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Where Your Issues At?

A few years ago, when I first started hitting the gym, I had a smashing-hot BodyPump instructor. This lady had a very sculpted but feminine physique, with enough body fat to look really healthy, but still enough muscle tone to show that she was really fit. I spent most of the class trying to figure out whether we had a similar enough body type that I could maybe one day look like her if I kept up with fitness.

I mean, she wasn’t an airbrushed picture in a magazine – she was an actual breathing woman with a workout routine that very possibly led to awesomeness. So I thought I would ask her a couple of questions after class and try to figure out what other workouts she did.

So I chatted her up and we talked for a bit about BodyPump and different workouts, and I was growing more impressed with her awesomeness by the second.

Then I asked, “So what else do you do?” – meaning, obviously, “to stay in shape?”

And then the most unexpected thing happened: this amazing, strong, confident woman practically shrank before my eyes. She muttered something about teaching a couple of other classes as well and having a few personal training clients, and got busy putting away gym equipment.

Suddenly it dawned on me: I asked “what do you do to look awesome so I can do it too?” and she heard something completely different. She heard “What else do you do for a living that’s more important/impressive than teaching group fitness?”

Now, I think that teaching group fitness is an awesome job. And it looked like she really enjoyed it. But I don’t think that she considered it somehow “enough.” And the worst part was, when she received a sincere complement based in pure admiration, she couldn’t even pat herself on the back for being awesome.

This encounter really stayed with me over the years. And when I am feeling maybe a little bit judged, I try to remember:

  • What we hear is often not what was said.
  • It’s useful to know where our issues are so we can adjust for them, even a little.

2 comments

1 Kaley { 10.28.10 at 9:00 pm }

I like this a lot. This is often so, so true and we refuse acknowledge it.

[Reply]

2 Shamima { 10.29.10 at 2:05 am }

it’s natural but we are stuck inside our brains a little too much, so we think everything is about us, but most often it isn’t. i am working hard not to take things personally, even if someone tells me it actually is about me. it’s not.

[Reply]

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