I went back and forth on whether or not I should write this post.
In fact, I actually had a completely different post scheduled for today, but I just couldn’t get these thoughts out of my head and I knew that meant I was supposed to share them with you all, so here they are.
I subbed in for another trainer at the gym on Wednesday evening and coached two of the evening classes, something that I’ve never done before. I was nervous because I didn’t know any of the members who were there, however I knew if I just focused on the workout and taught them like I do my AM class, then everything would be alright.
And it was. Until it wasn’t.
I want to start this by saying I know that this person meant no harm in regards to his statement. He doesn’t know my story – he wasn’t being malicious or mean or rude, in fact I think he was trying to joke with me a little. The thing is though, I was completely unprepared for his statement [whether malicious or not] and it totally through me for a loop. And guys, what he said wasn’t even bad. It was just a trigger. A big, huge, heavy trigger.
Here’s what he said: “You aren’t muscular. You’re curvy.”
I wish I could say that this statement didn’t bother me. I wish I could say that I was ok with being labeled as “curvy” because in reality, there is nothing wrong with being labeled so. So why did my mind instantly think he called me fat? Why did that word instantly trigger the ED demons along with the insecurities and self-deprication?
After that statement I was on auto-pilot for the rest of the class. I felt like I was moving through sludge, barely able to pick one foot up after the other. I tried to focus on the class full of people surrounding me but I couldn’t stop playing back his words in my head. It wasn’t until I got home and explained to Ninja what happened [who wanted to go punch the dude] that I finally started to reign my emotions back in.
It was only after some time of self-reflection that I realized a few things, which is what led me to the point of this entire post. I suffered a setback, so what? What is life if you aren’t constantly pushing forward through the struggles that are trying to pull you back? What matters most when you face setbacks is not that you face them, but that you don’t let them detour you or dictate to you who you are.
Finding Joy in the Setbacks
1 Recognize that you are human
I found myelf struggling with a lot of guilt yesterday. As someone who prides herself in her recovery and her strength, I had a weak moment Wednesday night and let someone’s words get the best of me. I allowed someone else’s view of me dictate how I felt about myself, something I swore to myself I would never, ever do again.
Which is why I spent Thursday dealing with the guilt of that fact. How can I call myself a health professional when I still have these struggles? How can I lead a classroom full of people who are trying to further their own health when I can’t even get a grasp on my own?
But then I remembered – I’m human.
We all fall short and we need to give ourselves grace when that happens, otherwise the guilt, frustration, and disappointment is going to tear us apart.
2 Find the positives
There’s a positive side to set backs? Of course there is!
While I didn’t handle my own setback from Wednesday night the best way that I could’ve, it also wasn’t the worst response either. Though I did allow old ED thoughts to creep in [ am I fat? I’m not good enough to be teaching this class. I need to drop 10lbs. ], I didn’t allow them to stay. Not allowing those thoughts to fester and take root is definitely a positive response to a situation that could’ve done a lot of damage tp my recovery.
3 Learn from it
Setbacks aren’t negative in my opinion, at least not as long as you learn from them. We all have setbacks from time in time, whether that be in our job, our relationships or some other aspect of our personal lives, but they don’t need to be a dark blip on the radar. Instead they can be fantastic lessons and motivators for the future, even helping to drive you further towards your goals.
So I had a setback this week.
I was taken off guard and rattled but I wasn’t thrown off course. While it showed me that maybe I’m not as recovered as I once thought I was, it also showed me that I am capable of battling back from the edge of a triggering situation. I may not be the perfect health professional or picture of recovery but I’m growing every day in the love for my body. I guess if I need a setback every week to remind me of that fact, then I’m alright with it.
What is the last setback you faced?