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  • Writer's pictureCourtney Jordan

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

If you know anything about my story, I met my husband at the gym. I was not in the healthiest place and I invested in a trainer. Cue Damien's entrance into my life. It was over four years ago that we met and I began my fitness journey and my journey to marriage (unbeknownst to me) . I will never forget that first workout we had and those first few weeks of changing my diet. Damien reprogrammed all of my meals and gave me a workout script to follow. He told me that it would be 6 weeks before I saw the scale move, but to keep at it.

I worked out 5 days a week and began to incorporate strength training. The first time Damien brought me to a squat rack, I thought he was crazy. The first time he set me up to deadlift, I flat out said, "NO WAY!" I had no idea what he was thinking and why he thought I would be able to do anything like that. After many bumps in the road, heavy weight training is now a part of my routine and I love it! I have seen my body change because of it and I have seen my mindset change, too. I'm less afraid to try things because I've seen what happens when you keep working at something that seems impossible.

I'm also extremely hard on myself about it.

Recently, I had a bad set at the squat rack. My warmup session went well and I felt confident going into my set; I was going to squat 210 lbs. for 5 repetitions. Well, I maxed out at 3 and 1/2 reps. I was shattered, disappointed, mad at myself, and sulking. Damien tried to tell me it was okay and that I was fine. I felt like a failure and that I had regressed from my previous week. That's how I always feel when I don't do better than the last time - like I've completely failed.

It didn't occur to me that I just had an off day and I would try again next time. I didn't give myself credit for what I did do. Instead, I focused on how I fell short. I sat for a bit to collect myself. I had to move on to the next part of my workout (the benchpress) and did my best to shake it off. As I was getting the bar ready, a man came up to me and said, "You're doing great today." I looked around because there was no way he was talking to me. Did you see me just suck on that last set?

He said it again and I was stunned. I smiled and said thank you. I also felt embarrassed. I was sad at how quickly I downed myself because I didn't perform well. I could not believe that it took a stranger to help me see what I had accomplished and that it had been a part of a long journey - full of ups and downs. It gave me a different perspective on how I see myself and how others see me. Oftentimes, most people are not looking for the mess up that you usually see when scanning a situation or an experience. They see what you're doing and, for the most part, the good is going to outweigh the bad in that. Unfortunately, that's not how we see in ourselves.

Are you like me in that way? You see most of what you did "wrong" and none of the things you did right. Also, even if you do something "wrong," you consider it an epic failure. You give yourself no credit for all the hard work you have put into the process. Instead, you take that one less than favorable moment and magnify it to the sum total of every effort that you put into your latest endeavor.

It's not fair to us to do that to ourselves. I'm not saying you won't have a rough time or a "bad set" as Damien called it. I'm also not saying that you won't fail at your attempts on the journey. I am saying that failure is a part of the journey and that it is normal. We are not perfect. Perfection defeats the purpose of the process. How would we ever learn and grow if we got it right every time? Quite frankly, perfection is kind of boring. The best lessons are in the hiccups and the full-blown disasters.

I wish I could say that I recovered from my bad set quickly. The truth is it took me a couple of days. I wish I was more confident in what I can do, but it's still hard for me, four years later. I am human and so are you, but we are working on it, right?

Maybe you're not where you want to be yet. Maybe you still beat on yourself when you make a mistake or run into a speed bump. I encourage you, as I encourage myself, to remember the work you have done and the plusses that are in your column. We both focus too much on the minuses when the wins are just as obvious and noticeable as the losses.

Let's make it a point to learn more from the loss than to focus on it. Let's also make it a point to highlight the wins, too! Let's give ourselves credit for what we have done instead of burying ourselves under what we didn't do or didn't do well. The more we do that, the more we will build up instead of tear down.

Until next time, take good care of yourselves, friends,

Courtney xoxo

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