It’s a rush, and I try to do it at least twice a week … I squeeze my legs and bum into a pair of 3/4 length leggings, remove my bra and (usually) remember to replace it with another version – that of the sports variety – toss on a loose fitting, moisture-wicking, air-breathing tank top, and cover my feet in socks and runners.
I gather my water bottle, access pass, yoga mat, decide I need to go for a wee, so drop everything again, run to the loo, run back, juggle all my paraphernalia again, and stand at the lifts, jiggling up and down in impatience.
It’s usually about this time someone will wander past, look at me and utter the inevitable
“you’re so good”
Admittedly, admittedly, I suck at taking compliments at the best of times. Although I’m getting better, I struggle very much with someone saying any positive about me, or anything I’ve done, am doing, or am about to embark on. It’s … uncomfortable.
In this instance, however, whilst I may smile and nod, my head is not waving it’s hand and saying “oh, stop it!” in that cutesy way that really means “keep going”.
Instead, it is saying “I don’t care what you think”.
Not a particularly grateful response, I know.
It’s not because I don’t agree – or, now I think about it, not because I agree either.
It’s because, well, two things:
- I’m not doing it for them, so whether they think I’m good, bad, or otherwise is irrelevant
- It’s what they say immediately after that renders it completely, utterly null and void
“I really should …”
Go to the gym…
Go for a walk/run…
Join you for yoga classes…
Get back into exercise…
And in that moment, rather than saying something positive, you’ve justified – to yourself – your guilt about not doing anything for yourself.
For me, what I’m doing, aside from bouncing up and down waiting for the blood lifts to bloody hurry up because I’m already pushing it for time, is neither ‘good’ nor ‘bad’.
For me, it is nothing more complex than I don’t feel comfortable in the body I’m in right now.
I don’t like that it jiggles as much as it does, I don’t like the limited flexibility and strength it currently holds, and that all these things impeded my ability to do the things that I particularly enjoy doing.
So … urm, basically, I’m doing something about it. For me.
I mean, sure, other people get benefits from it, too. I can do stuff with my kids. My mind, particularly after the lunchtime classes, is more cohesive, calm, and able to function more clearly.
I’m happier, I sleep better, I do all the things that many, many years of research tells us that exercise does for us.
And I know that doing the things I do … the two lunchtime classes, the two taekwondo classes, the walking to the station and home again from the station most nights, and any other walking I can do in between … each week have also reduced my jiggling, and improved my flexibility and strength, helped me sleep better, eat better, think better, have more energy … blah blah blahdy blah.
These things are important to me.
Let me repeat that …
These things are important to ME.
I’m may or may not be more or less busy than anyone else. In my own life, I know I have a lot on in my day, and could just as easily justify the lack of time.
I don’t, because, although some days it is a massive effort, I have other things that need to be done, I’m tired, I’m cold, I can’t be bothered – all the excuses, really – the pain and effort of not doing it is greater than the pain and effort of doing it.
For me. I have said all this before.
That’s enough about me, let’s talk about you.
Let’s talk about why you feel so guilty and why you feel the need to say something, when it is not necessary.
Because what you’re doing is talking, not to tell me I’m “good”, but to justify to yourself why you “aren’t good”.
Why my fat arse makes your Guilt look big
You know why you feel guilty?
It’s not because you’re not making the time.
It’s not because you went and ate chocolate instead of going for a walk.
It’s not because you sat at your desk, again, during lunch.
It’s not because you spent the weekend binge-watching Netflix instead of taking you kids for that hike you said you’d do.
It’s because you’re lying to yourself.
You told yourself you would do something, and you didn’t.
You lied. To yourself.
Not to me. Not to your coworkers, your kids, your partner, your friends.
Just a thought … try being honest with yourself and holding yourself accountable for the things that are important to you.
First things, maybe decide how important it is to you to be more active, eat more nutritious foods, do the things that the research and media are telling us we “should” be doing to be “more healthy” …
Like, really, on a scale of one to 10, how important is it to you?
Consider all the other things in your life that are just as important to you – or may that just take up great chunks of your time – and think about where it sits if you have to prioritise them all.
If it’s somewhere near the lower end of the priority list, then all those other things are going to override it.
It’s perfectly okay if this is the case; this is not a judgement. It’s asking you to be honest and upfront with yourself.
It’s not about saying it “should” be more important, it’s about you first and foremost acknowledging, to yourself, that it’s of less import than other things in your life right now.
And that’s okay. Really, very okay.
If it’s somewhere near the top, and very important in your List Of Things, then start acting like it.
Because I don’t have the time or care factor to take on your Guilt … I have to take this fat arse and overwhelmed mind for a couple of downward dogs and some savasana so I can get some decent work done this afternoon.