September 24, 2017

Working on weakness doesn’t make you weak

Weaknesses. We all have them and believe me, I have a ton. Lately I have been low key obsessed with them. I’ve always been like most CrossFitters and I tend to work on my weaknesses when I am forced to or simply ignore them. I usually shrug off a bad workout as “not what I am good at”. Joining Mentality was a concerted effort to fix that behavior on my part. I knew if I was ever going to get stronger and faster I would need to be challenged around the areas I suck at. What I never anticipated is that same “mentality”, if you will, challenged my thinking on this topic...

I went to the gym on Thursday this week which is weird for me. Thursday is typically a day off but I was feeling out of sorts and needed to move some. Since it was “rest day” it seemed like a good time to work on some weaknesses. I hadn’t been to “open gym” prior to this but it immediately became my new favorite time because for about an hour there it was just me. I got to enjoy some needed alone time without the stress of missing lifts in front of a room full of people.

At some point others started rolling in and I had moved on to work on bar muscle-ups. Because I’m old and apparently look as helpless as a baby seal while almost as white, a member asked me if I could do “all of the movements”. I hadn’t really thought about that before but I said “I suppose so". It led to a conversation about how long I have been doing CrossFit and then she hit me out of left field with “What are your goals?” I wasn’t prepared for the question and gave her my standard answer of “Training for a competition and being healthy for my kids.” but the question made me think. It made me realize that I am full of sh*t. Now I know a lot of you are sitting around thinking “You JUST figured that out?!?” but I’m kind of a slow learner...

I’m full of sh*t because I tell people I have goals but I never allow them or myself for that matter to see what the real “goal” or “weaknesses” happen to be. You see we all have goals of some sort. Some people want to lose weight, others want to be stronger, and the list goes on. As CrossFitters we are often driven to talk about and achieve goals. At Mentality we have an amazing board on the wall dedicated to them. What we never talk about however is the “why” and that was what this member made me acknowledge.

The “why” for me is that I do all of this crazy stuff to my body because my insecurities rule me. I could be wrong but I think most of us feel that way. Why else would we do this to ourselves? We fight and scrape and bleed (literally) at CrossFit not because we want to fix weaknesses but because it is easier to beat yourself up than it is to love yourself.

Learning to love yourself is a battle for me. A battle to see who will win control. Will it be the insecurity deep inside me that wins or my stubborn will to control it? You see everyone gets to see my Instagram posts, videos, and pictures of PRs. No one gets to see the daily weigh-ins or standing in front of the mirror judging every flaw as if they define me. No one gets to see the look of regret on my face after I have a stress eating or drinking binge. Absolutely no one gets to see the tossing and turning as I try to fall asleep, replaying all of my mistakes of the past and wishing I had just one more chance to correct them or simply say “I’m sorry”...

But you can’t go back can you. As much as I wish we could, you can only go forward and that is the beauty of CrossFit. It allows you to move forward with a measure of control. Control over the insecurities and broken nature that we are inherently. Control over the deep seeded fears that we all have when we see how others perceive us. Control over the stress and fear that we carry on our shoulders like an unbearable cross. It allows the community to come together without judgement and raise each other up and over the fears that drive us.

Since I have joined Mentaility, this is what CrossFit has come to mean to me. A community that challenges me to be better while encouraging me to be the person I am without judgement of who that person may have been in the past or now. It is challenging me to be more than the sum of my weaknesses while still addressing them. This community makes me want to work harder on those weaknesses while being someone that they can be proud of. It is quite possibly not only making me a better CrossFitter but a better man.

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