Validation without Judgement: Remembering to Appreciate All Personal Demons

The other day I caught wind of a discussion occurring among the women at our boot camp and it really got me thinking:
If we (women) know that there is something with our health, strength or fitness levels we’re working on, why is it so difficult to comprehend that other women may have something they’re working on as well? 

I hate my stomach. Yes, I know I’ve mentioned this fact before but I’ll tell you right now if I were to mention this to a group of women (new women who don’t really know me) I would get the following responses:
“You’re crazy, you don’t need to loose anymore weight”
Let me be clear. Wanting a toned, defined mid-section at my fitness level has nothing to do with me loosing more weight.
“You’re already so tiny! How could you be unhappy with your body?”
Who said I was unhappy? I have areas that I want to develop & make stronger, but that doesn’t mean I sit at home draining energy, pining for my body to miraculously change and be perfect.
“I would kill for your size, there is no way you were ever mine”
Flattering, but so far from reality. Do NOT, EVER, NEVER set your goals based on who and what someone else is. YOU are YOU. Not anyone else, so stop comparing. My “size” for me may not even be healthy for you, OR my size may just be the tip of the iceberg for your own capabilities. So please, admire my strength, dedication, motivation & determination. Please do not admire physical (materialistic) attributes.

Anyways, back on track.

As a teacher, you are trained to value your students strengths and what they feel are their weaknesses. If they tell you they “suck at reading” you always validate their feelings, and then work with them to figure out what it is that makes reading challenging for them, and how we can work together to improve that particular skill. The same applies with women and their fitness/ body images woes.

It doesn’t matter whether a woman weighing 200 lbs  walks in and tells me they need to loose weight for her wedding dress, or a woman weighing 115 lbs comes in, distressed about her thighs. It is my job as a fitness professional — and a compassionate human being– to validate those feelings, and work together with her to figure out how we can attain those goals.

I believe, as women, we have the tendency to judge other women without separating ourselves from our own emotions. Instead of pausing and considering that a woman who may be taller, smaller, prettier, louder, more confident, older, younger, etc. than ourselves might have some of their own “demons”, we very quickly shut them down with what is disguised as polite responses.

The responses I gave from my own experiences are just some examples I’ve heard tossed around between women in all areas of my life!

Now, what I am sure of…

We don’t mean these responses to be anything but politely disguised statements that are supposed to remind the other women how beautiful they really are. Which, to a degree– is nice.

However.

I’m willing to bet there are some women reading this right now, who have been given these responses when they hesitantly opened up about areas of their fitness/ health/ body they would like to improve on.

It SUCKS.

There is nothing worse than wanting to open up to friends about fitness & personal goals, and being shut down with a blanket statement about how you are perfect and you shouldn’t worry so much about those things.

My request for you readers today is this:
Please validate any of your female friends, colleagues, workout partners insecurities.
Please take the time to let go of your personal judgements on someone else when your perception of them is something different then their own.
And finally,
When you’re tempted to give those blanket statements, try one of these instead:
“I’m surprised that you have that area you’re uncomfortable with! What is it about it that makes you feel that way?”

“How do you think you could take some steps to achieving that goal?”

Thanks for taking the time to follow, my wonderful readers.
Have a great night, and remember:
It’s okay to have fitness goals, no matter what shape or size you are. As long as you are healthy and taking steps to continually grow, you are on track for success!