Stop Holding Yourself Back

Ever feel like you just can’t get a break? As good as I know I have it with my supportive partner Joe and great family and friends, sometimes my stress level goes so high through the roof that it feels like nothing is going right. After weeks of dealing with getting our apartment somewhat situated, this weekend was meant to be devoted to cleaning, organizing, and assembling furniture. Unfortunately the place still looks like a wreck for the most part.

While those of you who have been reading for a while have likely read my post about the way stress can impact your health, what about the vicious cycle that is perpetuated when being stressed makes you want to work out less and eat like crap and the more you do those things the more stressed you feel? I can pretty much pinpoint a couple of days out of each month during which I am going to be a complete mess. I get super emotional, snap for no reason, and just can’t find the motivation to work out or eat particularly healthy.

On top of everything else that has been going on the past few weeks to increase my stress level, today was one of those days. At every turn something was going wrong and all I wanted to do was go back to bed and stay there. Instead Joe and I went for a jog down to the Navy Yard where he filmed my second video for Tuesday Trainer (which I will post soon). Even before I started my Tabata workout for the video, I was feeling much better from the run. It wasn’t a long one, but it was enough for me to have a bit of clarity. It was also the first time Joe and I have ever run together so that made it all the more amazing.

As the day went on things frankly continued to fall apart. Instead of focusing on those though, I think it’s important for me to acknowledge the good things that happened. Joe and I now own two new pieces of furniture (even if one did get partially broken, it’s still better than the nothing-at-all we had in its place earlier today!) and I got some quality time with my favorite guy over fitness, barbecue, and Purple Cow yogurt (my favorite!).

If I had let myself wallow in my own misery this morning I would have missed out on all of those great things. Instead, I feel like I have the wherewithal (along with my personal cheerleaders–Joe especially) to get through just about anything. The moral of this story is that while other people can help bolster you up, the only person who can really hold you back is you.

For years I did just that. I held myself back because I was afraid of what might happen if I actually gave myself the freedom to succeed. What if I still failed? Wasn’t it just safer to never try? There are still some days, especially when I have a particularly challenging run planned, that I become terrified of failure. It sometimes makes me dread even putting on my sneakers. But then I remember what it was like to finish my first 5K, and my first 8K, and my first half marathon. I remember what it was like to buy my first pair of size 12 jeans, then size 10, then 8, then (unbelievably) size 6! The feelings associated with success are enough to make me stare down the fear of failure, at least on most days. On those days when fear seems like it is going to win, I have wonderfully supportive people to help me fight it.

Not everyone is supportive though, and that has taken some time to navigate. Not everyone wants to see me succeed or be happy. I’ve had to learn to take the bad with the good and acknowledge that others can only do so much; the majority of the way your life turns out lies in how you treat yourself and what you work to accomplish. People can only support you and lift you up if you are already taking steps forward and they can only drag you down if you are already dragging yourself down. Take a chance on yourself and you may just be surprised at how little actually stands in your way!

I’m off to bed so I can get up tomorrow and give fear of failure a gigantic high-knee to the face! Maybe a little violent, but you get the picture.

My question for you: Who are your biggest cheerleaders and how have you dealt with those people in your life who have been less than supportive?

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