Life, with all the challenges it likes to throw our way, can leave us with some pretty gnarly scars. Literally. I have dozens of them all over my legs. For a long time, these scars bothered me. I was embarrassed by them and felt damaged in some strange way. Enter Thoughtfully Fit Strength training—which helped me remember how powerful it is to shift our perspective.
Coincidently, it was during physical strength training that I had this realization. I looked down at my ankles during a workout and noticed a brand-spanking-new scar that had formed with the help of brand new resistance bands that broke my skin in a previous workout. I thought to myself: Darn it, yet another scar!
Freeze frame on my sweaty, workout face. At that moment, I felt like such a hypocrite.
Here I was encouraging my clients to work on their own self-sabotaging thoughts and how important it is to engage your core, and yet, I’m letting Little Miss Perfect Pants get me worked up over another scar. So, I switched from physical strength training to mental Strength training. (Anything to give me a momentary reprieve from those resistance bands.)
Practice Strength and Embrace Your Scars
Looking at our scars, and our day to day challenges in general, it’s easy to feel discouraged by our default thoughts and emotions that they evoke. But when we practice Strength, we can learn to honor those thoughts and emotions before moving forward with intention.
For me, the challenge was my scars. Looking at them, they made me feel insecure. But after acknowledging the feelings of frustration and insecurity, I Paused to Think to myself, How does seeing my scars in a negative light affect me? What would it look like to change the way I perceive them? After asking myself these thoughtful questions, something shifted. I started seeing my scars differently.
I realized that my body is my personal canvas and each scar represents a challenge I made it through and a memory I’ll have forever. My scars tell a story. They are a visual depiction of physical struggles I’ve overcome. (Of course we also have the complexity of mental scars from challenges we’ve overcome.) For me, I Acted by fully accepting and becoming at peace with this part of me.
How You See Your Challenges Shapes Who You Are
A few years later, I remember being at our family’s end-of-the-school-year party, talking to my friend Scott (whom I’m beginning to think has more to do with my scars than I previously thought). Mid-conversation, I walked backwards into my dad’s hot-off-the-road motorcycle, wrapping the back of my leg around the exhaust. Boom! Another scar.
In high school, I took a major spill on a huge downhill while rollerblading. Thanks to the black pavement covered with gravel—and not wearing any knee pads or elbow pads—enter a whole slew of additional scars.
I could go on. But you get the picture.
These scars are as much a part of me as the memories I have of my friends and family. And like those memories, my scars—and how I choose to see them—shape a part of who I am. A person who is athletic, accident prone, and surrounded by loved ones (which helps when you’re inclined to adventure).
It took some time and a lot of Strength to see that. Now I own my scars instead of hide them. I wanted to share this experience in case any of you are struggling with something similar. Whether it’s a personal scar you can see or an everyday hurdle you can’t see, I encourage you to engage your core and practice a little bit of Strength training to see what other perspectives you can try on that’ll help you move forward with intention.
The impact can be life changing.
One-Minute Core Workout
Finding a new way to look at things is easier said than done, but it’s essential if we want to tackle whatever challenge is ahead of us with intention.
Pause. The next time there’s something in your life that’s frustrating you, Pause.
Think. Ask yourself, Where is this feeling stemming from? What other perspectives can I explore?
Act. Identify the perspective that’ll allow you to have the impact you want and go for it.
Building your mental Strength takes practice, but each time you engage your core, shifting to a new perspective becomes easier.
You’ve got this!
Introduce a little self-love into your life with Dr. Kristin Neff’s book Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself. We can be our harshest critics, but as Dr. Neff explains in her book, when we practice Strength and let go of self-judgment, we can lead “healthier, more productive lives.” Who doesn’t want that?