When someone says or does something that hurts your feelings what do you do? Do you keep silent while letting it fester? Do you speak up hoping to get an apology? Or do you just shake it off? I suspect a majority of you do the first option, a handful do the second, and very few shake it off.
I bring this up because I find that one of the largest stumbling blocks I encounter when coaching/training a person is their inability to get past something that happened IN THE PAST. We’ve all had hurtful comments lobbed our way on the school yard, or had a sibling poke relentless fun at our weaknesses. Many of us have some kind of baggage about our parents that comes into play when we ourselves become parents. For some it’s a lack of support or good communication from loved ones. But whatever the issue is, we keep analyzing, rehashing and refocusing of our mind’s microscope onto the hurt instead of fixing it so we can move on.
This becomes a big deal when you’re trying to get into shape, i.e., lose body fat that has accumulated because of your reactions to past hurts or your choice to play the martyr and not put your physical needs into the priority column. I can teach you how to eat, I can teach you the most effective way to perform cardio so as to burn fat, and I can work your muscles to the point of calorie burning exhaustion. What I cannot do is keep you from negative thoughts and behaviors (like emotional eating). That tasks lies solely on your shoulders. Raise your hand if you’ve skipped a workout or had a bad workout because you were too focused on an emotional issue.
Okay, so how do you do it, you’re asking your computer right now? Well keeping in mind that I am NOT a licensed therapist/psychologist I can only offer this sage wisdom:
Shake it off!
(I could say Let It Go, but that seems to provoke people to spontaneously start singing Frozen! Wink.)
Obviously I am a huge proponent of speaking up (lovingly) when feelings are hurt so as to clean up that figurative spilt milk immediately and move on with a cleaner (healthier) relationship. But sometimes these issues that sabotage our successes are old and weather-worn. Those issues are the ones that as adults our best and quickest path to happiness is to simply let them go. Shake them off. Move on! We cannot change the past. Staying stuck because of something that happened (and that undoubtedly would happen again proving that we could not have changed it anyway) is a waste of precious time.
I reminded myself of this very lesson today. My 9 year old daughter did something last night that really pissed me off. I dwelled on it, stewed over it, held it tightly in my angry fist, and consequently did not sleep well. In the clearer light of day I was able to remind myself that she’s only 9, it’s past and cannot be changed, and I just need to shake it off and get on with being her happy, albeit tired, Mom. The lessons I can teacher her are far better received when I’m teaching through positive action instead of harping on her immature choices and their consequences.
So the next time you find yourself reliving angry or hurt emotion over something that happened either yesterday, or years ago, either fix it immediately, or shake it off and move on. Your body and mind will be healthier for it. (I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that Ms. Taylor Switf’s song Shake It Off is firmly implanted in my gym playlist and I played this morning in the car as a reminder. Thanks for the great and catchy song, Ms. Swift!)