Empathy is essentially our ability to put ourselves in the shoes of another and feel what they are feeling. Empathizing with another allows us to sidestep resentment, it also prevents us from feeling separated, we instead connect to another.
What does this have to do with health and fitness? Let's talk about it…..
Empathy helps to prevent resentment
*pause here and list of all the times resentment derailed your day, your mood, your peace.
Empathy lessens disconnection
*pause again and list the times you may have acted out because you felt sad, separate, alone.
Empathy lessens anger
*pause, list the times you made impulsive decisions that hurt you when you were in a hot rage.
When I am in a situation where I struggle with acceptance consciously inserting empathy (putting myself in someone else's shoes) gives me a little time to process and pause before reacting. A shitty emotional reaction brings me underwater, I get embarrassed, I rage, I have been know to eat an entire quart of chicken lo mean (which I hate) while raging at my teenager. What if I had a little empathy for my hormonal teen? Maybe I wouldn't have gotten so angry. Maybe I wouldn't have eaten that rubbery cold lo mein. I didn't need to jump on that rollercoaster with her if I felt for her instead of reacting to her.
So maybe sometimes I invent imaginary scenarios about what strangers might be going through, as long as I am attempting to tap into being calm and kind it's a win. There is a notorious guy in my gym, he yells really loud when he lifts, he startles the whole gym. He is forever posing and flexing in any mirror he passes. Everyone gets annoyed and I admit, the dude is rough to take. I try (really hard sometimes) to insert empathy so that I don't ruin my own workout. I ask myself what he must be struggling with, we are all struggling with something. Perhaps he isnt really comfortable in his body and he is seeking external validation, I dont know really and it's none of my business. But, trying to understand really helps me. I tap into empathy rather than getting pissed, resentful and emotionally hung over. Tell the truth, most of us feel shitty when we stand on a high horse in judgement of others.
Let me put it this way, If any of us want to pursue our own physical health in the long term, it has to go deep, it has to mean something to last, it has to really change you. The process and pursuit of physique change has to add VALUE to your life, how long can you work on your booty before you get bored?
I want to invite you to step back and explore which of your walls you keep bumping into. Embrace the opportunity to achieve a little self mastery.
How many times have you attempted to diet or start working out and lost interest or motivation? I am certain you are familiar with the phrase find your why. While I do get a little annoyed by the oversimplification of that phrase, there is merit at the root. Finding your why is an invitation to attach value to your health goal which brings it closer. Our emotions are our greatest roadblocks and the only way to move the blocks is to explore them and start to gain a little mastery.
Everything I am talking about in this blog falls under emotional, mental and social health. Without these elements of health as our foundation, the walls of the house we are attempting to build fall.
Let's build from the foundation up.