The art of being humble….

Out trainer said today that Olympic Lifting, really training for this sport and putting in all the technical “work” to make your lifts better, can be humbling…..I looked up the word humble to get a good idea of what it meant before I tore into this blog entry….it can be used as an adjective or a verb.

I’m not fond of this definition: Thinking lowly of one’s self (adjective); or this one: To make humble or lowly in mind; to abase the pride or arrogance of; to reduce the self-sufficiency of; to make meek and submissive (noun).  Neither definition is how I take the word in the general sense.

Despite the definitions, I understand where he was coming from.  Knowing your weaknesses, or your limitations, makes you a stronger person.  To me, being humble means that you assume nothing.  The world owes you nothing, people owe you nothing, the weights owe you nothing….you have to show up and do the work, treat people with civility, and lift the weights with the best of your ability, without wanting any reward.  If a reward comes, then so be it.  To me, this is strength.  You don’t need the reassurance of the world, or people, or of material things to make you a whole person.  You are a whole person because you know your edges, and that’s where life happens.

Lifting weights for this class these past six weeks or so has been a tough challenge for me.  I approach everything to do with strength training with a sense of humbleness….i.e. this could be really good for me, or this could be where the train let’s me off.  I never know which one it’s going to be, I just keep hoping that it’s not my stop yet.  I progress very slowly because I know my limitations acutely – I am humbled by them.  I’ve been living with them longer than I haven’t and my funny little back is like a friend and an enemy all at the same time.  I want to be stronger, and to be able to do things more quickly, but my back forces me to slow down.  So, where I might be able to think and write faster than my fingers can keep up, when I’m in the gym, my back requires that I take things slowly.  That’s a gift.

I never expected to be able to do any of this – what I’m doing now.  I knew I could get stronger, but I have to always be careful of my back.  We did lots of work today, and tonight my back is tight and sore.  Not in a bad way, but it’s noticeable more than usual.  A good night’s sleep should cure it.  My arms are also very tired, since I started lifting heavier weights and pulling up weights in a different range of motion that I’m also not accustomed to.

I’m likely never going to be an “athlete” in this sport – I know that.  Doesn’t mean that I can’t get better at it, and even push it a little bit, to add it to my repertoire of exercises.  Not everyone who signs up is going to be good at it, or will even continue on….but my will is pretty strong, and I’m stubborn, so keeping up with it, and pushing my edges, will happen until I find something else I like more.  It happened with Lean&Fit, and it will likely happen somewhere down the road for this too.

When you’re through changing, you’re through.

Be humbled by your limitations and in knowing the fact that there will only ever be one of you; that you have been given the cards in your hand for a reason bigger than you will likely ever know; and, life happens at your edges, because if it didn’t, none of us would ever change or grow beyond where we are today.

About mizmulligan

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