Remember the blog post I wrote about running?
Well, I’m proud to say I’ve kept it up! I have made a routine of running regularly, which has really helped my mental health. It feels good to get outside, stretch my legs a little bit, and have some movement back in my day. Recently, Henry — my loving husband — has been asking to join me on my runs.
I rebuffed these requests for a long time. I did not want to run with someone who is over a foot taller than me. I don’t want to run with anyone because I’m nervous that I won’t run fast enough, well enough, long enough to make the workout worthwhile for them.
What’s funny is, I feel like history is repeating itself. When Henry and I first started dating you wouldn’t catch me in a gym. I hated the idea of working out. I was the book girl, my perception of myself was quirky and cute with a coffee in hand. Henry was all about physical fitness, so after a while I started meeting up with him at the gym (oh what a girl will do for a guy she’s crushing on!).
It was really difficult for me at first. I felt so uncomfortable and intimidated. This wasn’t my space and I didn’t really know where to start. I would try the elliptical but get nervous that people (read: men) were thinking of me as an “elliptical bunny”. Then I would try to lift weights but I got so nervous about how I looked I would put the weights away, tears in my eyes, frustrated.
If you have anxiety you know how crippling these feelings can be. Even now, 6+ years later, I can still feel my heart race and remember the panic I had during those first few gym sessions. There are a lot of times I left early, or pretended to stretch for 20 minutes, just to find a safe zone and de-escalate my feelings.
Even now, 6+ years later, I can still feel my heart race and remember the panic I had during those first few gym sessions.
To Henry’s credit, he really tried to help. He would show me how to do the workouts properly and then watch me as I mimicked his form. I’d love to tell you that I accepted this support with open arms, but the reality is I bristled at his “critique” and felt angry and frustrated that he was pointing out my flaws. I’d storm away in tears. I’m not proud of it, but I truly felt angry that I wasn’t automatically the best at working out. That same “I suck at this” thought process would race through my mind. It really had nothing to do with Henry, but of course it hurt his feelings. He just wanted to help his girlfriend out. He could see I was obviously in distress.
It’s not fun to fight with your boyfriend at the gym. I was starting to enjoy working out, but knew that pushing my boyfriend away every time he made a small comment was only going to lead to disaster. So what it took was trust. I had to trust that what he was saying did not come from a malicious, mocking, standpoint. I had to care more about the fact that we were enjoying this time together than what other people thought. I had to remind myself he actually loves me and just wants me to be safe and healthy. Bit by bit I transformed my mindset, and over time I was less sensitive to his commentary. We started to go to the gym regularly together and we would build each other up during the session. These sessions are some of my favorite memories of us during and after college.
Now, I’m experiencing those same feelings. I’m nervous about outside commentary, I’m nervous about feeling less than, I’m nervous about “failing” at running.
Thankfully I have the benefit of experience. Yes, at first I was hesitant to let Henry run with me, but I still do it. I do it because I have absolute trust in him. I know that he will only build me up and want the best for me. And actually, when we run together, I run faster and longer than I run alone. It’s always a great workout when we are together, just like it was in college. It’s something we can do together and I love the quality time.
What I take away from this is to use your partner.
If you have a person in your life who you trust implicitly, talk with them about what you want to be better at. Maybe it’s your physical fitness. Maybe it’s switching to meatless meals or going vegan. Maybe you want to be better at budgeting. Whatever it is, lay it out for your person. They will be there to support you and make you better. They may critique you or point things out that you don’t want to hear – I’m sorry that’s just the process of growing. You need to hear it. Otherwise you’ll be like college Meghann and feel frustrated, lost, and intimidated. You’ll never reach your potential.
So go for it. Open yourself up to your partner and trust that whatever they have to say, you’ll want to hear.
I’m just like you. My life can be hectic and cooking, cleaning and getting that workout in are sometimes the last thing on my mind. But, I’m here to share my tips and tricks on how to make adulting a little more enjoyable.