Are you enjoying listening to any good podcasts these days?
I've really been enjoying Brené Brown's Unlocking Us podcast. I reserve it for when I can listen to it all in one walk. You heard it right - I'm only listening to her when I go out for solo walks.
I find it gives me time to really hear what she is saying and not get distracted by anything else. It's borderline my own counselling session over my headphones! LOL!
Yet there is some truth to that because I've stared to apply some of her content to my life. It took me a moment to process how this happens but it was interesting how it unfolded right in front of me…
Imagine a bright sunny day. Blue skies that go on forever and big white fluffy clouds gliding through the sky.
I'm in the zone. I'm experiencing flow as I ride my bike through the river valley, loving every moment. This is one of my favourite things to do.
As I shoulder check before I make a turn onto a foot bridge, I see another cyclist behind me. My mind instantly turns into race mode as I focus my pedal strokes and up my cadence. He can't catch me I think to myself.
I round off the bridge and head off into a winding path with some incline. All the while knowing he is behind me.
I’m pedalling strong. I feel good.
Up ahead I see it. An obstacle on my path. With construction around, the path has been ripped up and a ramp has been placed over the path. I brace myself for the bump and realize there are wooden planks over the ramp too.
Am I to cross with the planks?
I quickly changed course to use the planks to only have my bike swerve over to the left, heading towards the orange temporary construction fence.
In that second, the cyclist behind me passes me on the right and surges ahead.
I comment "this isn't pretty" to him. Completely embarrassed and berating myself for such incompetence.
I dislodge my bike from the side of the path. I didn't hit the fence, just landed in a mud trap beside the ramp.
I get back on the bike and within seconds my inner voice throws jabs at me. "How stupid was that?", "you suck", and "What did that cyclist think of me? What an idiot she has no idea what she is doing!"
The ride took a turn that I didn't expect. A shame storm.
Would that other cyclist reflect on my misstep at lunch later that day?
Could this have happened to anyone?
How interesting - this shame was real!
Then I stopped. Not literally but I demanded my thoughts to stop.
It was a mistake or should I say a minor turn that took me off course for less than a minute.
And it was in that moment that Brené Brown's voice showed up. I had just listened to her podcast about the distinction between shame and guilt.
Shame being something is wrong with me.
I wondered how often does this happen during physical activity. I harbour a guess it can be more than I know.
Does anyone else experience shame in their physical activity?
My educated guess would be a huge YES!
For me it took my enjoyment right out of my ride. It caused me to freeze and question that I even knew what I was doing.
Imagine someone else who had a misstep in physical activity and a shame storm rose up out of them?
Would they ever do that physical activity again?
Physical activity is "easy". We can be our own worst enemy with the way we speak to ourselves which makes physical activity very hard.
And this brings me to the title of Brené's book, The Gifts of Imperfection. I'm reading it now with one of my book clubs.
Key word being imperfection. We aren't perfect nor is physical activity perfect.
I encourage you to look through the lens of imperfection and listen to your own stories you are telling yourself about your physical activity experiences. Do you have shame storms too?
I encourage you to recognize the shame storm and try to turn it down like I did on my bike ride that day.
Know that you or your physical activity isn't perfect but that is the gift.
Stay well and happy moving,
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