The other day I was in the gym and my mind started to wander, as it tends to do. This time I began to regard each of the persons, male and female, who were in the gym with me on that day, and it occurred to me that each and every one of them (self included) had some area of their bodies with which they were unhappy.
Whether it be a missing six-pack, derriere too small, arms too big, back not defined enough, generally overweight…whatever it was, we were all in there for the common purpose of improving something physical which we felt needed to be improved upon.
Soon after that realization, as I continued my people-watching (and my workout of course!), and making mental comparisons of my own body to my gym peers’ bodies, and as I thought about whose legs are exactly the size and shape that I want for my own, and whose arms are nice and toned, I realized that even the persons with the near-“perfect” bodies have their own hang-ups. Lisa, who is super-toned and perfectly proportioned? She thinks her butt is too little. Marlon, with the uber-defined eight-pack of abs? He thinks his chest and calves are too small. On top of that, Jim is over there in the corner wishing that he had calves the size of Marlon’s! What’s more, each of these persons is so busy focusing on what they are dissatisfied with about their appearances, that they can’t even take a compliment about the other “good” areas about which they are satisfied!
Coming out of that realization, came yet another (forgive me, I was on a roll): it is very unlikely that any of these persons would have come in here at the stage of fitness and appearance they were currently at. That is to say, that they have since improved. Which suggests that despite improvements in certain areas, we always find another area to bellyache or harp on about.
So despite the fact that I have used a feature image telling you that you’re beautiful (because you are and I liked it!), I want to take this scenario away from the gym and physical appearances, and into the other areas of our lives, for example our workplaces, our careers, even our relationships.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to constantly improve yourself.
Let me repeat that. There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to constantly improve yourself.
Where you begin to trip yourself up, is when you are so focused on what’s not “perfect” that you neglect the areas that are pretty darned great, including those areas in which you have made huge strides, or “come a long way.” You do yourself such a disservice when you have worked hard to achieve a particular goal or to make a dream a reality, then as soon as it’s been done you quickly forget about it and focus only on the next thing that’s “wrong” in your life.
Recently while watching one of my guilty pleasure reality television shows, it was said that “…what you focus on expands.” This was said in reference to one of the characters focusing on his own successful ventures. As soon as I heard it, it hit home. So I’m throwing it out there to you.
What you focus on expands.
Focus on what’s good in your life, and use that as fuel and motivation in correcting the other things that you want to be better. Not the other way around. Don’t focus on what’s wrong, what’s not working out, what doesn’t look right… Of course it’s important to be aware of those things, I’m not suggesting that you ignore them; obviously in order to correct and improve you need to give them some attention. But when you completely focus on the negatives, you encourage feelings of despair, disappointment, hopelessness, frustration…the list goes on. Those are not feelings that will motivate you to affirmative action. For me personally, those types of feelings make me go to bed and wish that when I wake up all that’s wrong will be magically made right. (*Spoiler alert*: nothing has ever changed when I re-emerge from the bed, except that I now have a puffy face and bedhead).
Focus on what is good. While you’re looking, think about how it became good. What did you do that was successful? What did you do that didn’t quite work out, and, what did you learn from that experience which eventually led to everything working out in the end?
Quite importantly, how can you apply those same principles to the other areas that could do with some improvement?
Got it? Great!