It is easy to talk about having courage... when things are going your way.
It is easy to talk about overcoming adversity... when you are on the summit of a mountain you have just scaled.
It is easy to talk about vulnerability... when you have found the strength to encourage others, after a journey you just made it through successfully.
It is a little more difficult to talk about those things when life slams you hard... repeatedly...within a matter of 3 days.
For me, it is the most difficult (and genuinely heart breaking) to just wait out the storm...and hope the damage doesn’t wipe out all of my work.
My close girlfriends will tell you that during these times I tend to disappear. All of a sudden I’m off the grid. I don’t return phone calls or texts, and I “story tell” about how I’m “just really busy” with work. Luckily, those same close friends will come to my house to check things out for themselves. I am blessed to have people in my life who don’t tolerate my “do it myself” attitude or my isolation tactics.
As I began blogging last year, my intention was to let you know, you are not alone in your struggle to achieve health and fitness. I have overcome hardships that I know others have faced and are facing now. I have found the way to put my health and fitness first. I have let go of the fear that my entire world will crumble if I put my needs ahead of anything or anyone. I have discovered the joy of serving my son, family, friends, and savior better as a whole person, instead of a workaholic.
However, as this current week has proven, I am still struggling with accepting that failure can come at any moment, no matter what you do. No amount of prayer, positive thinking, and affirmations can hold you exempt from failure. You can make all the plans in the world (while working as hard as you can), only to watch what you have built crumble in a matter of moments.
Sometimes we think that courage is standing in the face of our obstacles ready for battle. We “man up”. We put on our armour...and we stand strong waiting for it.
But what I have discovered the last few months (and what I have experienced this week), is that often courage is most needed in those moments after the storm.
In those moments that you can do absolutely nothing to fix what’s been broken.
In those moments when you just want to hide...or cry alone on the floor of your apartment.
When the disappointment is crushing, and your inability to “man up” is gone.
When you get caught without your armour, and you take a painful hit.
It is always so difficult for me to recognize, that courage (in those moments), reveals itself in vulnerability.
It is courage to reach out and show someone close to you, what is really going on.
It is courage to show someone the imperfect part of our lives, instead of the edited version we show the rest of the world.
It is courage to put down the armour and ask someone to stand next to us.
It is in those moments we discover the power of vulnerability.
The following is from Dr. Brene Brown’s famous Ted Talks.
“Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity, and change...I’ve failed miserably, many times. I don’t think the world understands that because of shame….Shame, for women, is this web of unobtainable, conflicting, competing expectations about who we’re supposed to be. And it’s a straight-jacket.
Empathy is the antidote to shame.
The two most powerful words when we’re in struggle: me too.
If we’re going to find our way back to each other, vulnerability is going to be that path. And I know it’s seductive to stand outside the arena, because I think I did it my whole life, and think to myself,I’m going to go in there and kick some ass when I’m bulletproof and when I’m perfect. And that is seductive. But the truth is that never happens. And even if you got as perfect as you could and as bulletproof as you could possibly muster when you got in there, that’s not what we want to see. We want you to go in. We want to be with you and across from you. And we just want, for ourselves and the people we care about and the people we work with, to dare greatly.”
How does all of this relate to health and fitness?
Maybe this will encourage you to be vulnerable, and ask for someone to join the journey with you. Or maybe, if you have mastered the journey in your own life, you could help those you see struggling around you...without judgement. Coming to to someone’s aid with empathy, during their struggle is also vulnerability on your part. It is another way courage shows itself.
“Vulnerability is our most accurate measurement of courage.” Dr. Brene Brown
The journey of health and fitness is riddled with hardships, and people who try to discourage you from putting yourself first. To make it even more difficult, there are also many "experts" who will try to sell the false idea that “ perfection” is possible... if you just work hard enough.
That quest for perfection kills vulnerability, and isolates us from each other.
We look at each other and see everyone’s “game face” (or their edited photos), and we immediately see that we don’t measure up.
What if we were honest about how hard it is to fight back fear?
What if we were honest about how our crazy schedules are killing our health?
What if we were honest about how hard it is to ignore the messages the “industry” is selling us?
What if we took off our protective armour and walked with one another on the journey?
What if we embraced our imperfections, instead of making health and fitness a competition to be perfect?
You are not alone in the journey... I am not alone in the journey…
Unless we isolate ourselves on purpose…
Unless we see someone struggling with the journey, and walk away proud that we are “better” than that person, or more “fit” than that person.
I am hoping to join the journey with you, on your way to becoming strongest version of yourself...and I am inviting you to come with me on mine.
Let’s “Dare Greatly” together...