Who are you without your physical strength?
Take a moment with me and imagine that something happened in your life and you were no longer the physically strong woman you are known for being? Maybe you are injured, have another health problem that is keeping you out of the gym, are insanely busy with a new project at work and can’t fit training into your life right now without shirking your responsibilities to your family. Do you know who you are without being physically strong and capable? Does your physical strength define you? I ask this because what would happen if you lost it? Are you now somehow worthy of less in your life? Does your life still have meaning? How would you view yourself in this situation?
I know to some that may sound crazy, but to those of us that are insanely passionate about something, it can feel devastating to lose it. Let me tell you my personal story. Many of you know I recently had a double mastectomy. I was just coming back from a back injury when I went under the knife so I basically didn’t train much for 3 ½ months. Once I was able to begin training again, I had lost a significant amount of strength. I also was not able to train the snatch and clean & jerk, the lifts I compete in, because I was not healed enough from surgery to get into those positions. For a fleeting moment, during my first bro sesh (I was only allowed to do squats, bicep curls, and tricep extensions) I felt like I had lost my identity. Then a voice in my head said “GIRRRRRLLLL, you became known for your physical strength BECAUSE your strength of character, your perseverance, your determination, your optimistic outlook, and your passion led you to that place!” That voice was damn right!
We are who we are because of the collection of characteristics that have led us to this very moment in life.
I encourage you all to write down the characteristics that describe you. Not your hobbies, not your work. The fundamental principles that make you, well, you. Write them down, post them someplace you will see them often.
When something happens in life that takes you away from the activities you think define you, refer back to this list and remember that you still every bit as strong, capable, compassionate, loving, and light hearted as you were before.
And know that those same characteristics will take you back to that place, once you are ready. It might not be easy, and it will probably frustrate you at times. But there will be other times you are feeling so much like your old self that you will cry tears of joy and thankfulness for giving yourself the gift of being a serious badass.
Strong, Brave, Empowered by Iron.