Change isn’t easy. It’s not meant to be. Just like working out, without pain there’s no gain.
And look, sometimes you have to look at your flabby mid-section and admit you’ve been a little lazy and that your jeans cut into your belly button worse than the hoop you convinced your mom to let you get when you were 16. Admitting you have some weaknesses doesn’t mean you’ve given up on working on them. Listen, I was pretty awful at Physics. But that didn’t stop me from getting extra help and walking away with an A minus.
I hate to liken yet another life lesson of my 20s to working out, especially since I hardly do it, but it’s such a great comparison. The post-workout soreness is one of gratification, since without it there’s not that same sense of accomplishment. Sure it burns, and it’s uncomfortable, but it’s equally fulfilling.
Why, then, do we complain when life’s soreness hits? Don’t we realize it’s a sign of growth?
With 2016 upon us, and cleanse season in full effect, I wanted to lay out a workout plan that I intend to follow. You don’t have to, but it would be cool if you’d join me so I have some accountability here.
ENTITLEMENT CURLS — they’re like bicep curls, except for that sense of pride and ego-driven mania that arises when you don’t get your way.
Here’s how they work:
Step 1: Brace yourself for that moment when someone says something that gets under your skin, making you think “who do they think they are” or “do they know who I am?”
Step 2: Exercise inner control. Breathing through it, exhaling at moments of highest exertion.
Step 3: Lift up your kindness — find a way to see the event as happening to you for a reason, so you can practice your kindness, patience, and tolerance instead of lashing out in entitlement-fueled rage.
Step 4: Stretch, drink water, and repeat.
Next on the workout regimen are….
ANGER LUNGES — they’re tough, but they’re well worth it, and they tone the aspect of your Self that’s often laying dormant (like those tiny muscles that never get worked out ever).
Step 1: Know your anger triggers. (Note: This requires some self-awareness. If you don’t know what ticks you off, CLICK HERE for a blog that might jog the memory.)
Step 2: Don’t avoid feeling the emotion that arises when you’re pushed, tested, or smacked in the face with the very thing(s) from step one. Feel the feeling, sit in the discomfort, treat the pesky emotion like an annoying lunch visitor, the kind that has you biding your time until they leave. Bright side — they do leave! Even the worst lunches come to an end, and have you back at your desk answering emails by 1:30PM. So be patient and kind to yourself, this too shall pass, and stuff.
Step 3: Lift up your patience — there’s a way to dig deep beneath the impulse to engage with anger or hatred, and instead recognize that you have a role in the encounter. If it weren’t for something within your own Self being triggered, the instance would be neutral. So there’s something inside of you? Yes. Take some responsibility, no need to overthink it. Simply recognizing a reaction is your own, is enough to awaken a desire to understand it.
Step 4: Stretch, drink water, eat protein.
And last, but not least….
SELFISH CRUNCHES — this is one of the toughest exercises, since it works out your entire core. To think about one’s self is much more tempting and temporarily satisfying (like eating an entire Ben & Jerry’s ice cream cake), but never as fulfilling in the long-term as receiving only to share with another.
Pay close attention.
Step 1: Think of a person who ticks you off, someone you can’t stand, and whom you believe doesn’t deserve an ounce of your time. That person.
Step 2: Find a way to do something kind for them. Yup. The very person at work who you’ve prejudged as awful, offer to grab them a cup of tea on your way to the kitchen. Or the former ex-bestie who talked sh*t behind your back to that dude you were both eyeing, send her a loving thought in your mind’s eye. Let go of being “right” and bitter, it’s not good for the skin.
Step 3: Feel the discomfort. Realize that if it’s ONE LOVE anyway, because that’s what Bob Marley said, then your perception of the situation is limited by your selfish inclination. Don’t take everything personally, homegirl is fighting her own battles and is mean and gossipy for her own selfish reasons. She’ll have awful skin, you do your beauty a favor by exercising forgiveness and a sharing attitude.
Step 4: Offer to share your almonds with your other colleague. Don’t want him feeling left out.
Step 5: Take a deep breath, give yourself a neck massage, and take a selfie.
Now do 5 reps of each, for 20 days straight, and watch your ego slowly tone up, shred-up, and transform.