As a fitness professional and ‘personal trainer’, I find it difficult to train myself. It is difficult to push myself to the point necessary to be uncomfortable. That inability to breathe forces me to stop – when I could likely complete another repetition or two. The burning sensation encourages me to speed up to finish more quickly (more often than not I am training a specific tempo and I through that to the gutter). I frequently want to stop. Often, I do stop.
The funny thing is, I LOVE working out. I love sweating. I love feeling like I accomplished something. I love the physical exhaustion the day of an intense workout. More than anything….I love being the strongest woman in the gym!!! So why is it such a struggle to push myself?
I haven’t always loved all these things. When I began working out, I started with water aerobics and swimming because I could not feel my sweat. It wasn’t until years later that I truly became passionate about exercise. All following my lengthy, frustrating process of recovering from injury. During this time, I leaned on MY personal trainer and mentor to see me through. He provided the human support I needed. Sometimes that meant screaming in my face, but mostly it involved leading me through exercises that I was able to complete – despite my multitude of limitations – allowing me to claim confidence and self-efficacy. I found something that I was good at doing!! I mean, really good!!! For those who have worked with him, he has an ability to help others see in themselves what they may not otherwise see. While primarily in a physical and exercise capacity, there were times conversation would wander to self-worth and purpose. Through leaning on somebody else, I learned to love and appreciate myself in ways I had never known imaginable.
As a result of my upbringing, I am an EXTREMELY independent woman. “If I cannot do it myself, then the chances are it doesn’t need to be done and I can get by without it.” I will meet my own basic, physical, mental, and emotional needs. I have learned in recent years how unrealistic this mentality is. We ALL need somebody to lean on. And one person at a time, I have been able to allow myself to lean on others.
Leaning on another individual requires you to embrace vulnerability. Yes, that ‘V” word. It may mean letting go of insecurities. Releasing pride. Opening your heart. I spent years reading and learning about vulnerability and such – believing it was not for me. You cannot read a self-help book without seeing reference to your need to lean on others to see you through – whether you are suffering or simply desiring to be the best you. I held resistance to this for so long! It wasn’t until I first ‘needed’ someone to help me physically that I learned the true necessity of leaning on somebody else. And slowly but surely, that resistance has been weakening and I can generalize that concrete need to what I view to be more abstract areas (e.g., emotions) of life.
“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.… Each one should test his own actions.… each one should carry his own load.” Galatians 6:2-5
How do you lean on others? What do you need to let go of, grasp onto?