Don't Atrophy, Slay!
Updated: Nov 30, 2018
When I say atrophy, I don't mean on a physical level. For example, losing you're arm tone and trading it in for arm fat aka *~Bingo Wings~*. I intend on a spiritual level when you start stagnating; yet the principles are the same: the right cocktail of mindset, diet and exercise. I will explain what I mean using physique as an analogy.
For example, ladies, if you feel 'fat' might wear 'one of those timeless forgiving dress that hides bingo winds and bloated tums' that Tess Daly posted on her IG recently. OR something similar.
Not that Tess needs to hide anything, but you may forever feel the need to hide.
So why hide our physique when we feel we don't match-up, well I think it's for the same reason that women wear make-up. I'm not a woman nor do I wear make-up (I know some men do so I won't discount them!) yet I know many who do. And I learned more about why from a fantastic Mum, life-coach and queen called Nicole Goodman (@nicolegoodman_lifecoach) who's headline is 'Showing Women It’s Ok Not to Be Perfect'.
In a February post on Nicole IG entitled 'Transformation Tuesday,' Nicole's cleverly included two, practically same pics of herself, yet with one difference: make-up. In one she's wearing, and in the other, she isn't. They were cropped together to see the differences. She commented on her post saying, "this screams to me the power of makeup can bring. Not only a physical transformation but an emotional [too]."
Make-up in the same way as Tess Daly's dress, hide the bits you don't want to see, and you don't want others to see, while at the same time making you feel good!
"False comparison erodes our self esteem causing us to atrophy."
On a personal, vulnerable note, I used to have an ongoing thing with my body image: arm anxiety. In a nut shell, I'd feel anxious about displaying my upper arms in public most of the time. I think I'd felt insecure about my arms and off since my mid-teens. I used to feel so vulnerable that I'd avoid t-shirts. Instead of short sleeves tops, I would usually wear, long sleeve tops, shirts, jackets; whatever to cover-up my arms. I 'hid' because I felt I didn't match up to the perfect arm size portrayed in much of the mainstream media.
I started hitting the gym more and finally a male friend who I hit the gym with complimented me on my arms, saying that they 'look good' and this was during a group table discussion about another topic. Ironically I was wearing a t-shirt at the time after he said I felt super self conscious again. Looking back I didn't suspiciously question the compliment as such and think why did he really compliment me because my arms don't really look good', which is a sign of low self esteem. Instead I appreciated it, which reveals that there was a correlation between me working out and raising my self esteem.
Yet the reality was (and still is) my arms are me, whether they're average normal or whatever they're part of me. I feel a bit better about them now and probably for a multitude of different reasons. In fact, I haven't hit a (conventional) gym for a while and another friend very recently said I'd put muscle on and was looking better. Again the irony is I was wearing a t-shirt. Clearly, if I wore t-shirts more I'd probably receive more compliments (or a least far less criticism than I expect), which would build my self esteem and motivation. In truth, I've maintained a calisthenic game (at home, on the road and in the street) on and off over the years, especially press up variations that specifically target biceps!
Clearly often times we can hide when there's nothing wrong with us, it's just that we think there's something wrong with us. In fact, the perfect physique, male or female only makes up approximately 1% of the population, the rest of us come in all shapes and sizes! False comparison erodes our self esteem causing us to atrophy. I'm not downplaying criticisms of others and how that can kill you self esteem, every time I got called skinny as opposed to slim or lean or athletic part of my took it personally.
My issue was my perceived strength and the examples I've mentioned of women are of their perceived beauty. Brené Brown writes that a man's most significant source of vulnerability is his strength and for a woman, it's her beauty.
I wish I had to the confidence back then to go bare arms like Michelle Obama. Her bare-armed fashion choices caused an uproar when she was First Lady of the United States. Those type of guns are only made possible if you've got (the genes and/or) a push-up game like Michelle. Michelle's physically toned, she knows how to maintain natural muscle, and so she's physically ripped!
Hiding doesn't only apply to the physique and covering up your tum and arms or wearing make-up to hide your breaks-outs, thin lines or acne scars. Concealment also applies to your spir-ique. Where are you hiding spiritually? Like Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden?
Our physical bingo wings, bloated tums and our emotional insecurities about them all have spiritual equivalents.
"Remember to WORK OUT your salvation with fear and trembling."
I say this respectfully, without exercise we'll never improve our physique. We might happy with it now give or take on different days. The truth is as we get older it's likely to decline. If we compare ourselves to the hottest Instagram models and it discourages us more than encourages us it'll lead to low esteem and less motivation.
So what goals are you setting to spiritually fit? How much of the spiritually toxic social media content are you consuming that sends continuous signals that we have to live a sure way to be happy whole?
Again, I say this respectfully: if we eat rubbish, our health will be rubbish. Of we drink waste with all sorts of e numbers our health will be rubbish.
So what are we consuming to keep us healthy? That show we're more robust than we were the last year?
Finally, and again I say this respectfully,: if we surround ourselves with slobby, undisciplined and people with zero interest in living healthy both regarding diet and exercise, they will disturb or threaten the healthy equilibrium you're seeking. For example, they might criticise you for eating healthy for exercising so rigorously, you might feel bad about it and lose motivation.
So how are surrounding yourself with positive people? People who are encouraging you in your goals and ideas?
A final encouragement, remember to WORK OUT your salvation with fear and trembling (Phil 2:12).