Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Emotional Workouts

September 26, 2012 

I haven’t read this anywhere, but I will assume that this metaphor is already “out there”. But since it was delivered to me in my own brain, on my own time during my own processing and meditating, I feel at liberty and excited to share this image with you as it has helped me recently.

I have had bountiful opportunities these past couple of weeks to deal with some deep issues about myself. This normally would put me on a pattern of ups and downs, causing me to feel exhausted and out of control.  However, I realize that in seeking out answers to “why” do I do such and such, I can now embrace these situations because I am getting answers. Tough as it is to look at my family of origin, the choices I have made, and the choices I cannot make (meaning not mine to make – the addict’s choices, for instance) it is better to look at them honestly than to have them drive me and affect me without my awareness.

So – this is my new metaphor – I am terming this process my “emotional workout”.  I have a good context for this since I started including weight lifting in my exercise program a couple years ago.  I had just never imagined myself doing things like bench presses, leg presses, squats, and power cleans (new terms for me, too, to go along with new activity).  Now I have learned about the value of adding this dimension, particularly in pushing myself on difficult weight lifts. I used to think things like “there is no way I can bench press”.  But this has changed. When I am faced with a new task or weight level, I may be nervous and apprehensive as it takes determination, sweat, and muscle to reach the accomplishment. But once done, I feel empowered! It is very exhilarating and building in me a confidence I have lacked. Imagine the trainer standing by me stating, “Sara, you can do this.” My reply? “I can? Ok, I guess I will then.” 

I had stopped seeing my strength – physical, emotional, or mental.  I had allowed my pain, rejection, hopelessness, and so on to define me.  After a physical workout, I usually experience some pain due to muscle repair from the stress of the exercise.  But I have learned to welcome that pain because I know I am getting stronger and it affirms the hard work I’ve done.  Much like this physical workout, I see how these “emotional workouts” are building a stronger and more empowered me.  This shift in my mindset has re-energized my commitment and desire to deal with my issues.  I am powerless over when and why an issue will surface, but now I just know that when one does, it is the exercise for the day.  When my therapist (or sponsor) is likened to that role of personal trainer, I remember it is all in my best interest. I may be mad one minute, but so thankful the next.  I remain thankful; indeed. 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this, Sara. I've been thinking a lot about how although so often we (most everybody!) complain about hardship in our lives, it is absolutely necessary for progress and growth. I had a therapist once tell me that "you have to let go of where you are to move somewhere better." Of course, this makes so much sense and seems so obvious, yet, for some reason, I often feel consumed by how hard it is to let go instead of being focused on the better place up ahead. I think this is where the belief in a higher power comes in. If I don't have faith that what's coming ahead is better, I am lost in the present pain. If I can hold on to my belief that there is a plan for me, as long as I'm doing the work--the emotional workouts--then there is reason to be excited for what's to come. Keep the faith!