You know you’re old when you start using phrases like “The older I get, the more I realize”, but there it is. You just accept it (and buy denture cream and spanx and start watching reruns of The Cosby Show).
The truth is, however, that the older I get, the more I realize that one of the most unequivocally attractive and stabilizing achievements in life is to be purely and unashamedly ONESELF.
That moment when, as someone who has always spent time concerned for the opinions and input of everyone else, you stop and say “This is what I want, this is who I am, and I am completely happy with both”.
In no way does this mean you are not constantly improving yourself and moving forward, but it does mean that you accept yourself as you are, acknowledge and appreciate both your weaknesses and your strengths, and choose to progress in the security of that self-awareness without great concern for the approval of those around you.
The older I get (just think of the spanx I’m not wearing every time you hear that phrase) the more I recognize my potential and my self-worth, and the more I realize that the one thing worth passing judgment on is the willingness of others to pass judgment on you.
DO YOU. You’ve heard that phrase? DO YOU… and the right people will appreciate you for who you are and accept you as you are.
Spend less time being the person everyone else wants to be themselves, or the person they think you should be. The alleviated stress is incredible, it’s like taking two tons of bricks, a rhino, and my weekly cheat meal off your shoulders. You can breathe, you can straighten up and see more of the world around you, and you progress at an amazingly accelerated pace because of the lightened load.
I’m going to take the time to address some of the negative comments I get regularly so you can see how I do this:
1. Your competitions and your photos are pornographic
A. My first inclination is to be hurt and defensive. In the past I would have explained my way over under sideways and backwards to try to make them see why what I was doing was right or good. But then I realized that I was doing what was right for me, and not necessarily for them, so there was no way to win them over.
B. Now, I simply say “I’m sorry you feel that way. I do not, and this makes me happy. I appreciate your perspective, but I do not share it”. What I used to do in particular was to explain how those involved in this sport would NEVER feel that way, because they know that it is genuinely about muscle tone, improvement, cuts, definition, and fitness. But there are millions of people who will not understand that.
2. This is an unhealthy obsession
A. One good thing to point out is that everyone has something they are SUPER into, even if they are super into doing nothing, or playing video games! This is a HEALTHY obsession. I try to gently remind others that I am not hurting my body, that I feel the best I ever have, and if they continue to press the matter I remind them that what is healthy for me may not be healthy for them.
B. It is also helpful to note that healthy is in many ways a state of mind. I do not constantly compare myself to others, I am not insecure and trying to reach perfection out of insecurity, and I am not doing it for attention (whatever others may choose to believe). My mind is in a very healthy place when I’m training and competing, where for others that may not be the case!
3. Your commitment to working out is selfish, you have a kid
Now THIS one will get me super worked up! I believe in the following:
A. The best thing you can do for your child apart from providing for their basic needs is to TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF. Present a healthy, confident, self-aware individual for them to imitate. Be a parent who is secure in themselves, their body, and their future, and watch how your children benefit from that.
B. Children are masters of imitation. I want to set a healthy lifestyle example for my son from the very beginning, just as I wanted to remove him from an unhealthy situation so he didn’t think that relationships should be the way mine was at the time.
4. What you are doing is immoral or wrong
Again, here is an example of someone else imposing what is right for them onto your life. Unacceptable. I never want to do this to anyone, and no one should want to do this to you. MANY times this is because they are insecure themselves. If they have a difference of opinion with you, they should present that respectfully, and honestly if they have no intimate involvement in your life and a deep knowledge of your character, I believe it isn’t their place to present that to you at all.
5. I’m offended by what you post or say or what I see
This one is simple. Kindly suggest that if they’re offended, they stop following/watching/looking/reading about your pursuits! Pretty easy. They choose what comes in their visual windows, leave that to them. You are not responsible for the negative opinions of others.
One of the greatest gifts you can give to yourself in the world is a humble posture with a kick ass attitude. Be confident enough to say THIS IS WHO I AM, but be gracious enough to do it in a mature way, and be humble enough to be open to other perspectives.
However, if you are secure in yourself and at peace with your motives and your goals, BE CONFIDENT.
Wear the sh*t outta who you are, let everyone see it. Don’t be an @sshole, but give the world the privilege of seeing your raw, beautiful, secure, gifted, confident self.
Stop wasting time proving yourself, and start making time count by being yourself.
Quit second guessing who you are.
You owe an explanation to no one; your conscience stands before you and God alone, so let it rest there and SIMPLY BE.
“All our progress is unfolding,
like a flower bud.
You have first an instinct, then an opinion,
then a knowledge as the plant has a root, bud, and fruit.
Trust the instinct to the end, though you can render no reason.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson