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Be……Happy? What my gym experience taught me about self-care and self-love.

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Happy!…..??

There I was. At a new gym for the first time. It didn’t seem like a very intimidating place (ideal for a person like me, who doesn’t thrive in anything athletic and was once described as “risk averse” by a very good friend). It was a bit of a confusing first class

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I do not look like this during a pull up, or a modified pull up…..  Photo by Charlotte Karlsen on Unsplash

because there were groups and stations, and it was all very new to me. So one of the exercises was a pull up. I looked at the instructor when it was my turn and said “any modifications?” and BeckyLindsayHeather enthusiastically said “for sure! Just jump into this (flimsy af rubber band looking) strap and I’ll help support you!” Now BLH looked to be very fit, but she was also about 4 inches shorter and about 40 pounds lighter than me, basically if I go down, I’m taking BLH with me. I looked at her with a kind of half smile half fear and replied, “yeah I’m not doing that.” Friends, the look of judgment that passed through her eyes was palpable. It wasn’t malicious, but she definitely threw a little shade in my direction. Flashback to the Presidential Fitness Challenge and the look on Coach Pariso’s face when she finally realized I’m not going to be one of her star athletes and let’s just all accept it and move on with our lives.

Now, why am I sharing this story with you? To get sympathy? Obviously. To discuss something important I learned that day? Yes, that’s probably more accurate. For those of you that read the blog, you know Dr Wendy and I focus on self-care quite a bit. It’s important to be your own advocate for not only health care, but also in your relationships, with your career, and definitely when you’re trying something new at the gym. We live in a time when self-care is shouted from the rooftops, but setting your own boundaries can be seen aggressive or almost like a lack of trying. I can understand why people feel so much pressure all the time. We should accept who we are and be happy with ourselves, but at the same time push ourselves “out of the comfort zone! Try harder! Be skinnier, richer, happier!” It’s almost like we are getting told to be better at being our best.

At the end of the day, it’s all about finding balance. Striving to be the best version of ourselves,

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Snapped on a Chicago street. @wrdsmth

best version of ourselves, but remembering we are being the best version OF OURSELVES. Not the person running the gym next to us, not the neighbor whose flowers are growing better than ours (RIP Succulent Susan, you had a good run), not someone whose timeline is clearly different than ours. I did end up doing this modified pull up with Coach BLH’s help, but only because I asked her for it and stood up for myself and my boundaries. With that, I’ll sign off. Be happy, be well, and do your best.

I would like to thank Dr Wendy for holding down the fort, and letting me disappear from the blog for a few months. XO.

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