the stories we tell ourselves

Some true fitness facts about me, circa January 2017:

1 – I’ll never learn to swim because I’ve had a phobia of water since I was three. My older cousins ran and jumped straight into the water, and I followed. I was wearing armbands but it was my first time in a pool, so I had no idea that water would go into every orifice, and it would burn in the back of my throat. And although I had the armbands, I still recall that sense of panic because I couldn’t put my feet on the ground and there was nothing to grab onto, to pull me out of the water

2 – I could never do a contact sport because I’m far too much of a wimp. I was always picked last for any team sports at school because I would cower away from the ball when it came near me. Basketball, football, rounders, netball, cricket – I hated them all because I was scared of being a wimp. So a combat sport is out of the question, even now. Because I DON’T WANT TO BE HIT IN THE FACE!!

3 – I’ve never had any strength in my arms, and never will. I watched a programme about this (I think Michael Moseley may have been involved), and some people just can’t get any fitter or stronger, not matter what they do. I’ve tried basic strength training and push-ups but I never get any stronger so there’s no point. My lack of strength has pretty much become a standing joke. I’m just naturally weak


Some true fitness facts about me, February 2018:

1 – I can swim unaided. Albeit not far, and only towards a wall that I can hold onto. I have a long way to go but I’m learning

2 – I’m a member of a boxing club. No, not boxercise but an actual boxing club, where we can spar and, yes, I have been punched in the face and lived to tell

3 – I weight train twice a week and can finally dead lift my own body weight. There’s also a noticeable difference in my triceps, which I was fairly sure were always going to be non-existent

If I hadn’t wanted to swim, box or weight train, then I wouldn’t be doing them. And that’s fine. We shouldn’t do these sorts of things because we think we should do them, we should do them because we want to do them. However for me, the want was always there, I just didn’t think I could do them, so they were out of the question. But equally, we shouldn’t not do things because we think we can’t do them. The point is, we all have stories we tell ourselves about ourselves. But sometimes we need to question those stories, because how true are they?

This all came about because I did a brainstorm of ‘things I’d love to do but can’t.’ Some had genuine blocks, like finances, talent (or lack of), luck, geography – most are still not impossible but perhaps that bit harder to achieve. Some, though, could ‘never’ happen simply because the fear in my own mind told me they couldn’t. Realizing this was a game changer. I signed up for the gym and swimming lessons, and jumped at the chance when my friend mentioned the boxing club.

This year, I’m working on some more of those fears, so watch this space.

Have a look at what’s holding you back. And if it’s the stories that you’re telling yourself, see if you can change them.

6 thoughts on “the stories we tell ourselves

  1. Well done! It’s so hard to unlearn the things we’ve taught ourselves to believe about ourselves, isn’t it? Although, off the top of my head, the only one I can think of is “I’m a bad cook” which I KNOW I could change if I wanted to, but… laziness…

    • Thank you! Yes, its crazily hard, and laziness does play a part at times, depending on what it is. Although, as you already live with a good cook, I can understand why you’ve not been too quick to unlearn that one!

  2. Ahh yes – something I can identify with here – it’s easier to validate our reasons for not doing something by making them sound somehow official isn’t it, and sometimes there’s even a real basis for that. This was exactly me with running – I could never run for any distance at school, and for a good few years after that I played about with running on an occasional basis but always got disheartened and gave up. Then I was diagnosed with arthritis in both knees and that seemed to be a good reason to not run any more. Over the last few years of course the medical view has changed – it’s now known that running can actually be good for arthritic knees in fact, and as I was told by my GP “Absolutely fine – but if you’re going to run – RUN – for goodness sake no jogging!” so I stopped looking for excuses and started getting on and doing it. And last night I ran my first proper 5k race, and got my first shiny finishers medal – and I did it in a respectable time too!
    Well done you for both tackling your fears and admitting that it was fear that was holding you back – neither of those things are easy!

    • Wow, well done you! That’s a great achievement, you must have felt amazing afterwards. And thank you – you’re so right, neither of those things are easy but we’re proof that they can be done.

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