Is it low self esteem if it’s accurate?

Can we take a few minutes to talk about self esteem?  Specifically, about body image and self esteem.  How many of us had had the same conversation with ourselves about the way we look as Calvin is having with his teacher?

Self: “My frumpy body is lowering my self esteem”

Conscience: “Well, maybe if we ate right and exercised, we would’t look so frumpy?”

Self: “Shut up, Conscience!  Your assertion that it’s my fault I look this way is lowering my already low self esteem”

Good grief. (I know, that’s Charlie Brown. Sorry to mix my comical mediums) And the downward spiral never ends.  Not that there aren’t people with a distorted self image.  There are those who weigh 98lbs soaking wet and when they look in the mirror only see what they think they looked like at their worst, or what they fear will be their worst if they actually eat something.  Less usual is the opposite issue, those who think they look significantly better than they do. Although, remembering my vacation to the water park this past summer, it seems that this issue is becoming more prominent.

However, most people are not abnormal.  In fact, most people are, by very definition, normal.  And normal people are, or at least should be, capable of making honest self-assesments.  So, if you look in the mirror and see an actually frumpy reflection and that does’t make you feel super good, is that an indication of a low self-esteem?  Or is it an accurate assessment of your body?  The latter is usually the case.

Now to be completely honest, the image that is held up as the norm, especially for women, is increasingly difficult to attain, and for good reason:  Most of those women and more and more of the men are a on a potent cocktail of Tic-Tacs and Photoshop.  So don’t compare yourself to the cover of Vogue or Self or Muscle and Fitness or Men’s Heath or Cosmopolitan. Any comparison of yourself to a photograph is an unfair comparison because it has no context. I would go so far as to suggest that you shouldn’t compare yourself to anyone based on appearance alone.  The truth is that the most fair person to compare yourself to is YOU, and the best thing to compare is not your weight, inches, dress size, pants size, hair cut or body fat.  The most honest thing to compare yourself to is your performances. Long before you start to compare your looks, start comparing your actions to your actions!

This doesn’t mean that there shouldn’t be some healthy competing here in the box.  I know Chad’s usually in front of me and Scott Fisher is usually breathing down my neck, and that knowledge makes me move faster. But at the end of the day, keeping Chad in my sights and Scott in my rearview doesn’t make Scott or Chad better.  It only improves me.

But what actions should you compare?  Well, all of them, but specifically the things that we work on in here.  That’s why we keep a log book and track things on Beyond the Whiteboard, right?  So, you can look at your time for a workout like Fran from 4 months ago, and do it again next Wednesday and look at the difference.  I can guarantee that if you have been coming here as little as 2x/week for the last 4 months, your time will be significantly faster, the weight you use will be greater, and most likely both.

What I am hoping you take home from this is that none of us are not perfect, there are things that we need to work on, and that we have a good idea of what we need to fix.  That doesn’t make you a victim or mean that you have a low self-esteem.  It means that you are a generally normal human being who is capable of accurate self-assessment. How you react to that self-assesment is what is key.  You can chose to make yourself a victim and blame the mirror, or you can put on your grownup underpants and do something about it.  The choice is entirely up to you.  We will provide all the tools necessary to improve yourself but you have to come to the box and do it.

That being said, we have a few cool things coming up in the new year.  First, we are going to have a Pose Running Clinic on January 7th, more info to follow as it becomes available.  We are also having a Strongman competition in the beginning of February, again more information on that as it comes.  And finally, to get anyone ready who wants to participate in that, or anyone else who just wants to get significantly stronger in a short amount of time, beginning in January we will be running a Strength Biased training in addition to the regularly scheduled WODs for anyone who would like to participate in that.

This is going to be a good year.

– Tim

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