Self Pity Is Not Black And White

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines self-pity as: a feeling of pity for yourself because you believe you have suffered more than is fair or reasonable. Well, I present to you that it’s more than that. Not only is it more than that, but it’s also not that black and white. I personally have a problem when someone tells another person to stop feeling sorry for themselves. It’s been in my experience that when a person feels sorry for themselves, aka self pity, that usually means that they are expressing how they are feeling about an unfair situation that has happened to them BUT with the intention of illiciting a particular reaction from their listening audience: sympathy, sorrow, etc. To me, that’s what self-pity is. I say this because for me, the fact of the matter is that while I take responsibility for my choices and behaviors in my life, I can also trace back to a point of why I do the things that I do and where my faulty mindset all began. Unfortunately there are those that will mistake this as placing blame and wallowing in self-pity. No. These are just facts about myself and when I talk about them, I’m not expecting others to feel sorry for me or to cut me any slack. There is a difference between expecting a reaction that will support the wallowing vs a person truly believing that as their reality due to issues, dysfunctions, etc.

I’m a logical, rational, connect the dots type of thinker. A lot of people have dysfunctional mindsets and for some you can’t just tell them to stop feeling sorry for themselves or simply tell them that they have a choice and that they have to take responsibility for their own behavior. That may be ultimately true to some extent but not only is it not that simple, but there’s a process in getting to that point. For some, this mindset, this way of thinking, is all that they know. To tell somebody to stop feeling sorry for themselves and in the same sentence also tell them what they need to start doing as a solution to stopping this “self pity” is a little passive aggressive in my opinion and can definitely bring on a defense mechanism, which is counterproductive and not a good motivator at all! People shut down when they think you’re attacking them. Everyone is unique. Those who meet the criteria I just talked about and who really do feel sorry for themselves because they blame others, constantly paint themselves as a victim and rarely look at the part they play in their misfortune are the ones who really do need to hear “stop it! take responsibility and change what’s within your power!” but those who come from a place of truly internalizing and/or personalizing every negative thing that happens to them because of faulty belief systems from a young age, well I believe they need to hear something different other than “stop feeling sorry for yourself”.

So I present to you, that self-pity is not just black and white. It’s your mindset, it’s your beliefs, it’s your expectations, and it’s your come from in addition to the words that you speak.

Low self esteem – Is society always at the heart of it?

I couldn’t think of a snappy title for this blog – especially one that is short and to the point. I often go through phases where I just think of off topic random subjects in my head and today was one of those days I was going through that phase. I started thinking about the few things on my body that I was not satisfied with and remembered how I’ve voiced these things to some of my friends. A lot of times their response tended to be in the realm of this is what I have so I need to accept it or this is what God gave me and I need to be happy with it and I’m definitely not arguing those points. I think those are good things. I’ve also come across articles revolving around self esteem and people not liking their physical appearance and the connection between those two. Now granted, I do think that body dysmorphia and low self esteem often times are connected but has society, the psychiatrist, therapist and all these experts ever considered that a self aware, well informed individual with a decent amount of self esteem can just maybe be unhappy with certain aspects of their body and that’s all there is to it?

I’m a fitness trainer by career and having been in the field since 1997 I’ve come across all kinds of shapes and sizes. And while it’s true that society tends to put more emphasis on certain kinds of body types by toting them as being  more desirable, and therefore oftentimes putting women especially, in a mindset to compare themselves to these types and ultimately be more critical of their own. However my challenge to you is this: is it possible that a well-informed, self aware female with a decent level of self esteem that has been exposed to different body types, be able to not be too fond of certain things on her body based on the fact that she has seen other body types that may have the specific body part she prefers as opposed to hers, without being labeled as having some sort of mental disorder or negative “self” issues? and I’m not talking about taking it to the extreme of self loathing or self hatred. I’m basically talking about a healthy female mentally, emotionally and physically for the most part, being able to be okay with not being too fond of certain body parts without the pressure or fear that she’s going to be labeled or classified by society as having some sort of issue.

Yes I believe in working with what you have, attempting to do something about it the best way you can if you’re unhappy with it, and at the end of the day accepting you for you. But while society tries to fix those that dislike themselves with “self love” medicine, I believe that they are unintentionally creating a brand new monster for those that are already comfortable with themselves by not allowing the freedom to recognize that it’s okay to not be happy with certain things about your body as long as you understand that in the end, it’s what you have and most times  you have the power to change it and it wont mean that you hate yourself.

At A Crossroad

Who am I? I thought I knew. Now I question it. My whole identity, who I am and who I’ve become have been tied up in that one title I’ve gone by for the past 15 years: Trainerchick. June 1997 is when I became a fitness trainer. I thought I had finally found my calling making a transition from a licensed cosmotologist doing hair and only making a difference superficially to actually doing something I felt really meant something. Not just to me but to other people and for those who didn’t know how important their health & fitness was, I was determined to be one of the dedicated fitness professionals that enlightened them!

Trainers are for the most part just like everyone else. Although we have that leg up on the general population when it comes to health & fitness knowledge, we can still suffer the same setbacks, lack of motivation, eating disorders etc. as anyone else. I’m a testament to ALL just mentioned! There’s been times when I’ve been burnt out from not just having so many clients but also from being tired of constantly feeling like I had to live up to the stereotype of what a trainer should “look like”. Not saying that those thoughts don’t cross my mind anymore because believe me, they do – especially when Im not feeling up to par, have put on 30 trillion pounds of fat  and know that for whatever reason, justified, legit, or not – and feel unworthy of even telling people what I do for a living. I remember a couple years ago a friend of mine came from out of town to visit. A perfectly planned day way quickly overthrown  when we drove up to Napa (the wine country) to spend a 1/2 day at the spa and while she went on to her 1.5 hour hot mud soak, I went into the room with the lady who was going to give me my 1.5 hour FULL BODY massage! Oh f**k! well, I can honestly say that yeah, I knew this was coming and somehow I made peace with the fact that this lady was going to be seeing me at one of my worst times but all that comfort seem to go right out the window when she asked that age old question, “so – what do you do for a living?”. Lady, why in the he’ll did you have to go there!! Not only did my self consciousness come back in full force, but I damn near O.D.’ed on feeling bad because here I am, being honest, telling her what my area of expertise was (and for how long since she just couldn’t seem to leave well enough alone) WHILE looking like a beached whale on her massage table! Maybe I’m overly critical. Maybe she didn’t see what I saw. Maybe she really could have cared less and had absolutely no opinion either way. I’ll never know so my only thought, obviously, is to make my thoughts, hers. My feelings, hers. My disgust, hers.
On a more positive note, I can honestly say that their did come a time, AFTER my eating disorder got out of control, AFTER I had been through some things and AFTER I surrounded myself with healthier people that I finally accepted the fact that I would never be thin, probably would never have the figure I was so determined to get at any cost (and actually did but was too caught up in not being satisfied that I never noticed although others did) and would most likely never fit those clothes I THOUGHT would look good on me. I accepted the reality that I’m not supermodel material but that I have an athletic physique. Lean muscle. Thinner toned  upper body with very strong legs. I had to rethink and reprogram my thought processes in order to survive – not just from a health perspective but from a clientele perspective too. I got tired of just talking the talk and convincing myself I’m an exception to the rule. Truth is: I’m not. I knew my passion for health & fitness was slowly dying because of all the self inflicted stress I was bringing upon myself, both mentally, psychologically and physically. Believe me, eating 5 crackers and drinking 3 glasses of juice and/or cool aid a day  while working out 3 times a day for at LEAST an hour every single day for 5 months straight AND taking at least 6-7 different KINDS of diet supplements is kinda sorta not the way to do things! Lol

Anyway, all this is said because over the years, with all my ups and downs, good times and bad, confusion and direction, discontentment and semi-satisfaction combined, I’m now left wondering at this late in the game if in fact it may be time to pursue other avenues. I feel like thats something that I need to do because let’s face it, regardless of my passion for H&F, is it doing ME more harm than good if I’m not ready to address it? I have two other interests: technology and psychology. I would love to pursue both of those but I always come back to the fact that I’m 41 and feeling like it’s too late to really be trying to start on a new career path. Do I have the energy, the patience and the genuine motivation  to see it out? Is this really what I want and can I really do this and succeed? All these questions, second guessing and contemplations are what has kept me at a cross road for the last 5 years.

A Very OFF Day

Today was one of those days where I “just wasnt feeling it”! Ever have one (or more, lol) of those? I’m the type of person that can be overruled by emotions sometimes – only when it comes to certain issues mind you – which is kind of ironic since most people tend to see me as someone that rarely gets excited about anything or tends to stay calm unless you’ve really pushed my buttons. In general though, I live my life by the “what’s done is done and if you can do something about it, then do it – if not, don’t waste negative energy on it” motto. Now going back to today and why I just wasn’t feeling it, which happens to be directly related to one of those “certain issues” I mentioned above. Let me start from the beginning – or at least close to it……

I’ve been in the fitness industry for 14 years now as a fitness trainer. I obviously have a passion for it because I’ve stuck to it this long and have even seen lots and lots of turnover in the gyms because of so-called “trainers” who got into this business for the wrong reasons. Now, 14 years ago would make me younger, thinner, way more athletic and even a little (lots, lol) more active. With it though also came, at that time, an unhealthy obsession with body image (perpetrated by the need to look a certain way because of the work environment I was in which ultimately led to my eating disorder going into hyperdrive), an imbalance between work and family (a ratio that looked something like this: family < work), and the overwhelming NEED to make sure I was burning three billion calories a day, seven days a week even if it meant ultimate injury! Well, I’d like to think that I’ve overcome all these things through growth over the years. I’ve learned to TRY not to be so hard on myself when I don’t feel like hiking those 14.5 miles at Mt Tam or doing those six hours at Pt Reyes like i used to do faithfully every weekend but instead accept that I’ve grown into a different, wiser person that now has the option of taking a mini two hour flat hike and enjoying it just as much as i would when and if I choose to do a more intense one. I’d like to think that I’m still working on accepting that im not going to nor do I HAVE to look like the person I used to look like 14 years ago and that I’m in the process of creating a new me. So now fast forwarding to today when all these negative feelings and thoughts reared its ugly head during Yoga class.

I had a wake up call. I practiced Yoga for a total of 3 years several years ago and although the moves are very familiar, even the technical names of the poses are ingrained in to my memory, today was a real challenge because I could hardly hold the pose for more than five seconds let alone without feeling a strain here or a discomfort there! Talk about discouragement. Well, one thing led to another….the strains and pose holding micro seconds led to frustration, frustration led to digust with the fact that I’ve let myself get to the point of such low strength and endurance and this led to me allowing my emotions to overrule everything I’ve fought so hard to keep in check these past years: feeling like an unworthy fitness professional who can talk the talk EXTREMELY WELL but obviously has stopped walking the walk and it ultimately led to me leaving Yoga the last 30 minutes of class IN TEARS! Yes, life happens but when it comes to health and fitness aren’t I suppose to have the upper hand because of my experience, knowledge and education? Shouldn’t I have been able to nip MY OWN health and fitness in the bud so that it didn’t get this bad? This is one of the imbalances ive struggled with the last 14 years and I guess today was a reminder that I need to reevaluate some things concerning this. For those 2.16 persons who have my blog site address and those 1.67 of them that actually bother to come and read it, I’d love it if you have any feedback you’d like to share! 🙂


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