I think I’m a loser by design. Why would I willingly try to be a loser? Well, I didn’t realize that was what I was doing. This quandary was brought up yesterday at a kickboxing class I have a love/hate relationship with. I fight myself every time I plan on going, but then end up feeling exhilarated afterward. Why?
Intimidation. I don’t “kickbox” right. My jab, cross, jabs are more like a slap, miss, squish. My front right kick resembles a front left lunge (I’m dyslexic when it comes to direction, I get my left, and my right swapped—really fun when trying to give someone directions to where I live).
Yesterday, my instructor, Chantal, told the class she specializes in the mental part of exercising and if any of us have questions, she’d love to help us out. So I jumped on the offer.
For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been struggling extra hard during class, leading to getting unwanted additional help from the instructive team, even more than first-day beginners. The more attention I get, the more self-conscious I become, and the worse I box, and then I don’t want to go to class anymore. I know this. Yet, I still do it.
So, after class, I asked Chantal for some advice on how to get over this self-sabotage. She was very kind and thoughtful while we spoke. Then she asked me, what I thought the issue was? Perfectionism was my first thought—I must box perfectly even though I’m new at it. But that’s not what my issue is—that’s just what I assumed my issue was.
Chantal asked me to define perfectionism. She picked up on the fact that I kept using the word wrong and asked me when was the first time I agreed that I was wrong—not wrong at the moment, not wrong on the answer, but fundamentally wrong. This stung! Do I view myself as wrong-wrong?
When I approached Chantal, I thought her words of wisdom would be, meditate, relax, and have fun with it. I was totally taken off guard when she went spelunking into my psyche, but I’m glad she did. She pointed out I haven’t defined what success is for me. Without a definition, there is no bar to reach, and therefore, I am floundering around in an undefined abyss. Chantal also wondered what I was getting out of being wrong? I needed to figure out what that was before I could change it. What? My knee-jerk reaction was, I don’t do that. But I think I do!
Over the past month, I have left my house too late, which meant I wouldn’t be allowed to participate during class. I put baking soda in my boxing gloves (to deodorize them) and then didn’t think to wipe or pound them out until I was at the gym. With every jab, with every uppercut, a white plume of baking soda erupted out of my glove into the air, leaving my bag and the mat around me in white grit.
One day I decided my feet were too dry for a class done bare-footed, so, forty-five minutes before leaving, I had the brilliant idea to coat them with Vaseline. I realized my mistake immediately and tried to spread the goo up my legs, which also deposited onto my hands. Then, while doing burpees, my hands slipped forward, while my feet slid backward and Splat! slimy body print. I tried to wipe the prints off with a tissue, which rolled and dissolved into tiny white bits embedded into my greasy shin and footprints. I was making things worse, and as soon as possible, I got the hell out of there. Apparently, I also have some cowardice. Fantastic.
So why would I do these things? Why would I put Vaseline on my feet right before exercising? And I know how far away I live from this gym and that if you’re more than five minutes late, you have to wait for the next class. Why then, would I leave my house later?
As much as I loathe deep soul gazing, I think I’ve come up with why I do the things I do. I create little messes because they can somewhat be controlled. They’re distractions from what I’m afraid of—not belonging and therefore not being wanted. With sabotage, I can say I don’t belong because of what I’ve done, not because of who I am. Yikes!
With this knowledge, it occurs to me that I don’t have to rig ways to link my emotional health to kickboxing and all the people participating. I can just be. This changes everything. Thank you, Chantal!!!
So, my new handy-dandy and conscious thing I’m going to do (or at least try) is nothing. I’m not going to come up with new issues to handle. Instead, I am going to go to class. I am going to hit that bag. I am going to kick that bag (to the best of my ability) and then I am going to return home and call it what it is a success.
What do you do to cause failure in your life? Leave a comment!