My therapist has often reminded me that words matter. More specifically, it matters, how we choose to speak to ourselves. Are we using words that support and build? Or phrasing them in a way that breaks us down?
It’s no secret that I’ve always been hard on myself. Much harder than I am on other people. In situations where I offer other people grace, I’ve oftentimes refused to do the same for myself.
“I know better.”, I would always explain. “Therefore, I should be doing better.”
Making exceptions for myself had always seemed like a cop out, because I know that I am capable of so much more. In reality though, it’s not a sign of weakness to give yourself some grace. In fact, it actually requires higher wisdom and greater strength to master that very fine line.
This skydiving accident, with all my injuries, subsequent surgeries, and long road recovery has most certainly taken its toll on me, both physically and mentally. I am now learning, more and more, that you can absolutely be firm, yet kind to yourself at the very same time. And in this sacred, delicately balanced space, the most personal, transformative growth will occur.
So, picture it: I was lying on the floor at the gym yesterday with my personal trainer beside me, demonstrating the lower abdominal exercise he was asking me to perform. And, in this moment, as I struggled to perform just a handful of reps of an exercise which I’d previously not been strong enough to even attempt yet, I caught a glimpse of the defining muscles in my thighs.
“Oh, hello.”, I said, as I reached down and touched my quad. “It’s been awhile since I’ve seen you like this.”
Nick laughed, but readily joined in. “You strong and beautiful girl. It’s so good to see you again. We’re going to do great things together.”
“Just like we used to do.”, I continued, patting my quads affectionately. “Remember all those miles we ran together? So many marathons, in so many states! You were my strongest asset – and you soon will be again.”
“We’ve come a long way already.” Nick laughed. “Keep putting in the work!”
We laughed at ourselves and high-fived as we finished up the exercise, all while the incoming class participants looked on, a bit confused. But the magic of that moment was not lost on me. It followed me home. And, as I stepped on the treadmill in preparation for a 2+ hour long run, our words continued to echo in my mind.
When the cumulative fatigue set in and the muscle spasms gripped my paraspinals, I was forced to slow my pace down to a walk – but the thought of quitting never even entered my mind. Instead, my thoughts were full of all the good, strong, positive things which we have said in our training sessions these past 4 months. And that’s when I realized, once again, how very right my therapist has always been.
It may seem like such a little thing, but it’s the little things that often mean the most. Like the way you choose to speak to yourself… because the way you speak really does matter.