A friend of mine is a runner. Not a casual jogger but a real honest to goodness “why walk when you can run” distance runner. If there’s a race, he’s done it. Five Kilometers, 10K, 15K, half-marathon, full-marathon – you name it. But, though he’s put more miles on his shoes than most of us put on our cars, he told me that occasionally he gets negative comments while running. Here he is, working each day to better himself, and some loudmouth feels that it’s his right to pull up beside him and, for want of a better term, taunt him. Things like “run, fat boy” or worse and though he doesn’t have the typical marathoners build, he isn’t fat.
But, instead of letting himself get down over these comments though he keeps running, improving his times, his health, and his outlook on life. This is why he inspires me and kept me going through some of my own struggles (especially the running kind).
His experience though got me to thinking about all the comments I’ve heard or have been made to me about my working out and/or about my physique. These fall into two categories, positive and negative. Here are those I can recall:
- I can’t lift that much weight (former workout partner after I completed my set)!
- Your arms are bigger than his (comparing me to someone I thought was bigger).
- How did you move that?
- Your inspiring.
- How do I get calves like yours?
- You underestimate the size of your triceps.
- Wow, you’re hard (mind out of the gutter – this was after she touched my forearm)!
- Looks sort of like the Mississippi and it’s tributaries (comment from a technician about to draw blood from my arm).
- You’ve been working out. Your arms just blew up like…(makes a hand motion to indicate the size of a basketball).
- He’s definitely getting bigger (a guy talking to my “trainer” about the workout I was using).
- You motivate me to keep working out.
- You’re fat.
- You don’t have muscle tone.
- Are you doing this to yourself (when my Crohn’s was at it’s worst and I weighed about 135 pounds)?
Now, notice that the positive comments I recall from over the years far outnumber the negative.
But guess which ones I focus on more? Right, the negative.
I think, unfortunately, it is in our nature to focus on the negative things that people say about us because deep down we want everyone to like us. So any negative thing is magnified. Sometimes to the point of wearing us down and causing us to stop looking at all the good things we’ve done and, frankly, just give up.
How much further in our fitness goals – or any goals for that matter – would we all be if we just focused on our progress, looked back at how far we’ve come, and kept going?
Try focusing on the positive things someone says about you for a day and see how you feel. Then try two days, then three, etc.
The world is full of jerks waiting to tear us down. Be determined to be someone who builds themselves and others up.