An 8-pack to Admire–Yes, I Said 8!
I had the most outstanding moment yesterday. It was simple but profound, and my response was so calm and natural, it almost shocked me.
I’ve been trying out a new gym (a ‘CrossFit’ gym here in Germany, crazy enough) for the past week, seeing if it and the trainer resonated with me (the answer is yes, but more on that another time). I had only gone to early weekday morning classes prior to yesterday, but had been encouraged to come on Saturday, too. So I checked it out.
Walking in was a different experience in itself as a small crowd of über-athletic younger people were crowded outside in the sunshine, and my 40-year-old self was hurriedly dragging my two kids along. The other days I’d attended, everyone had been more or less like me: a little bit older, many having children. Inside wasn’t much better–full of people who were both younger and in way better condition than I am currently. Trying to cross from the door to the safe area where the kids get ‘parked,’ I saw her–a young twenty-something, crazily well-developed, 6 foot statuesque blond, wearing only leggings and a sports bra and a visible 8-pack. Ho-lee-cow.
It was like seeing a blonder, younger version of Gabrielle Reece in person in your gym. And here’s where that outstanding moment happened: instead of immediately feeling that stabbing surge of ‘I’m not good enough’ comparison to this incredible athlete, I simply took it in. I admired her muscular development and obvious athletic ability. That was it. No jealousy, no inferiority, no involuntary comparison. Just plain ‘ol admiration for her obvious work ethic, because you don’t get that way through inconsistency or wishy-washy commitment. Just peaceful admiration and acceptance of her athletic being. AND acceptance of mine.
That was what almost shocked me, because in the past–and not-so-distant past, if I’m being honest–I would have felt ‘less than’ in the presence of someone like her, but on this day I felt nothing but calm acceptance of the fact that she was fully engaged in the business of being her best, and I was fully engaged in the business of being mine. And those business are distinctly different, non-competing businesses. That was the simple, but profound part. It was a natural response on my part that required no conscious self-talk, just ‘wow.’
At 40, with two kids in tow and ambition on my mind, I am finally getting to be enough in MY own skin, fully engaged in MY business of becoming MY greatest self. The relief that has come with greater self-acceptance cannot be overstated. The experience of feeling full of myself cannot be overstated. “Comparison is the thief of joy.” On this day, in circumstances that would have undone my self-confidence and self-worth in the past, there was no comparison. Only joy.