Don’t Hold Back

Woo hoo! After two days of giving my squished foot some rest, I got in an upper body workout this morning.

After taking a moment to pat myself on the back for getting back on the exercise wagon, I took a look at the quality of my workout.

Hmm. I definitely held back. Out of curiosity, I asked myself “why?”

The answer was fear. Fear of hurting my foot and fear of the pain I might create.

“Perfectly normal,” you might say. After all, I did just give my foot a pretty significant whack with a grooming table.

But as Bruce Schneider likes to say, “Normal does not mean necessary.”

In this case, the most discomfort I had was putting on my shoe. Sure, I had some touchy moments here and there, but once I established a way to do each exercise comfortably, why didn’t I give it my all?

Recognizing that I was acting from the fear of the pain I might experience was one of the “ah-ha” opportunities from this whole situation.

How often have I held back from life not because of the pain I was experiencing, but because of the fear of pain?

The answer is “a lot,” and I don’t think I’m alone here.

One of the first things we often do when reaching for something new is to throw a bunch of “but what if” scenarios in our way. That can easily stop us right there. That worst case scenario is just too big a risk–and creates too much fear.

Most of the time, however, we aren’t really risking that worst case scenario. Sure, theoretically it might be possible that I could lift so heavy a weight that I could damage my foot and extend my recovery time, but how likely is that? Not very. Particularly without the warning signs of some significant pain. There’s a big difference between “Youch!” and “that hurts.”

Letting go of the fear of pain and actually embracing the pain we are facing is one way we master life. Truly living fully includes those painful moments. By limiting or trying to escape or control painful situations we limit the joyful and exhilarating moments in our life, too.

And ultimately, do I want the foundation of my life to be fear or love? I believe the stronger foundation for my actions—and therefore my life—is love.

The quickest way to shift from fear to love is to change the underlying thoughts.

For me, that means changing my thoughts about what I can do and rethinking what I am capable of. It means encouraging myself to test the limits more and not just hold back without knowing them. And it means accepting and embracing any pain I might encounter, rather than seeing pain as failure.

And these are lessons I want to take beyond my next workout.

Together we can do it!

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