I’m here, climbing these steps in the gym. Kind of wishing I hadn’t set myself up at such a high speed. I’m already tired. I’m trying to act like I’m not actually dying, huffing and puffing up these steps.
I come here to feel good. To release stress. But I find myself even more stressed. I look to the person to my right. She’s going faster, she’s been here for 20 minutes, I’ve been here for four and I’m exhausted.
She’s got a bigger butt, leaner legs, probably a thigh gap too. Probably because she’s more determined. She’s better at this kind of thing. I’m not as good.
I go straight to the leg machines. If I have a nicer butt, toner legs people will notice. And sometimes they do. But then I wonder if that’s the attention I should be looking for.
Then it switches:
That girl, she’s wearing those leggings… but should she? Should I? That girl should probably do more squats. Oh, she gained some weight, or she lost a lot of weight. She used to work out all the time. Well, at least I’m ahead of her. But she, she works out every day. I need to stop being lazy.
When did other women become my enemy? Something to degrade to make me feel upgraded? An enemy I have created myself, in my mind.
When did I become my worst enemy?
When did something in my mind go off and say that I can belittle myself? Or others for that matter.
How did I get to a place where I lose confidence because I lack self-love.
I tell myself I do it to feel good. Exercise, eat healthily. But as I roam around the gym I realize my mind may not be in the same place as my heart.
These two thoughts come to mind:
- Real, authentic self-love is hard. Be humble they say. Don’t be prideful. She’s too confident. Don’t overdo it. Don’t be too much. Oh, and don’t be too little either.
- Yet, be confident, be proud of your accomplishments, show people what you’re made of.
How is anyone supposed to live with these expectations? Is there even middle ground here? How can I balance these feelings?
These are all words I typed on my phone as I moved around the gym to different machines and places that would make me feel different feelings and emotions. I had to ask myself why I think such detrimental thoughts and why I hadn’t noticed it before.
I feel ashamed for the way I look and feel about myself, but more so about how I look and feel about others. It’s all a subconscious thing until now. This conversation had gone on in my head for so long, I didn’t realize its effect.
So, what now? I don’t know. It’s a constant struggle to show myself and others respect inside of my mind. Because those thoughts count too. Thinking of them in the first place is what leads to saying them out loud.
So I have done the only thing I know how to do right now. I know I want to take steps to eliminate these negative, demeaning thoughts.
1.) Pray for positive thoughts
2.) Find an accountability partner
3.) Stop the negative thoughts and replace them with positive ones ASAP.
4.) Remind myself we are ALL human. We’re all made in the image of God and judging ourselves and each other isn’t even our job.
5.) We should be loving on ourselves and each other, not degrading. Whether it’s only in the space of our minds or not.
6.) Get over yourself. (What I have to say to myself because I’m not the only person in the room.)
Writing this, let alone publishing it, has been hard. I was so hesitant to hit the publish button because it could mean shattering some views other people have of me. But, if it means being honest and real so that more people- women specifically- can talk about this comfortably, then it’s worth it.
As you can see I’m not perfect. I don’t have this all figured out. But, I do want to make a change. I want girls and women to feel confident going into the gym or anywhere. I want them to feel good about themselves and others. So, I hope this is a step toward that.
And know that no matter the size on your tag, the size of your butt, whether you wear leggings or not, how much time you spend in the gym, or how many green things you eat, God loves you all the same. And He is the only one who can authentically, unconditionally, portray that kind of love. But, we can learn from Him and hope to love each other and ourselves like that.
Have you ever felt these feelings? Let me know your thoughts!
Until next time,
(God, I pray for whoever reads this that You use these words for their good and for their needs specifically. And that anything I might have said that does not align with Your Words and beliefs that You change it so that it does.)