THINGS and SITUATIONS: How to Have Healthy Relationships

This has been a difficult post to write, since most of my post are spastic and spur-of-the-moment, but this topic is very important to me.

What is your relationship with exercise? With food? With alcohol? With TV? With shopping? I doubt most people have willingly reflected on these questions.

What do you mean “what is my relationship”? I mean what are your emotional associations and habits that go with this activity or thing?

For example, I will share about my relationship with exercise. Exercise has never been a constant in my life until recently. I ran cross country and played softball in high school, but just barely tolerated the vigorous running schedule and the sprinting drills. I got to college and I did not work out. Ever. Luckily I have a fast metabolism and danced (a LOT) every time I went out. The rest of college pretty much went the same way. I felt a lot of pressure to be fit, but I could never commit to a lifestyle change or even a steady schedule. This was due to my relationship with exercise.

My relationship before August: I felt a lot of guilt whenever I thought I should be more fit or exercising. I though it was something that people forced themselves to do. I thought it would be a huge adjustment to make my life more active. Every time I went I thought I was not doing enough, or that people in the gym who were regulars were judging me. Therefore I had a terrible abusive relationship with exercise.

My progression towards a healthy relationship with exercise started when I  moved to Washington in August and was surrounded by my housemates who were all active people. We would go to the gym together, and there was no pressure from them. I also did not know anyone in my gym (it is really important for me to remain anonymous in that place because it’s a vulnerable place for me), so did not feel judged. Hell, for all they knew I was already a marathon runner :P. I adopted a new attitude. Simply showing up at the gym for me was enough. The act of going to the gym was where I derived my satisfaction, not based on how much I accomplished. BUT surprisingly, whenever I would go to they gym I really would try hard and accomplish more than I expected. This is because the only expectations I had was that I would go there and do something. I did not expect to run 20 miles a week or go to the gym everyday.

My relationship now: Tada! My relationship has evolved. I have accepted that being active is something my body needs (just like your dog needs to be taken on walks…my legs need to be taken to run/bike!). I hold myself to low standards, and my only expectation is that my life continues to be an active one. I love going to the gym….it’s a place where my mind has no place and my body takes over (which is a very welcome relief). I feel like I belong there.

Now that I have moved the relationship to a positive one; Where do I think my relationship can take me next? I think that the longer my life is an active one, the more I can elevate my standards. I can start to train for a half-marathon and be confident I will not let myself down. Even if I miss a day of training, I will be kind to myself, and be more ready to get back at it the next day.

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