an accurate assessment of not only WHERE you are...but WHO you are. What are your natural strengths and weaknesses? What type of movement agrees with your body, mind and spirit? What ignites your spirit? Running is not for everyone by any means.
I know it may sound a bit strange...but it's my observation that lack of self-acceptance defeats more would-be athletes than anything else. You see it all the time. A person is going fine...improving, developing, making real progress. Then something happens; they end up working out with someone more advanced...or maybe they enter a competition...or maybe they just see something on TV...or read about it...or a friend says something. Suddenly, they feel bad about themselves. They become disheartened...lose faith...lose energy...quit...overreach...or do some other stupid thing...all because of their insecurity. It's this very sort of thing which makes Facebook hazardous to your health.
We need to strengthen ourselves. Strive to improve. But do so from a place of total acceptance of where you are and who you are.
Here are some simple things we can do that will help us with acceptance of self:
- Avoid self-criticism and negative self-talk. Use words that reflect an acceptance of self. Avoid trashing your energy with words that degrade you. They take a physical as well as a psychological toll.
- Strongly resist the urge to criticize others. Avoid it like the plague. Make it a discipline. I can't emphasize this enough. Every criticism that you utter is another brick you end up carrying around all day...day after day. This is for your benefit. The only one that actually hears all your criticisms is you...and your subconscious doesn't miss nothin'. Trust me.
- Don't react to defeats or so-called failures. No big deal. Take it in stride.
- Just as important...don't react to victories or so-called successes. Take satisfaction in your achievements but still treat them like they are no big deal. Stay on an even keel.
- Practice non-judgement. Avoid labeling things as good or bad or better or worse etc.. Things just are.
- Try to view yourself from an infinite perspective.
You may want to try this beautiful affirmation from Stuart Wilde:
"I am what I am: Eternal, immortal, universal & infinite."
Please let me re-emphasize that words have extraordinary power. Never underestimate that. I'm certain there will come a time...if it's not here already...where it will be possible to scientifically measure the affect of words on your physical strength.
In the meantime, remember this; In fitness and in life...you need stability before you can develop strength, speed, flexibility or much of anything lasting. Stability comes first. Self-acceptance provides stability of mind, body & spirit.
Let's cultivate it. Maybe we should make it a holiday resolution.
All the best!!