One thing I’ve always wanted??
To be more flexible.
I remember back to like the 5th or 6th grade when they would have us do those presidential tests or whatever they were called in PE. (Anyone else know what I’m talking about?!?)
You know – where they had you do a series of different tests and then you got a ribbon or award or something depending on where you fell in the numbers… I seem to recall blue was the best?? But it is all very vague in my memory and I may, in fact, have all of the details completely wrong. 😆😂
What I do remember quite clearly, though, is how I felt the first time I DIDN’T get the highest level award for my fitness.
I remember the toe touching stretch… me sitting on the ground in front of the box with the ruler on it, with my legs stretched out in front of me and leaning forward with my hands to see how far up the ruler I could reach.
And I remember that no matter how hard I tried or how hard I pushed, I couldn’t reach the required mark on the ruler.
I remember, too, the first time I couldn’t do all the pull-ups or climb the rope and touch the knot at the top.
I remember the embarrassment I felt with peers watching and all the shame and disappointment around “not good enough.”
And I remember taking on the beliefs of “not flexible,” “not strong,” and “not athletic” from that point forward.
Like as if these were character traits – ones that made me “less than” – and not a changeable thing. 😆
Like “Hi, My name is Deise. I have brown eyes and I’m not flexible.”
But that IS how I saw it. And, as a result, dreaded PE classes and limited my involvement in sports and physical activity as much as possible. Volleyball and clogging were the only exceptions. But even those were filled with lots of stress and anxiety.
f course, limiting my involvement led to less flexibility, less strength, and less athletic ability… eventually culminating in major lower back issues near the end of my first pregnancy and beyond. 😆
That’s how self fulfilling prophecy works.
I still don’t identify with these words as the primary descriptors for me. And what’s amazing is even when I was really active in Beachbody coaching and really fitting that “mold” even more, I still didn’t see myself this way. I was more fit and strong and flexible and athletic than I’ve ever been (and still am pretty fit!). But rather than seeing myself as strong, fit, flexible, and athletic, you know where my brain went??
“You’re a fraud.”
“You’re a fraud because you look like all these things, but you’re really not.”
“You’re deceiving people.”
Thoughts like these are why most changes don’t last. Because we change the actions and the outside appearance, but without a change in the underlying belief system about ourselves and who we are as a person, it’s mentally too uncomfortable to stay there.
Something has to give.
Either the actions have to give to align with the original beliefs about self (hello self-sabotage!), or the beliefs about self have to shift to align with the new actions / results / perception of reality.
What I know now is that these thoughts are just a sign of cognitive dissonance, meaning there are sets of beliefs in the brain that contradict each other.
What I’m playing with in my mind, too, is that perhaps it is also that one set of beliefs has been claimed, but the other has not…
The idea of duality in all things… that idea we are everything and nothing all at once.
The idea that you can’t have strength without weakness, or weakness without strength. Two sides of the same coin.
The idea that you can’t have good without bad or lightness without darkness.
I actually find it really empowering sometimes to believe BOTH, in a way that neither are triggering.
The issue isn’t that I’m not strong or flexible or athletic.
The issue is that I have a tendency to claim the ways that I am NOT all of those, while also having a tendency to deny the ways I AM all of those.
Because I think I am NOT by default… believing anything else will feel “fradulent” at first and my brain will want to self sabotage back to what I already believe about myself on default.
Where this really got me was when I thought about my sisters who played sports in high school. No matter what they do or don’t do, they will always be “athletic” in my mind. 🧐🤨🤔
Identifying myself as strong and fit and flexible and athletic and active – ultimately that is a mindset shift – and it STARTS with claiming the ways that I ALREADY AM and have been those things all along.
This is something I’ve been working on since January of this year, when I first noticed (or perhaps re-noticed?) some of the underlying beliefs I had about myself.
And before changing a thing… I started to shift my mindset just by starting to notice and claim and own the ways I ALREADY WAS the way I wanted to be.
This squat in the picture included with this post… one could make it mean that I am flexible… or that I am not so flexible… depending on who or what you compare to. (It is for sure a stretch for me to get here and I can’t maintain balance for more than a few seconds before I tip over. LOL.)
I am flexible. And I am not. It’s really easy for me to claim the latter. And I’m in the process of really claiming and owning the former. 😉
Whatever it is you want to see more of in yourself – start first with seeing the ways that you ALREADY ARE it.
You are already her.
Reclaim it and own it.
And then keep building more evidence for it, little by little, day by day…
Until one day you wake up, and you notice it just IS how you think about yourself on default.
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