Don’t Be a Jerk

Let’s play make believe for a few moments.

I want you to imagine that I have a brand new client.  A client who has never trained before.  They’ve never set foot in a gym.  They’ve never even exercised at all.

They finally summoned the courage to make a positive change, gave me a call, and we’ve made arrangements to get started.

The next day, they walk in to the gym, and we make brief introductions.  We hit the gym floor and I ask them to do a body weight squat.  They make their best attempt, however there are multiple things that aren’t correct.

I say, “That was terrible.  Is that seriously the best you can do?”

Despite me being rude, they make a second attempt.  This time they try as hard as they can to mimic the image they have of a proper squat, wind up going lower than they have the stability for, and end up landing hard on their butt.

Amidst their frustration and embarrassment, I loudly say “Wow, you are really terrible at this!  You should probably give up.”

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Let’s imagine one more scenario, shall we?

Let’s say my two year old daughter, Sophie, sees her older sister, Lila, riding her bike.  In an attempt to mimic her older sister (a more than regular occurrence) Sophie climbs up on Lila’s bike, and completely topples over.

Ignoring that Sophie doesn’t have the skills, or ability, yet to ride her sisters bike, I say “Are you really stupid enough think you can ride that bike?  You’ll never be as good at this as your sister.  You should just give up.”

(SIDE NOTE: I hated writing that last example and would never speak like that to my daughters.  Just for the record.)

If you were to witness either of these situations, and hear my subsequent responses, you would most likely think that I was a huge jerk.  In fact, you’d probably think some much stronger words than that, but I won’t type them here because my mom reads this blog. (Hi mom.)

And you would be completely justified.  Those would be terrible ways to treat a new client, or my daughter.

However, here’s the twist.

While witnessing someone being treated like that would make our blood boil, isn’t that how we treat ourselves?

Isn’t that how we talk to ourselves?

We make some positive changes to our lives, and the second we screw it up we say, “Why am I so terrible at this? I should probably give up.”

We get motivated by others to exercise, but before we ever hit the gym we say, “how stupid am I to think I can make the same progress they have?  I’ll never get to where they are.  I should just give up.”

This isn’t a rare thing.  In fact, it’s incredibly common.

This kind of treatment would never be acceptable towards someone else, yet we treat ourselves this way…

ALL.

THE.

TIME.

We speak to ourselves harshly.

We cut ourselves down.

We expect ourselves to be capable of things we don’t yet have the skills or abilities for, and when we fail we only reaffirm the negativity we have already been sending our own way.

Can I ask you to do one thing?

Stop it.

Seriously, stop it.

If you are attempting to do anything noteworthy or challenging, you’re going to mess it up.  Probably a lot.

Probably way more than you’re comfortable with.

But, that’s a huge part of doing something worthwhile.

Messing things up HAS TO HAPPEN to get to the next step.  It’s not something you get to avoid.  It’s part of the process.

So please, stop it.

Stop being a jerk to yourself.

Stop treating yourself in a way you would never let someone else be treated.

Because, the truth is…you deserve it just as much as they do.

 

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