This is probably the most important article I have written.
I hope for this to serve as a reminder to myself, and to serve a purpose to you.
Stand at a full length mirror, naked. Examine yourself head to toe.
6 years into lifting weights, I see:
“Uneven chest muscles, uneven abs, stubborn belly fat, thick waistline, narrow shoulders, thin arms…”
Rewind 8 years back, an entirely different reflection got me to the gym:
“Do I even matter?”
It wasn’t really vanity or attention. I worked out to give birth to confidence; I had none.
My voice often diffuse, ideas unappreciated, my stance easily shaken. For some (stupid) reason, muscles seemed to be the solution.
My buddy (thank you, Alister) and I signed up for Celebrity Fitness in good old Subang Parade. Countless reps, buckets of sweat and even more puking episodes later, I looked good.
I was content.
Lifting weights became a routine, I could easily spare an hour, 4 times a week to follow a mundane routine; mundane routines are my thing.
Then opportunities came knocking.
The day I could “use” my physique as a means to make money, gears shifted. When I got a part-time position as a coach, I needed to get bigger; as I got modelling gigs, I needed to lean down; photoshoots meant an extra 3kgs off; as I compared myself to the fitness models that graced magazines, I needed to eat sleep lift repeat.
How I looked = what I made. Five words sum up my 6 years of lifting:
I am not good enough.
“Look at that ugly body of yours.”
“Hey idiot, you are not your abs and arms.”
-Voices in the head at 3.a.m when I wake up to pee
Being able to detach my self-worth from how I look made me a much happier person, but it didn’t happen at the snap of a finger.
What caused this re-wiring?
Quitting modelling, practicing gratefulness, a journal habit, meditation, books, podcasts, videos; in no order, over 8 months.
You are probably guessing where this piece is going, and you would be right if I posted this yesterday.
The title of this topic was Love Yourself Now to Love Yourself Later. Yesterday, I highlighted the 1000 word piece that took 3 days to write, and hit backspace.
That shit was so fucking hard to read.
Then it hit me like a wrecking ball: I don’t buy it. I don’t think one can ever fully accept all their imperfections, I haven’t.
Is your dissatisfaction all bad?
The paradox: I wouldn’t be here writing about physique acceptance if I weren’t pissed at my looks in first place; dissatisfaction got me lifting – the best thing that has ever happened to me. I wouldn’t have come out of a destructive loop of body morphing if I weren’t suffering through the whole process; weights are more worth lifting now.
Embracing your dissatisfaction
I think this process is necessary before you can truly move on to self-acceptance.
Can we all accept this fact: You will never(rrrrr), ever(rrrrr) achieve a physique that you can be satisfied with.
When you internalize with statement, this journey will no longer be painful. For it shouldn’t be.
Because it’s a never ending journey, this fitness thing.
I am good enough,
I want to get better.
The pursuit of excellence should come from a place of acceptance, not inadequacy. I train because I am good enough, and I want to get better.
Be comfortable in your imperfect skin, and training will feel amazing again.
For the first time, I can say I’m truly confident.
Come to think about it, this bears similarity to “Screw Perfection”, another mantra that the Type-A in me needs slapped into, daily.
There’s so many aspects outside of fitness I’d like to relate this to. But I won’t dwell into areas outside my expertise.
What other aspects in your life do you think could benefit from the mindset “I am good enough, I want to get better”?
5 thoughts on “Driven by Imperfection”