I Was So Proud Until I Wasn’t

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A pic of me in the gym clearly working hard and not looking great.
Hard work isn't always pretty, but it is still worth it. If you still look good at the end of a workout, you aren't working hard enough.

I have been getting back to working hard on lifting more weight in the gym.  I am certainly not the strongest in the gym.  I am really nowhere near the youngest in the gym.  I am pretty certain that I may be close to the oldest woman in our gym.  But I don’t care about those things.  I know that I can’t do anything about those things.  I can only control myself.  Or can I?

This last week was a really big week for me.  It wasn’t  ‘life-changing big’, but things have been just kind of flowing along and it was nice to have something good come along.

We have had a new routine in our gym.  Classes have shuffled. We have been doing a new system lately.  It seems to be something that my body is responding to.  More weightlifting and less cardio.

Monday was – find a challenging, but good, snatch lift.  That meant that it was time to pick up my courage and add some extra weight to my lift, but not at the cost of good form.  Unlike other gyms where I have gone, my form is very important to my trainers.  If I lift heavy, but my form is wrong, they will make me lower my weight until I can lift with good form.  On a side note, not all gyms operate this way, but it’s the right way to lift without hurting yourself.  So I lifted and WOW, it was a personal record, cool!  

I eventually went on to another exercise, bench press.  I was supposed to find a heavy set of 8.  Wouldn’t you know, it was also a personal record.  I was so excited. Two pr’s in one day.  On Wednesday, my next day at the gym, I was to do the same thing, find a challenging clean and jerk.  With a lot of persuasions and a lot of encouragement, I also did a personal record.  That was three in one week.  

I was so happy with myself.  I felt strong! 

I felt empowered!  My coach was proud of me.  I rarely let myself feel this proud of myself.  Then came reality crashing down on me.  My coach took a video of my two heavy lifts, the snatch, and clean and jerk.  

As soon as each video started, my mood ran out of the room.  All I could see was my faults.  I saw my fat tummy.  I saw my form was not perfect.  I thought “is that what my hair looked like?” My legs were jiggling, my butt was jiggling, where were those strong muscles that I thought I had?  That bar really isn’t that heavy!  Who did I think was to be proud? Proud of what?  I was crushed!

  • Why was it ok for me to feel this way?
  • What happened to how proud I felt?
  • Shame on me for being too proud!
  • What changed between what I did and what I saw?

I really believe we have all had these feelings at one time or another.  It doesn't make them right, as a matter of fact, these feelings are the things that keep so many people from achieving great things.  I really do have a great support system, but even with all this great system, self-doubt can and will creep in and try to sabotage a great thing.  The most challenging thing is what you do next.

As soon as I said some of these feelings out loud, I realized that these feelings need to go.  Easier said than done.  

If one of my friends had come to me with this issue, I would have jumped all over them with everything supportive that I could come up with.  If it had been one of my kids I would have died inside a little that I hadn’t supported my kids enough because these feelings were so wrong.  But this was me and apparently none of those supportive thoughts are applied to myself.

Once I told my husband how I was feeling he was so upset that I wasn’t allowing myself to celebrate.  Then I felt bad for him.

One of the common traits of a lifelong caregiver is that you naturally put everyone else’s needs, wants, desires ahead of your own.  Naturally, that is the trait of most stay at home moms, it is unfortunately really hard to transition out of and to learn to take care of yourself.

One of the biggest reasons that I go to the gym is because it is one of the very few things that I do for myself.  Probably the other thing is I get my nails done once a month, ooh baby.  Self-care is so important in whatever form it takes for you.

So clearly I have some self-confidence issues that I need to work on.  I need to realize that regardless of what my own criticism says, I really can do some great things.  I really need to do better at believing what others tell me over what self-doubt tells me.  If I expect to empower others, I need to allow my own thoughts to empower me, not hold me back.

So, here goes nothing;

  • At 53, I started a brand new very challenging new sport, Olympic weightlifting.
  • I am really proud of my lifting. 
  • I am very strong.
  • I am so happy with how much I have grown and learned.  
  • I am more powerful than I think.
  • and My nails are great 😉

Be strong, be fearless, be beautiful. And believe that anything is possible when you have the right people there to support you.

Misty Copeland

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