“You are so strong!” “You look great!” “You are so fit!” “You’re a beast!”
Let’s be real, who doesn’t like to hear those things? It feels nice when someone else acknowledges the hard work and effort you have been putting into training and nutrition. Especially in the fitness industry, it feels nice when someone acknowledges, affirms, appreciates, or validates the hard work, physique, strength or performance you’ve built and improved.
However, when it feels nice, does it just feel nice, or is that what you place your worth in?
I had someone in the gym this morning say “she’s a machine!” and “goals” Again, let's be real here, I like being fit! It feels good to be acknowledged for the physique I have built and for my efforts. While I like it, it also puffs me up and inflates me…. And it is good to be aware of that, and I am thankful I am able to be aware and recognize that! Self-awareness is a helpful skill to have and grow!
As I was getting ready and thinking about that interaction I was reflecting on how I like the validation, affirmation, appreciation, acknowledgment… it's also a matter of in those moments, and just in life in general, what we do with it…
I thought to myself something along the lines of...
“Praise and criticism are two sides of the same coin, better not get too attached to either. It doesn’t matter what people say about you, positive or negative. Don’t get hung up, attached, dependent on what others say about you; about whom they say you are, whether good or bad, positive or negative because what they say, their opinion, their perspective, doesn’t define you, that isn’t your identity, that isn’t your worth, that isn’t who you are… whether we think were the best in the world or the worst in the world, both are a concept of mind, without any objectivity or truth”
The same applies when using fitness, your physique, your performance as your identity, none of these are your identity, none of these are your worth, none of these are who you are…
And in any of these thoughts and situations is good to pause, be honest with ourselves and take a look in the mirror and test ourselves…
Are we actually placing our identity in these things? Are we placing our sole worth in these things?
Also, ask ourselves: are we seeking, searching, grasping for others to affirm us, validate us, validate our worth in these things?
Placing our identity, our worth, our value, in the wrong things leads to unfulfillment, depression, anxiety, stress, self-pity, anger, and pride.
I’ve been there! And I’m so thankful God has brought me out of that place and while I still love fitness, performance and taking care of my body, I don’t place my worth, my value, or my identity in those parts of my life.
So test yourself, where are you placing your identity? What are you placing your worth and value in?
Also, I WILL throw a caveat in there because my aim is always to be a source of growth, and light and to try to get my perspective across as accurately as possible!
There are certainly times in life when someone might say something to us or about us that while I say we don’t have to let define us, we can take a look at what they are saying and with self-awareness and reflection, ask ourselves if this has some sort of truth and accuracy and if we could take this constructive feedback and use it to improve our character or the way we live in some way!
Not all things people say about us or to us are true, so don’t take things personally, but it does help us grow if we can be honest and real with ourselves, accepting feedback and assessing if there is some degree of truth in it and using it for growth! Just use discernment and remember context and consider where your identity is placed, whom God says you are.
There may be things about us that God created and will use, and there may also bee things about us that we can change and improve on so that we are better able to serve God!
So, read, reflect and respond on this blog today and ask yourself, honestly, some of these things?
Where is your sense of worth, value, and identity from? Is it in things that are fleeting? Or things eternal?
How is validation in your life influencing you? Are you objective and impartial to it? Or do you NEED it? Like it's the air you breath and food you eat.
Do either positive or negative things people say about you or to you define you? Or could you improve on how these things impact you and influence you?
What are some things you can and would like to improve on in regards to who you are?
Change what you can, do what you can but don’t fret about the rest.
Last but not least, don’t focus so much on your weakness, be aware of them, but build upon and use your strengths the most!
Charissa Sutliff is an Online Fitness & Nutrition Development Coach, a Competition Prep Coach, Certified Personal Trainer, and holds a B.S. in Kinesiology. She also holds an M.A. in Higher Education Administration. She is enthusiastic about faith, working out, healthy nutrition, meditating, learning, growing and coffee!